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Bitchitra Collective Announces Inaugural Sriyanka Ray Grant Winner and Six 2024 Fellows

By IDA Editorial Staff

Image with the headshots of the 7 grantees and fellows of Bitchitra Collective's 2024 cohort.

Courtesy of Bitchitra Collective

Bitchitra Collective: Indian Women in Documentary announces the second cohort for the Bitchitra Collective Documentary Film & Media Fellowship. Each will receive a $2,000 grant for an ongoing short or feature-length documentary project and a year-long mentorship with an established filmmaker. New this year, in partnership with Brown Girls Doc Mafia (BGDM), Bitchitra Collective established the inaugural Sriyanka Ray Grant, named after a founder of Bitchitra and a beloved community-based artist and organizer within BGDM. The recipient of the Sriyanka Ray Grant will receive $4,000. Awarded filmmakers are based in India or the U.S. and of Indian heritage. 

A two-year grant from Color Congress (previously covered by Documentary here) and a matching grant from BGDM support the Fellowship and the Sriyanki Ray Grant.

According to a press release, Fellowship jurors Sunita Prasad, Bishakha Datta, and Ambarien Alqadar issued the following statement: “This was an extremely difficult choice to make given the high number of very strong proposals covering a wide range of interesting subjects and approaches. We were privileged to view proposals from a mix of emerging and established filmmakers. Ultimately, we selected a cohort of grantees based on their relevant, contemporary themes, attentiveness to documentary ethics, and creative approaches that ranged from deeply committed vérité to the sublime.”

For more information on Bitchitra Collective and selected fellows, visit their official website.

Fellows and grantees, their projects, and paired mentors are listed below, as detailed by press release.

Sriyanka Ray Grant Awardee:

Moupia Mukherjee
Moupia Mukherjee is an independent filmmaker, producer, and writer. She has a Ph.D. and M.Phil in Women’s Studies and an M.A. in Comparative Literature. Dui Dhuranir Golpo (In-Between Days), a documentary produced by her production house Moromiya Pictures, won significant critical acclaim and was widely screened in festivals nationally and internationally. The Day I Became a Woman was her debut film as director. Her second documentary Murshida is in production.

Situated in a village in West Bengal, Principal Murshida Khatun takes orthodoxy and religious bigotry head-on to impart life lessons to the girls of her Madrasah, motivating them to have their own identity and simultaneously deals with her personal ups and downs.


Bitchitra Collective Documentary Film & Media Fellows:

Rajani Mani
Rajani Mani is a documentary filmmaker and editor who focuses on visually compelling stories on conservation, human and wildlife conflict and mitigation, and indigenous wisdom. She studied filmmaking at the Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, and is a co-founder of Elephant Corridor Films.

Before the Feast
Before the Feast captures a year of tumultuous transitions, as Vincent and Vincy confront changing climate, family, and the uncertain destiny of their beloved Pokkali—a saline resistant rice—leading up to an Easter day family feast where a difficult decision awaits.

Mentor: Farida Pacha


Nazia Khan
Nazia Khan is a photographer based in Mumbai. She has worked as a cinematographer on several award-winning films. She has a keen eye for detail when it comes to documenting real lives. Nazia is working on her directorial debut.

Oh Believers
Oh Believers is a film about understanding religion and religious practices through the eyes of women’s spiritual and leadership lens. The film tells stories of women who are breaking age-old barriers and beliefs by claiming their place in organized religion as priests, spiritual leaders, educators and more, and raising their voices for change.

Mentor: Miriam Chandy Menacherry

Trisha Bhattacharya
Trisha Bhattacharya is a film and video artist from India, currently based in Los Angeles. She is deeply invested in domestic archives, inherited oral storytelling traditions, and the politics of sound. She stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Shishu Gacher Shonge  | Along the Rain Trees
The film is a collage of folklore that weaves through inherited memories, shared ecologies and the shifting transboundary river along the Bangladesh-India border.

Mentor: Sonali Gulati


Zainab Sultan
Zainab Sultan, an award-winning journalist and filmmaker, served as Outreach and Impact Manager for the Academy-nominated To Kill a Tiger. Her short film, Worthy of Love, earned her a Goldziher award for excellence in covering American Muslim issues. With roles in feature production and festivals such as DOC NYC, she's dedicated to diversifying filmmaking spaces. Based in New Jersey, Zainab resides with her husband and two children.

Stand Up for Madinah
Stand Up for Madinah follows the first female Muslim legislator in Delaware as she challenges the Biden administration on the ongoing war in Gaza. When she is not confronting the establishment, Madinah is spending time at comedy clubs trying to find success as a local stand-up comedian.

Mentor: Chithra Jeyaram


Poorva Bhat
Poorva is documentary filmmaker and editor based in India. An experienced editor on Indian and American productions, she will be making her international debut as a filmmaker with her short documentary titled What’s the Film About?. An alumni of DOC NYC x VC’s “Storytelling Incubator” and Scottish Documentary Institute’s “Connecting Stories,” Poorva is the co-founder of “Open Door Docs”, a space for women practicing documentary filmmaking in India to network, grow, learn, and scale.

What’s the Film About?
When two siblings set out camping with their filmmaker mother, little do they know that their mother wants to film a conversation with them on a rather uncomfortable topic.

Mentor: Shuchi Talati


Geetanjali Gurlhosur
Geetanjali is an independent documentary filmmaker, researcher and a poet. Their film Where Do We Go From Here? was chosen for the PSBT DocCommune program, NFDC’s WIP Lab and Film Bazaar Recommends. As a former journalist, they have written on culture, human rights, sustainability, development, and media for various Indian and international publications. They have a Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

Where Do We Go From Here?
Nani, Mahesh and Heena are all trying to save the same thing from dilapidation and oblivion in this vertically growing city: their 100 plus year old houses and themselves.

Mentor: Mamta Trivedi