The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has offered membership to more than 800 film professionals across 68 countries for a diverse representation.
Apart from a number of Hollywood and Bollywood celebrities, the Academy has also extended an invitation to three former students of Jamia Millia Islamia University - Nishtha Jain, Shirley Abraham and Amit Madhesiya.
They have been nominated in the list of documentary filmmakers. All three are postgraduates from the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre(AJKMCRC).
After completing her post-graduation from AJK MCRC, Nishtha went on to specialise in film direction from FTII, Pune. Her filmography includes City of Photos (2004), Lakshmi and Me (2007), At my Doorstep (2009), Family Album (2011) and Gulabi Gang (2012). Gulabi Gang won the National Award for Best Film on Social Issues in 2014.
Nishtha has been honoured with a number of prestigious fellowships, among which are the Global media Maker Award (2019) and the Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellowship to teach and research at the University of Texas.
Nishtha's film The Golden Thread, based on the crisis in the jute textile industry, won the Chicken and Egg Award 2020.
Shirley Abraham & Amit Madhesiya
After graduating from AJK MCRC, Shirley and Amit collaborated on a number of internationally acclaimed projects. Their debut feature-length documentary Cinema Travelers premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Apart from Cannes, the film was also screened at Toronto and New York Film Festival and received the President's Gold Medal in India.
Apart from being a filmmaker, Amit is also passionate about photography. His series of 12 photographs, 'Night Screening of Travelling Cinema in India', received the World Press Photo Award in 2011.
Their documentary Searching for Saraswati (2018), recounting a tale of two villages in the grip of blind faith, was widely appreciated. In 2019, Shirley and Amit made a powerful documentary titled The Hour of the Lynching about a case of Muslims being lynched by cow vigilantes.
After receiving the invite from the Academy, Shirley expressed her excitement on Twitter.
As an independent filmmaker, I know the value of the legitimacy of my voice, of a place at the table.
Honoured to be invited by @TheAcademy to join as a member.
Such blazing talent, our class of 2020. A world of work ahead of us and I'm so ready.https://t.co/IJaEzJJbcv
— Shirley Abraham (@shirley_abraham) July 1, 2020
Among Bollywood actors, Hrithik Roshan and Alia Bhatt have been invited to become members. Others from India are designer Neeta Lulla, casting directors Nandini Shrikent and Tess Joseph, costume designer Neeta Lulla, documentary filmmakers Nishtha Jain and Amit Madheshiya, visual effects supervisors Vishal Anand and Sandeep Kamal and film score composer Nainita Desai.
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