Events & Talks

Civic Studios at Cannes – 2024

Civic Studios team members attended Festival de Cannes 2024, a hub of global entertainment industry energy. Highlights included an exclusive brunch co-hosted with Product of Culture, sessions at the International Film Finance Forum, and impact producers showcasing films’ power for social change. They attended events hosted by BFI and Film London, and participated in the Tasveer matchmaking events at both the American Pavilion and India Pavilion. Throughout the festival, they watched remarkable films and connected with award-winning writers, directors, emerging talents, and international sales agents to discuss synergies for impactful storytelling. Interactions with broadcasters, festival strategists, filmmakers, financiers, and luminaries like AR Rahman made their Cannes experience invaluable and a celebration of cinema.

Civic Studios at Cannes

(Left) Tasveer Matchmaking: Filmmakers and film financiers participated in a rapid round of speed networking.

(Right) Exclusive brunch Civic Studios co-hosted with Product of Culture.

‘Schirkoa: In Lies We Trust’ premiere at International Film Festival of Rotterdam – January 2024

‘Schirkoa: In Lies We Trust’, our sci-fi animation feature film directed by award-winning filmmaker Ishan Shukla made a resounding impact at its world premiere at the International Film Festival of Rotterdam 2024 in January! The film was awarded the prestigious NETPAC Award for the Best Asian Film at the festival, marking a big win for the entire team.

With a principal voice cast of Golshifteh Farahani, Asia Argento, Soko, and more, the guest voices include Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, and Piyush Mishra. It is an Indo-French-German co-production between Red Cigarette Media, Shukla’s Vadodara-based animation studio, Dissidenz Films and Rapid Eye Movies, in association with Civic Studios and French Sofica Cofinova 18. It is executive produced by Civic Studios’ founder Anushka Shah and co-produced by Samir Sarkar.

(Left) Director Ishan Shukla making an impression with the eye-catching paper bag head look in front of a packed theatre!

(Right) The team repping the film at IFFR 2024 with bag heads in tow!

Civic Studios at the UK Asian Film Festival – May 2024

At the UK Asian Film Festival 2024, Anushka Shah, CEO, Civic Studios, had the honor of presenting the Best Director award to Anshuman Jha for his debut film, “Lord Curzon Ki Haveli.” This year’s festival also hosted “Creative Minds of Tomorrow,” an industry-driven gathering that brought together top-notch professionals from diverse creative domains. Civic Studios had the privilege to speak on the panel, contributing to discussions that acted as a catalyst for budding talent in the creative sectors.

 (Left) Anushka Shah, CEO, Civic Studios handing the award to Anshuman Jha, Director of Lord Curzon Ki Haveli 

(Right) Namrata Sharma, Director of Impact & Partnerships, & Sharmila Ganguli, Creative & Business Development Lead speaking at the “Creative Minds of Tomorrow” showcase at UKAFF 2024

Civic Studios hosts Climate Change Fresk at Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2023 – November 2023

‘Too Hot to Handle’, a climate change fresk was hosted by Civic Studios in collaboration with Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival to stir discussions around climate change among industry insiders in a fun way. Hosted by renowned comic Abish Mathew and Anuradha Menon, the event featured a climate change-themed game show and interactive walk-through exhibitions that illustrated climate change’s impact & highlighted organizations committed to climate action, enabling guests to donate or connect with them later.

(Top left) Team CS ready to host! 

(Top right) Anushka Shah, CEO, Civic Studios, kicking off the party, 

(Bottom left) Party attendees delivering their competitive spirit! 

(Bottom right) Comedians Abish Mathew and Anuradha Menon in MC mode!

