The Austin Film Festival and Writers Conference announced May 5 their fifth annual ‘25 Screenwriters to Watch’ list and Indian American standup comic Zarna Garg, Indian American writer/director Par Parekh and Indo-Canadian writer Rupinder Gill are among the screenwriters who are being recognized by the premier film festival.
Garg and Greg Fortier’s comedy script, “Rearranged,” won the Comedy Screenplay Award presented by Sony Pictures Animation at the 2019 Austin Film Festival and was a semifinalist for the 2019 Academy Nicholl Fellowships. It has been optioned by Marginal Mediaworks whose CEO and founder is Sanjay Sharma. (Read earlier India-West story here: https://bit.ly/3fqCCHY)
“Rearranged,” according to Deadline, “follows a tenacious teen girl who was raised in the patriarchy of wealthy India in the ‘90s. She defies an arranged marriage and leaves her family and its fortunes behind, in pursuit of a life and love of her own in America.” Garg will serve as an executive producer on the project.
Zarna, whose comedy combines the immigrant and American experience, has produced and performed in multiple sold-out comedy shows in top comedy clubs across New York City.
Gill is a writer/producer on the upcoming Peacock series, “Rutherford Falls,” and the NBC series, “Indebted.” She previously worked on the Amy Poehler-produced comedy, “I Feel Bad” and the Eugene Levy/Catherine O’ Hara starrer “Schitt’s Creek.”
Gill is also the author of the critically-reviewed memoir, “On The Outside Looking Indian,” and has written for the long-running Canadian political comedy series, “This Hour Has 22 Minutes.”
Parekh’s film, “The Happy,” was a festival favorite at the 2019 Austin Film Festival. In the short film, Par, a lost and heavily bearded Indian American from the East Coast comes to Los Angeles searching for happiness, only to discover that all the New Age conspiracy theorists and spiritual materialists think he’s a guru.
His previous work includes promotional videos for such musical talents as Beyoncé, Celine Dion, Shuggie Otis and Willie Nelson. Currently, his feature documentary debut, “Sister Una Lived A Good Death,” is in post-production.
Parekh told the film festival that he’s also putting the finishing touches on a “really fun script” that taps into his Indian American teenage years in New Jersey — but it’s not your typical “trapped-between-two-cultures” coming of age tale. “Think madcap action, lots of adventure, a riverboat, and sea shanties,” he said.