Formedia accepted to play a central role in the evolvement of the pioneering Steps for the Future project. STEPS for the Future was a successful initiative to combine international public television and the cause of HIV / AIDS in Africa.
The group of professionals, including several Commissioning Editors from international mainstream public television, came together again to set up STEPS International. They spearheaded the worldwide WhyDEMOCRACY and Why Poverty projects of documentary films.
Seeing the size and diversity of a sub-continent like India, some nodal persons in the STEPS network, like Iikka Vehkalahti, felt the need to establish a separate initiative for India. The idea of the STEPS INDIA project grew from that with Pramod Mathur and Iikka Vehkalahti as Directors of a separately formed company.
A Call for Proposals launched in 2008 received over 100 proposals from all over India. About 25 film-makers were short-listed. International commissioning editors from premier Television stations and directors / producers from prestigious institutions came to India to brainstorm and develop the film ideas for a cross-global viewership. It was the first time that documentary film-makers in India had an opportunity for such interaction at the international level.
The film-makers worked hard on their ideas and many of them shot short segments / sequences in preparation for the workshop held in Goa in March 2006. The short-listed film-makers had exclusive one-to-one sessions with the Commissioning Editors, Directors, Producers in Goa. The visitors included Nick Fraser (BBC), Ally Derks (IDFA), Ryota Katami (NHK), Heino Deckert (Germany), Don Edkins (Day Zero, South Africa), Claire Aguilar (ITVS), Mette Hoffmann-Meyer (TV2), Christoph Joerg (ARTE).
Finally, six films were targeted for potential commissioning and two for further development.
Steps India further developed a project for film makers in the non-governmental sector. The project, ‘Tell It Better’, was aimed at turning narratives of NGO films to make them broadcast-worthy / of interest to general audiences. The preparatory brainstorming workshop for this was held in April 2007.