Hi, My name is Sarah Monteiro, I’m a 21 year old Bombay girl who has recently secured an offer at the University of Exeter, UK for a Masters in International Film Business. The course starts in September 2021 (I had applied for the October 2020 intake. However, I received my offer letter on 15th September 2020, and was unable to collect the required funds due to the shortage of time. Hence I decided to defer my seat for the next intake in September 2021.) and is my dream in the making. The Production industry is a tough place to be, and I need to ensure I am the best I can be, to contribute effectively and help others do the same.
My family’s financial situation has been challenged in recent years, and while this has helped me to become self- sufficient and independent, it also means that I’m not able to fund this programme entirely. Though I’m putting all my savings in, I need help with the rest.
Background and about me:
When I was 11 my mother took me for my very first film exhibition, where I fell in love with the art, and it was then that I decided that that is what I wanted to pursue in life. I started studying filmmaking professionally at the age of 13, with part time courses after school and went on to study mass media for my bachelor's degree. During the first 2 years of my degree, I worked as an intern as well, at 2 different production houses to up my skills. Alongside my final year in college, I decided to take up a diploma in filmmaking wherein I learnt an in depth study of the industry. After giving myself enough time to try out all the roles in filmmaking over the years, the one that stuck with me the most is the business side to it, that is film production and distribution. The fact that you never know how the audience will receive your film, and there's no formula to making a 'successful' film is what excites and drives me the most.
My father has given me a great life and has always had his wing around me. However, In the last few years his business has been going in to great loss. My mother went back to work after 20 years of being a homemaker. I am on the verge of loosing my house to debt that was incurred because of the business. I would take care of my own expenses as I am a musician as well and I’d perform gigs regularly around the city. Once I finished my Undergraduate degree, I knew that I couldn’t afford to study further and it’s always been my dream to work in the film industry. So I applied to Balaji Telefilms Ltd and was hired immediately as a production trainee (later moved up to Assistant Producer) although with a very menial stipend. This year was probably the toughest and most stressful year of my life. I’d try to make ends meet for my family and myself with whatever I was earning from there as well as with my gigs, I’d work 12-14 hours a day on set and then run to perform a 2-3 hour show some evenings. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind the hard work at all, it was surviving while trying to pursue my dreams, was what I was worried about.During this pandemic I realised that this doesn’t have to be my life. I’m trying to turn my life around and I don't want to give up my dream just because I don’t have the funds. So I gave it a shot. I decided to look up universities abroad and came across the University of Exeter, which was one of the two colleges which has the exact Master’s programme that I’m interested in, that is ‘International Business in Film’.I applied and got in! Now the only thing keeping me from going, is the cost of it, which is why I need your help.
What have I done? :
I have completed my B..M.M (bachelor of mass media ) from Don Bosco College in 2019 and have completed my diploma in filmmaking from MET (Mumbai Educational Trust) in the same year. Directly after college, I was amongst the two students to be hired (and the only one who could manage the stress and work hours for a year) by Balaji Telefilms Ltd, the biggest Television Production house in India.
My Future Plans:
I want to create films that will benefit society and create awareness of important issues.
Being a musician as well, I find it necessary for me to use my craft for the greater good of society, to use my platform to speak for the voices that cannot be heard.
1 in every 3rd Indian is illiterate and India has the highest illiteracy rate in the world. That is why it is so important for filmmakers to be aware of the content they put out to the masses.
We don’t need more masala films, or item numbers, or over dramatised content, at least not as much as we need educative, social awareness content.
People need to understand that society is not the same as it was 50 years ago. It is changing.
It is not okay for a woman to earn lesser than a man, both working the same job. We need to start teaching the young girls of our country that they don’t need a man to have a happy ending, educate them about independency. Teach them to step out of line and take a chance.
Yes, we’re a developing country, however, if it’s only industrial and technological wise, are we really moving forward?
As a kid and even today, my father has always told me “Use your talent in a way that would benefit the lives of others” No matter who you are or where you go.
My goal is to use my art to make a difference, make the world a better and safer place to live in for us and for the generations to come.
What I want from you? :
I plan to pursue my masters from the University of Exeter, the tution fee along with the stay for 1 year, comes up to ₹30,50,000. I request you to please come forward and help me raise funds for my further education. Any contribution will be of immense help. Even if you are unable to contribute, please do help me out by sharing this campaign and spreading the word, it would really help me. Thank you :)
I would humbly request you to support me in the best of your capacity and share my word with friends and family. Your support can change lives and inspire young girls like me to dream bigger and fly higher.