Dr Shuchi Tarun Kothari

BA(Hons), MA, PhD

Biography

Shuchi Kothari writes screenplays for the film industries in New Zealand, India, and USA. She has also produced short films of international acclaim and for television, New Zealand’s first prime-time Asian show titled A Thousand Apologies.

Shuchi's feature film Firaaq (2008) has screened at prestigious film festivals around the world, and has won 14 international awards. In 2010 Shuchi was nominated in the "best story" catetory for the Star Screen Awards in India. Her creative work reflects her interest in issues related to migration, settlement, South Asian diaspora, and Indian cinema. She is the recipient of the New Zealand Film Commission’s Writer’s Award for 2009. 

  • Screenplay writing, production, digital storytelling South Asian popular culture, politics of food.

Research | Current

  • Screenplay writing
  • Producing
  • Digital storytelling, 

I'm currently working on three feature projects:

Stand-Up Straight, feature screenplay (in development): A drama about the nature of comedy, this feature explores comedy's compulsions and the nature of happiness. Tag line: Can love and laughter live happily ever after?

Navratri aka Nine Nights, feature screenplay (research and writing phase )is conceived as an ensemble film that explores sexual and romantic desire in contemporary Gujarat.  

Making Murphy, animated feature screenplay (research and writing) is a story of a young girl who desires a different avatar. in an age of extreme makeovers where one is constantly sold the idea of of a better version of oneself at the edge of a scalpel or chemical peel, Making Murphy sends out a strong message to youngsters that they only need to focus on the inside, 'cause as far as their body goes, it kicks ass, just as it is.'

Digital Stoytelling in the Pacific: (with Dr. Sarina Pearson)

The Digital Storytelling Project gives voice to relatively underrepresented communities in the Pacific. Digital storytelling is a short form, relatively low tech, audiovisual model, originally developed at Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley, California. Over the course of a 3-day workshop, participants produce stories that are 3-4 minutes long, based in reality with a focus on an event, a person or a place.  Drs. Kothari and Pearson facilitate the workshop, offering creative and technical instruction.  Digital storytelling offers a significant and accessible alternative to traditional forms of cinematic expression.  Unlike feature films such as The Orator (2011), which are undeniably inspirational, this model empowers a broader range of people producing a living archive of grass roots stories that contain critical insight about contemporary and historical life that are rarely captured by official narratives. This project facilitates the production of Pacific stories and an archive that we will use for academic research and make available to communities in the Pacific region.

Previous creative research outputs

Film Credits

Firaaq (Writer),101 mins., Percept Picture Company, Mumbai, India, 2008

2009 March Nationwide Theatrical Release in India

2010 January Nominated in the category for Best Screenplay by the 52nd Annual Filmfare

Awards, Mumbai, India (India’s equivalent to the Academy Awards)

2010 March Nominated in the category for Best Story by the Star Screen Awards, Mumbai,

India (India’s equivalent to the Golden Globe Awards)

2010 January Best Film Award (Critics’ Choice) at the Star Screen Awards, Mumbai, India

2010 Won Best Film at 9th Imagineindia Film Festival, Madrid, Spain, May

International Film Festivals Official Selection

2008 Telluride International Film Festival, September, Film introduced by author Salman Rushdie

2008 53rd Toronto International Film Festival, September

2008 8th Dubai International Film Festival, December, won the Best Editing award

2008 12th International Film Festival of Kerala December, won Best Debut Feature

2008 49th Thessaloniki Film Festival November, won the Special Jury Prize

2008 27th Vancouver International Film Festival, October 2008 Pusan International Film Festival, Korea, October 2008 52nd BFI London International Film Festival, October

2008 Asian Film Festival of First Films, Singapore, won Best Screenplay and Best Film

2009 The New India Cinema at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, USA,

June

2009 Sao Paulo International Film Festival, Brazil, October

2009 Independent FilmFest Osnabrueck Unabhaengiges, Germany, October

2009 Oslo Films from the South, Norway, November

2009 International Human Rights Film Festival in Nuremberg, Germany, September

2009 Hamburg Film Festival, Germany, September

2009 7th Vladivostok Festival of Asia-Pacific countries "Pacific Meridian" Russia,

