TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding

THE SKY IS MINE by Deepak Rauniyar, winner of the TFL Co-Production Fund 2019

TFL People

THE SKY IS MINE by Deepak Rauniyar, winner of the TFL Co-Production Fund 2019

April 24, 2020

Pooja, a Nepali police officer, has broken centuries-old misogyny by becoming the first female Superintendent. She comes across her first case in a violent border town, a case nobody wants to deal with. Whilst tens of thousands are in the streets protesting systemic discrimination against the dark-skinned Madhesi, two light-skinned boys have been kidnapped. The ransom is more than anyone could pay, and Pooja has only 24 hours to save the boys. Failure could spark a revolution.

THE SKY IS MINE, the third feature film of Nepali director Deepak Rauniyar, was the first winner of the TFL Co-Production Fund (€ 50.000). Created in 2019 thanks to the support of the Creative Europe – MEDIA Sub-Programme of the European Union, this award aims at backing the production of films by seasoned filmmakers. On top of the production grant, the film team is offered a tailor-made plan to develop the project with TFL experts, and is guaranteed exposure at the co-production forum TFL Meeting Event.


TorinoFilmLab talked with the delegate producer of THE SKY IS MINE, Alan R. Milligan (Tannhauser Gate, Norway), to discuss the project and the impact of the TFL Co-Production Fund on its production status.

What were your motivations for applying to the TFL Co-Production Fund?
Torino is revered so you arrive with a certain anticipation. We were very happy to be selected to receive feedback from experts and colleagues we respect and admire. That is the first motivation.
The cherry on the top for us was the award, which is important for every film and especially a film from Nepal. It's a reminder that as frustrating as European financing can be, it is also a privilege, especially as tech companies are increasingly active in commissioning and producing content for their subscribers.
TorinoFilmLab definitely allows your project to stand out in such a market, so it is a badge we wear with honour.
Increasingly however, we have to think differently when it comes to distribution. I personally hope to see more labs and markets with works in progress collaborating on distribution too*.

* TorinoFilmLab created in 2014 the TFL Audience Design Fund to support international co-productions at distribution stage. The fund, combined with dedicated consultancies, aims at creating strategies to reach, build and engage audiences. More information here.
Deadline for the TFL Audience Design Fund 2020: June 15th, 2020.

Did you have any experience with TFL before?
No. The days we enjoyed around the TorinoFilmLab was a great experience. There were so many fascinating projects! I certainly hope to come back for a lab programme in the future.

What did the TFL Meeting Event bring to you and the project?
We were able to improve the pitch of our project and meet potential partners, both at the TFL Meeting Event and after. Feedback is valuable and the variety in who we met provided us with interesting nuances. It really helped us define the partners that we think are best suited.
The script session was really great and made us think through some choices made and opportunities not explored. This was also the first time I get to meet Deepak in person, in lovely Torino, so it was a perfect experience for the project!

Tell us more about your project’s production status
We have good co-production partners in both Europe and Asia giving us a fair chance to finalize the necessary financing in 2020. Obviously, the world changed drastically in the last few months which has an impact as we all adjust. It's a challenge for everyone as festivals and markets move dates or change to online formats. We are of course very curious to see when and how Cannes will turn out as well as upcoming festivals and markets in the fall.
In the meantime, we focus on improving the script and solidifying what we have to ensure the film goes into production.

Deepak Rauniyar is a director, screenwriter, and producer. A former critic, he became the first Nepali director to compete at a major international film festival when his debut HIGHWAY premiered at the 2012 Berlinale. His second film WHITE SUN, premiered at the 2016 Venice Film Festival and has screened throughout the world (Toronto, Busan, Locarno, Rotterdam). The film was Nepal’s official selection for the 90th Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film. Deepak is an alumnus of the Toronto and Berlinale Talent Campuses as well as the Cannes Cinéfondation programme and The New York Times recently described him as one of “The 9 New Directors You Need to Watch".

THE SKY IS MINE is a co-production of Tannhauser Gate (Norway), The Match Factory (Germany), The Film Kitchen (Netherlands), Potocol (Singapore), Aurora Media Holdings (Singapore) and Cinema Art (Nepal).

The TFL Co-Production Fund 2020 is receiving applications until April 28th, 2020.
More information & how to apply here.