Civic Studios at the CSBC Colloquium on ‘Storytelling for Impact’– August 2023

Civic Studios had the privilege of participating in the recent ‘Storytelling for Impact’ colloquium hosted by the Center for Social and Behaviour Change, where our team, including Anushka Shah and Roohi Bhatia, showcased the power of storytelling in creating social impact. The event featured the screening of our impactful short film ‘Vakeel Babu,’ lauded for its detailed research and engagement value, while also generating discussion on domestic violence and need for gender sensitization among legal practitioners

(Left to Right) Pawan Mamidi (CSBC Director), Anushka Shah (CEO, Civic Studios), Roohi Bhatia (Director of Strategy and Operations, Civic Studios), Radharani Mitra (BBC Media Action), Jitender Dabas (COO, Maccan), Pulkit Sharma (Sr. Marketing Associate, Civic Studios), Sharon Barnhardt (Director, Research, CSBC).

16th Annual National Conference on Electoral & Political Reforms by ADR & Maharashtra Election Watch – 16 July 2023

Pulkit Sharma, our senior marketing associate, represented Civic Studios at the16th Annual National Conference on Electoral & Political Reforms organised by ADR and Maharashtra Election Watch at Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics in Pune, Maharashtra. Pulkit was a part of the panel on ‘Election Campaigns, Digital Technology and Social Media Mobilization in India’.

Explain Like I’m 10 Podcast: What is Content? Ft. Anushka Shah & Farah Rumaney – December 2022

Catch Anushka Shah along with Farah Rumaney on one of the episodes of the Explain Like I’m 10 Podcast with Meghnad, where they answer the small question of ‘what is content?’ with some very big answers!

eSHE TV | The founder of comedy channel Pocket Change on democracy, humour and Indian politics – February 2022

Tune into a live streamed interview of Anushka Shah speaking with Aekta Kapoor, eShe editor about the state of Indian politics and the power of humour for a healthy democracy.

MIT INDIA | Imagination and Innovation in Storytelling: A conversation with Shekhar Kapur – May 2021

Listen to this webinar conversation organized by MIT India where Anushka Shah interviews Shekhar Kapur, noted film, TV & theater director, covering diverse topics such as the role of conflict in storytelling, the relationship between perception and polarization, and journalism.

Women Representation in Electoral Politics: Association for Democratic Reforms – March 2021

Why is there a lack of women participation and representation in electoral politics? What are the barriers to entry for female political participation? How is female political participation portrayed in mainstream media?

Association for Democratic Reforms organised a webinar on “Women Representation in Electoral Politics: A lack of political will?” to explore these questions and more. Our founder, Anushka Shah, was part of the panel along with Dr. Malini Bhattacharya (Former MP from CPI(M)), Ms. Karuna Nundy (Advocate, Supreme Court of India), and Ms. Pooja Ganesh Thaokar (Sarpanch of Bela, Maharashtra), and this was moderated by Ms. Kamini Jaiswal (Sr. Advocate, Supreme Court of India)

Civic Studios x Dylan Mohan Gray – November 2020

We chatted with Dylan Mohan Gray, acclaimed documentary filmmaker, on his experience of directing the Vijal Mallya episode of the Netflix docu-series ‘Bad Boy Billionaires’, and its impact in driving conversations around the financial sector reform in India.

Civic Media for Change: Eco Lens by Good Pitch India – November 2020

Our founder, Anushka Shah, spoke at ECO LENS, a first of its kind virtual media lab organized by Good Pitch India, on how citizen engagement through media can drive change in narratives of policy making and institutional reform around environmental issues.

Civic Studios x My Story as a Woman – October 2020

As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, our Research Manager, Namrata Sharma, spoke with Shubha Nivedha of My Story as a Woman, a pro-bono legal clinic, on the media’s portrayal of domestic violence, and our research on audience perceptions of Bollywood film Thappad. Read more about our Thappad study here

Representation of Law and Order in Cinema: Media Rumble – October 2020

The good cop, the corrupt cop, and the vigilante- these are the common portrayals of law enforcement officials we see in Indian cinema. Do such portrayals increase public trust in these officers? What are the consequences? Does this inhibit or encourage people to enlist help from the police force in times of crisis?

