South Asian Rising Stars Initiative Set for India, Pakistan Talent – Variety
As South Asians increasingly make their mark on the world film and TV stage, an initiative to find emerging talent from the region and propel them globally is being launched.
Alongside talent from the region who are already entrenched in Hollywood, including Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Freida Pinto, in recent years several South Asian actors have appeared in international projects. They include Alia Bhatt in “Heart of Stone,” Sajal Aly in “What’s Love Got to Do with It?,” Fawad Khan and Nimra Bucha in “Ms. Marvel,” Ahad Raza Mir in “Resident Evil” and “World on Fire” Season 2, Huma Qureshi in “Army of the Dead” and Dhanush in “The Gray Man.”
South Asian Rising Stars is an initiative from U.A.E.-based Action Consultancy, a celebrity talent agency managing a large roster of South Asian talent from the film and television industry for international projects. The program aims to “recognize and elevate exceptional individuals from the South Asian film and television sphere onto the global stage.”
The initiative will have two separate chapters for India and Pakistan. Each chapter of the inaugural talent spotlight edition will shortlist six individuals (a mix of actors, directors and producers) who have regional work in films or television to their credit and are in need of that final push towards their first international breakthrough. All actors, directors and producers with at least one project to their credit in their home country can apply.
Hamid Hussain, CEO of Action Consultancy who has co-founded the program along with Muhammad Yaqoob, said: “South Asia has a huge talent pool that has been underutilized and underrepresented in international film and TV projects. Over the years I have realized there are two reasons behind this, first being no proper representation and guidance available for South Asian talent from the film and television industry internationally and second being the lack of awareness about this talent pool in the international market and concerns amongst international producers regarding obtaining visas due to which there seems to be a bias towards talent holding American, British, Canadian or similar nationalities.”
The initiative will also be used as a tool to create awareness about this talent pool with international casting directors, producers and filmmakers and also to address their concerns over visas. Each shortlisted rising star from both the chapters will get an opportunity to interact with international industry experts. They will receive bespoke support programs for each individual’s professional development for the next one year after selection. This will include giving them agency representation for international projects, connecting them with key international decision makers and mentoring them on increasing their international profile and progressing their career aims.
The shortlisted South Asian Rising Stars will be revealed at an event on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival 2024.
There are no age restrictions for the program. A few high profile mentors have already been signed up. Further details will be revealed in October.