September, won Special Jury Award 2009 New Zealand International Film Festival, New Zealand July

2009 Durban International Film Festival, South Africa July

2009 Flying Broom Ankara International Women's Film Festival Turkey May, won

Best Debut Feature

2009 Off Camera Independent Film Festival, Poland, April

2009 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, April, won Grand Jury Prize Honorable

Mention for Best Narrative Feature

2009 Istanbul International Film Festival, Turkey, April, won Special Jury Prize FACE

2009 Copenhagen International Film Festival - Asia Section, Denmark, April

2009 Festival Cinematografico Internacional del Uruguay, Uruguay, March

2009 Amsterdam Amnesty International Film Festival, The Netherlands, March

2009 Guadalajara Festival International de Cine - Puntos Cardinales / Cardinal Points,

Mexico, March

2009 London Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, March

2009 Fribourg Film Festival, Switzerland, March

2009 Bruges Cinema Novo Festival, Belgium, March

2009 Deauville Asian Film Festival, France, March

2009 Cinequest 19 Film Festival, San Jose, USA, February, won Maverick Spirit Award

2009 Kara Film Festival, Pakistan, February, won Best Feature Film

2009 The Tromso International Film Festival, Norway, January

2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival, USA, January

2010 9th Imagineindia Film Festival, Madrid, Spain, May, won Best Film

Apron Strings (Writer/Co-Producer), 90 mins., Great Southern Film and Television, New Zealand 2008

 

2008 July, opening film of the 40th New Zealand International Film Festival

2008 August, Nationwide Theatrical Release in New Zealand, Rialto Distribution

2009 May, Special Selection Cannes Film Festival (Cinephile), France

2009 September, Qantas Finalist Best Screenplay, Best Film, Best Director, New Zealand Film and Television Awards

International Film Festivals Official Selection

2008 Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival, Malaysia, November

2008 5th Dubai International Film Festival, UAE, December

2008 53rd Toronto International Film Festival, Canada, September

2008 39th International Film Festival of India, November

2008 45th Golden Horse Film Festival in Taipei, Taiwan, November

2009 MIAAC Ninth Annual Film Festival, New York, USA, October

2009 Mill Valley International Film Festival, USA, October

2009 Seattle International Film Festival, Seattle, USA, May

2009 Minneapolis St.Paul Film Festival, Minneapolis, USA, April

2009 Off Camera International Film Festival, Poland, April

2009 Creteil Women's Film Festival, France, March

2009 Cleveland International Film Festival, USA, March

2009 Santa Barbara International Film Festival, USA, January

Six Dollar Fifty Man (Executive Producer),14 mins., Sticky Pictures, New Zealand 2009

International Awards

2009 62nd Festival De Cannes, France, awarded Special Distinction

2010 Sundance Film Festival, USA, won Jury Prize in International Short Filmmaking

2010 60th Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin– Generation Kplus, Germany,

awarded Special Mention

2010 Six Dollar Fifty Man Aspen Shortsfest, USA, won Best Drama

2010 Six Dollar Fifty Man British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), Los

Angeles, awarded Prize for Excellence

Take-3 (Executive Producer), 8 mins., Frame-Up Films, New Zealand 2008

International Awards

2008 58th Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin– Generation Kplus, Germany, awarded Special Mention

2008 Valladolid International Film Festival, won Meeting Point Audience Award for Best Foreign Short

Coffee & Allah (Writer/Producer), 14 mins., Nomadz Unlimited Ltd, New Zealand 2007

International Film Festivals Official Selection

2007 63rd Venice International Film Festival, Corto Cortissimo, Italy, August

2007 52nd Valladolid International Film Festival, Spain, September

2008 34th Seattle International Film Festival, USA, June

2008 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Prague, July

2008 Palm Springs International Film Festival, USA, July

2008 40th Auckland International Film Festival, New Zealand, July

2008 Hof International Film Festival, Germany, November

2008 51st San Francisco International Film Festival, USA, April

2008 Hawaii International Film Festival, won Best Short Film 2008 Golden Minbar International Muslim Cinema Festival, Tatarstan, won Best short Film