Our founder, Anushka Shah, moderated a session with IPS officer Rema Rajeshwari and bestselling crime writer Hussain Zaidi at the 2020 edition of Newslaundry’s Media Rumble to explore these questions and more.

BIC Screens | A Place to Live: In conversation with film-maker Sanjiv Shah – October 2020

We had a chance to speak with film-maker Sanjiv Shah around his film A Place to Live, which looks at the housing crisis in India that has spanned across the past seventy years. Mr. Shah talked about his film, the challenges of state and non-state actors, the need to respect fundamental ecological rights of people, and the role of media in driving the conversation forward.

Masterclass on civic media and participation – August 2020

As part of the Godrej India Culture Lab Leadership Programme, our founder, Anushka Shah, took a Masterclass for the 2020 batch of Culture Lab Fellows on the potential of media narratives in shaping popular narratives on public institutions and ideas of democracy. She also shared her journey of starting Civic Studios, and our future plans as a production house. Hear a snippet of the class below, and to read the Lab team’s blog on key takeaways from the masterclass, click here.

Building civil society organizations for the future – July 2020

Good civics makes for livable and loveable cities! We spoke at a 2 day conference titled ‘Toxic environment and Toxic emotions’ organized by Arthan Careers. It was aimed at enabling conversation to create inclusive, liveable and sustainable cities, and support India’s ambitions of more effective and equitable urban management.

Civic Studios x of10 – July 2020

Roohi Bhatia, our content manager, had a quick chat with Umang of of10, a Mumbai-based co-working space, as part of their Insta Live series, on Civic Studios’ goals and our latest upcoming projects.


Does the glorified representation of police brutality in our mainstream media have any impact on us as viewers? To unpack this question, we moderated a conversation with two eminent filmmakers, Vetrimaaran (Director of Visaaranai & Asuran) and Hansal Mehta (Director of Shahid & Aligarh). They shared anecdotes, on-ground insights, film-making advice and more to tease out this reel-to-real relationship. The webinar was hosted by Project 39A.

Crime and Punishment in Indian Entertainment – November 2019

Civic Studios held an event at the India Culture Lab, Mumbai to release a report on ‘Crime & Punishment in Indian Entertainment’. This was followed by a talk with well-known crime author Hussain Zaidi, and a panel discussion that brought together Neeraj Ghyawan (film-maker), Esha Paul (Vice Media producer), Devika Prasad (police reforms activist, CHRI) and Vijay Hiremath (human rights lawyer).

How Entertainment Can Help Fix the System – October 2019

Catch a podcast interview of Anushka Shah with Andrew Whitacre and Elizabeth Borneman from the Comparative Media Studies / Writing program at MIT, USA, on how entertainment can provide alternate narratives of citizen participation.

94.3 RADIO ONE | Hrishi K with Anushka Shah, Researcher MIT Media Lab on ‘Civic Studios’ & ‘Media Cloud’ projects – August 2019

Tune into this radio interview of Anushka Shah with Hrishi K, producer & presenter known for his flagship show ‘Good Morning Mumbai’ on 94.3 Radio One.

How Do You Like It So Far? Podcast: Anushka Shah on Civic Entertainment – September 2018

Catch a podcast interview of Anushka Shah with Henry Jenkins, Provost Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts and Education at the University of Southern California on his podcast, ‘How do you like it so far?’, where they discuss the inspiration to bring together civic participation and entertainment.

The Past, Present, and Future of Civic Entertainment – August 2018

Civic Studios and the MIT Media Lab held an event at the India Culture Lab, Mumbai to announce and sow the seeds of a community around civic entertainment. Amidst many others, this event brought together Professor Gopal Guru speaking on minority representation in the movie ‘Kaala’, MIT academic Ethan Zuckerman who gave a masterclass on civic entertainment, and comedian Rohan Joshi on civics and superheroes in popular media.