LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Acclaimed screenwriter Varunn Pandya has been honored for Best Screenplay at the Calcutta Cult Film Festival and for Best Sci-Fi Short Screenplay at the Hollywood Just4Shorts Short Film & Screenplay Competition for the screenplays “The House” and “XYZ,” respectively.
“I am very pleased and grateful to be honored by these outstanding film festivals,” Pandya said. “It has always been my goal to create compelling characters and situations that show the complexity and passion that are integral to our human condition.”
“The House” tells the story of John, a 30-year-old writer who learns the lesson of humility upon meeting a homeless man. “XYZ” follows the futuristic tale of a couple struggling to afford the expense of a gene editing procedure to ensure that their child fits in with the new generation which increasingly relies on external beauty.
The awards are the newest for Pandya who earlier this year won Best Short Screenplay at the Five Continents International Film Festival for “The House,” along with Best Super Short Screenplay for “Goodbye, America” at the Berlin Flash Film Festival as well as earning finalist honors for his screenplay for the short screenplay “Predicament” at the Calcutta International Cult Film Festival.
“For 'The House', I wanted the audience to feel what it felt like to see the world from the perspective of a homeless man. A man who, for the past few years, has kept the good memories he has experienced very close to his heart and how a new family affects his situation,” he said. “For 'XYZ', I wanted to explore a futuristic sci-fi setting for the first time. Before that, I had only ever written dramas and thrillers, but I wanted to explore this world through the eyes of a couple struggling to bring a new life into the world.”
His projects have been official selections to a number of film festivals so far this year, with more pending for next year. But it wasn’t always like that for Pandya who is currently writing the script for the upcoming feature film “The Switch-Up” with fellow writer Bader Alshuaib. Born in Mumbai, India, Pandya grew up in Dubai where became an avid movie fan.
“I grew up watching Bollywood and Hollywood films with equal passion,” he recalled. “I feel being exposed to both these schools of cinema really shaped me. I was writing short stories since my early schooling years.”
With a passion for writing and storytelling, soaked up the eclectic and artistic atmosphere of Dubai where artists from East and West would converge and share their passion for writing and filmmaking, further encouraging the young writer to come to Hollywood and share his talent. Upon his graduation from college, and with his parents’ blessing, he moved to the United States where he enrolled at the New York Film Academy, earning a bachelor’s degree in film production. Soon, he would begin writing for several film projects, earning a reputation for creating multifaceted characters and unique situations in character-driven dramas.