Pan Nalin, Gurinder Chadha Projects on the Slate as India, the U.K.’s Civic Studios Continues Global Expansion (EXCLUSIVE)

Civic Studios, a media company rooted in social impact storytelling, is continuing its global expansion from its bases in Mumbai and London.

Founded with the mission of creating content that drives change, the women-led studio boasts a 70% female team. The company was founded by Anushka Shah and incubated at the MIT Media Lab, with an intention of data and research driven media.

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The 2024 slate highlights include “Christmas Karma,” directed by Gurinder Chadha. This Christmas musical set in London reimagines Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Starring Kunal Nayyar, Eva Longoria and Boy George, the film features music by Gary Barlow, Shaznay Lewis and Nitin Sawhney. It’s set for a December release.

“Schirkoa: In Lies We Trust,” an animation feature by Ishan Shukla premiered at the International Film Festival of Rotterdam 2024, winning the NETPAC award for Best Asian Film. The film, about a dystopian world where citizens wear paper bags to erase differences, is slated for a global release. The voice cast includes Golshifteh Farahani and Karan Johar.

“Family Aaj Kal,” streaming on SonyLIV, is a comedy-drama series starring Apoorva Arora (“College Romance”) and tackles themes of love and social bias.

“Little Thomas” is a family feature set in 90s Goa directed by Kaushal Oza (“Afterglow”), featuring Rasika Dugal (“Mirzapur”) and Gulshan Devaiah (“Dahaad”).

Upcoming projects include an untitled Arabic- and English-language feature directed by Fateme Ahmadi (British Independent Film Awards nominated short “Bitter Sea”), produced by BAFTA-nominated Jack Tarling (“God’s Own Country”) and Pietro Greppi (“Flux Gourmet”) and developed with the BFI and BBC Film.

An untitled English-language feature by Pan Nalin (Oscar shortlisted “Last Film Show”) is being developed alongside Monsoon Films (“Angry Indian Goddesses”).

“Shor-Gul” is a comedic caper directed by Hitesh Kewalya (“Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan”), focusing on a news anchor’s chaotic life. The film aims to spark discussions on the role of news media.

Past projects include “Vakeel Babu” on Amazon MiniTV and “Ye Saali Naukri” on MXPlayer. Their commitment to social change extends beyond the screen, collaborating with nonprofits like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies. Civic Studios also supports social impact awards at film festivals and drives community campaigns around their titles.

Chadha said: “I am delighted to be working with Anushka Shah and her lovely team at Civic Studios who have supported me on this project very early on. What a pleasure and honor it’s been for me to work with amazing Indian female producers.”

Nalin added: “From day one, I have been attracted to Civic Studios’ manifesto; entertainment with impact. That has been my quest as a filmmaker, I have repeatedly strived to tell stories that entertain and inspire. So we are united by this vision and our upcoming endeavor will show our commitments towards engaging and empowering storytelling.” ­

“This upcoming English language feature, is one of the most ambitious projects of my career. It’s going to be emotionally charged tragi-comedy about man-made boundaries and borders of all kind; political, cultural, religious, social and so on. Given the state of our world today, there has never been a more appropriate time than today to make this movie. Needless to say many years of sculpting has already gone into shape this ambitious project. It is epic. It is explosive. It is a sane story about insanity. It is an insane film about sanity,” Nalin said.

Shah added: “Cinema was such a big influence on me growing up. Later in life working in politics and then as a researcher at MIT really helped imagine bringing citizen power, data-driven media, and social change together. The ethos of Civic Studios, founded at the MIT Media Lab, is to help become aware of social issues and the struggles of those around us, but to also see how we can together move the needle – is there a way to light a candle rather than sit through the darkness?”

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