2009 Kara Film Festival, Pakistan, February

2009 Opening Gala: Award Winners From Around the World, Worldwide Short

Film Festival, Toronto, Canada, June

2009 Licensed for broadcast to MTS (New Zealand) Rialto Entertainment (New

Zealand)

2009 Licensed for broadcast to Cinephil Cable TV (Japan)

Clean Linen (Writer/Producer), 13 mins., Nomadz Unlimited Ltd, New Zealand 2007

International Film Festivals Official Selection

2008 26th San Francisco International Film Festival, USA, April

2008 San Diego Asian Film Festival, USA, May

2008 South Asian International Film Festival, New York City, USA, November 2007 Melbourne International Film Festival, Australia, July

2007 39th Auckland International Film Festival, New Zealand, July

Fleeting Beauty (Writer/Producer) 7 mins., Nomadz Unlimited Ltd, New Zealand 2004

International Film Festivals Official Selection

2004 36th Auckland International Film Festival, New Zealand, July

2004 Montreal World Film Festival, Canada, September

2004 49th Valladolid International Film Festival, October

2004 9th Kerala International Film Festival, India, December

2005 Indian International Film Festival of Los Angeles, USA, April

2005 Hof International Film Festival, Germany October

2005 Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, Taiwan, November

2005 International Women's Film Festival, Torino, Italy, October

2005 Palm Springs International Film Festival, USA, September

2005 28th International Asian American Film Festival and national

tour in affiliation with the Asia Society of New York, USA, July

2005 Worldwide Short Film Festival in Toronto, Canada, June

2005 Aotearoa Asia Film Festival 2005 Kiwi Classics Film Series - Rialto, Auckland

2004 Licensed for broadcast on Canal + (Poland)

2005 Licensed for broadcast to Maori Television Service, Rialto Entertainment, New

Zealand

Television Credits

A Thousand Apologies (Writer/Producer), 22 mins. x 6 episodes, Great Southern Television, New Zealand, 2008

Episode 1, TV3 & Great Southern Television, 05-09-2008 Episode 2, TV3 & Great Southern Television, 12-09-2008 Episode 3, TV3 & Great Southern Television, 19-09-2008 Episode 4, TV3 & Great Southern Television, 26-09-2008 Episode 5, TV3 & Great Southern Television, 03-10-2008 Episode 6, TV3 & Great Southern Television, 10-10-2008

A Taste of Place: Stories of Food & Longing (Writer/Presenter) 46 mins., Nomadz Unlimited Ltd. New Zealand 2001

TV-1 (TVNZ) New Zealand 05-02-2001 2001 Hawaii International Film Festival, USA

Refereed Journal Articles

PEARSON, S.R. and KOTHARI, S.T., “Menus for a Multicultural New Zealand”, Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, 21.1 (2007): 45-58.

KOTHARI, S.T., “From Genre To Zenana: Urdu Drama serials and Women's culture in Pakistan”, Contemporary South Asia, 14.3 (2005): 289-305.

KOTHARI, S.T. and KOTHARI R.A., “Roots and Routes: Two Partition Narratives” Indian Journal of World Literature and Culture, 1.1(2004): 95-100.

Sections in Books

KOTHARI, S.T. and PEARSON, S.R., “Producing Media: The project, the producer, the vision and the budget.” In Luke Goode and Nabeel Zuberi (eds.) Media Studies in Aotearoa/ New Zealand. Auckland: Pearson, 1-11, 2010. KOTHARI, S.T. and KOTHARI, R.A., “Crossing the Border in Opposite Directions: Two Partition Narratives.” In Anjali Gera Roy and Nandi Bhatia (eds.), Partitioned Lives: Narratives of Home, Displacement

and Resettlement, Delhi: Pearson Longman, 146-156, 2007.

KOTHARI, S.T. “Questioning the Audience.” In Luke Goode and Nabeel Zuberi (eds.), Media Studies in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Auckland: Pearson, 46-58, 2004.

KOTHARI, S.T., PEARSON, S.R., ZUBERI, N.M. “Multiculturalism and Television in Aotearoa/New Zealand.” In Roger Horrocks and Nick Perry (eds.), Television in New Zealand: Programming the Nation, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 135-151, 2004.

KOTHARI, S.T. and PEARSON, S.R. “Taste of Place: Stories of Food and Loss.” In Michael Hanne (ed) Creativity in Exile, Amsterdam: Rodopi, 227-228, 2004.

KOTHARI, S.T. “Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry, film by Sturla Gunnarsson.” In Jaina C Sanga (ed), South Asian Literature in English: An Encyclopedia, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 313-315, 2004.

KOTHARI, S.T. “Upamanyu Chatterjee.” In Jaina C Sanga (ed), South Asian Literature in English: An Encyclopedia, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 44-46, 2004.

KOTHARI, S.T. and ZUBERI, N.M. “The Heart is still Indian: Bollywood and the South Asian Diaspora.” In Alexandra Schneider and Cecilia Hausheer (eds), Alpine Reflections on an Indian Silver Screen, Zurich, Museum Für Gestaltung, 162-169, 2002.
 

Teaching | Current

FTVMS 303 Film and Broadcast Writing

SCREEN 301 Screenplay Writing

SCREEN 700 Screenwriting Project

SCREEN 797AB Production Project

Distinctions/Honours

2010 Nominated in the category for Best Screenplay by the 52nd Annual Filmfare Awards, Mumbai, India (India’s equivalent to the Academy Awards) for the feature film Firaaq (writer).

2010 Nominated in the category for Best Story by the Star Screen Awards, Mumbai, India (India’s equivalent to the Golden Globe Awards) for the feature film Firaaq (writer).

2010 Best Film Award (Critics’ Choice) for Firaaq (writer) at the Star Screen Awards, Mumbai, India

2010 Six Dollar Fifty Man (executive producer) Awarded Jury Prize in International Short Filmmaking, Sundance Film Festival, USA

2009 Received the Writer’s Award by the New Zealand Film Commission (NZD $50,000)

2009 Apron Strings (co-writer/co-producer) Special Selection 62nd Festival De Cannes (Cinephile), France, May

2009 Six Dollar Fifty Man (executive producer) In Competition - 62nd Festival De Cannes, Awarded Special Distinction- 62nd Festival De Cannes, France

2008 Invited as a writer, to attend the world premiere for two features (Firaaq, Apron Strings) by the Toronto International Film Festival, Canada, September

2007 Coffee & Allah (writer/producer) In Competition at the Venice International Film Festival

2007 Awarded (jointly with Sarina Pearson and Great Southern Television) a grant from New Zealand On 2007 Air for the production of A Thousand Apologies, New Zealand’s first Asian prime-time television series (NZ$645,000)

2006 Selected by the New Zealand Film Commission as mentor and Executive Producer for six short films for NZ$345,000 

2005 Awarded (jointly with Sarina Pearson) the Vice Chancellor’s Strategic Development Fund for a pilot episode of A Thousand Apologies (NZ$90,000)

1999 Awarded (jointly with Sarina Pearson) a grant from New Zealand On Air for the television documentary A Taste of Place: Stories of Food and Longing

1992 Awarded the James Michener Fellowship for Screenplay writing, Texas Centre for Writers, University of Texas at Austin (US$30,000)

Areas of expertise

Screenplay writing, producing, digital storytelling

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Kothari, S. T., & Taylor, D. (10/7/2008). Apron Strings, Great Southern Film. Toronto International Film Festival: Great Southern Film/New Zealand Film Commission, Rialto Distribution.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/17332
  • Kothari, S. T., & Das, N. J. (1/1/2008). Firaaq, Percept Picture Company. Toronto International Film Festival.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/17331
  • Kothari, S. T. (1/1/2008). A Thousand Apologies: 6-part Asian Sketch Comedy Television Series [video for broadcast], TV-3.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/17334
  • Kothari, S. T. (5/9/2007). Coffee & Allah. Nomadz Unlimited, New Zealand Film Commission.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/17333

Contact details

Primary location

SOCIAL SCIENCES - EAST - Bldg 201E
Level 5, Room 519
10 SYMONDS ST
AUCKLAND 1010
New Zealand