Crowdfunding Indian Indie Film

Kolkata, June 6 (Washington Bangla Radio): Indian audience doesn’t really care much about Indie films. Who is to be blamed for that? Is it the lack of quality indie films in our country or the absence of a sturdy system to support them? All we know about movies is, Bollywood. Also there are the regional film industries that contribute to the popular culture. But there is a lot of meaningful cinema that is going unnoticed because of their non-existent marketing budget and dearth of PR machinery that could talk about films with substance rather than the glitz and glam of Bollywood.

Not just this, in wake of this ignorance surrounding indie films, even high profile commercial churners have started calling themselves indie film makers because it’s “cool” to be indie. Here is our attempt to introduce you to a real indie film maker and his struggles to make his dream come true.

Anamitra Roy“Making an independent film is like saying it on the face, whatever has kept on boiling you from inside, without caring about how the social or political or any other kind of institutions might react. And making an independent film with a producer is like organizing a movement sponsored by your father where you can bring down the wall of Berlin only if your father allows”, says Anamitra Roy, Co-founder of Little Fish Eat Big Fish.

Any form of independent art is about creative independence. Film is not an exception. And with creative independence arise issues like why should someone else become the sacrificial lamb for your ideas. If it does not look commercially viable absolutely nobody is going to come forward and support you with his or her hard earned money. So, either you need to be an entrepreneur (which is quite unusual in case of films) or you just need to forget about your dreams and move on. Between these two options, another way has been discovered after the advent of digital media; A path less traveled where you can think of producing films at the cost of breathing. No Budget films have been a new area of interest in several film festivals around the world in the last couple of years or so. These films are also known as Zero Budget or Micro Budget films.

Sriparna DeyAnamitra and Sriparna (WBRi Interview) are amongst the pioneers in the zero budget movie making in India. They took it up to the level of entrepreneurship almost while others thought the new media is good for students only to try their hands. It must have been the year 2007 when Anamitra started off with editing every video he could grab. A couple of years later, he made his first film with a digital video camera, with help from friends who did everything from acting to making props and managing other production duties.  Then a no-budget filmmaking forum was co-founded with these friends, under the name Little Fish Eat Big Fish, and Bengal’s first widely recognized no-budget filmmaking movement started during the following months.

The following year, in January 2010, his first film ‘Jean Luc Godard Had No Script’ was compiled with four other no-budget films from his like-minded friends and published as a self-distributed DVD in the Book Fair, Kolkata. They sold more than 100 copies of the Five No Budget Films in just seven days. There has been no looking back hence.

After 3 years and 3 compilations of significantly experimental films, they have a nationwide pool of viewers and followers who want to see their films. The model for self-production, self-promotion and self-distribution that they wanted to test five years back had proved itself. They started working on The One Rupee Film.

The preliminary target was to make a docu-fiction film on the independent filmmaking scenario in our country, India. The secondary target was to reach the audience through this One Rupee Film Project. “Since making films without a budget happens to be my popular area of specialization, One Indian Rupee from everyone I come across, would be enough I think. But, I need everyone, yes. It’s not an appeal for their money; it’s an appeal for their attention, not just towards Little Fish Eat Big Fish, but every other aspiring filmmaker in India who takes up the camera and fulfills his aspirations without caring for or fearing anyone or anything that stands in his way.” Says Anamitra Roy, for whom filmmaking is not an industry but an activism.

He announced the idea in Bring Your Own Film Festival, Puri in February 2012 and got an overwhelming response. They collected more than Rs. 2000 in the first six hours!

The 0ne Rupee Film Project (Aashmani Jawaharat aka Diamonds in the Sky) which saw its roots being set in Feb 2012 is in its last leg of the long journey. What began as a dream has taken shape over the past 14 months and the team of the enthusiastic duo Anamitra Roy and Sriparna Dey have been able to complete nearly 75% of the film on a tight budget. The team needed Rs. 2,50,000 in total and is still short of the target by a lakh and is reaching out to all movie and indie film supporters to pitch in and make this dream a reality.

The project has raised most of its funding through offline supporters. It has also raised some amount on online crowdfunding platforms and is currently raising funds for the last crucial leg of its journey on Funduzz.com, which is an upcoming crowdfunding platform of India. “Crowdfunding is trying to bridge the funding gap which has always been felt in the country for creative and innovative people. Funduzz.com is enabling ideas to turn into realities by partnering with such creative minds and engaging the crowd to support their ideas”, says Monash Sarkar, Co-founder of Funduzz.com.

The story of this director duo is one that inspires every budding film-maker to go out and realize their dreams of making an indie film. They are inspirations for all those who dare to dream and live by their own rules. Funding which has always been a hurdle for the Indie Film makers is seeing light at the end of the tunnel because of some Crowdfunding platforms like Funduzz.com. They are amongst the pioneers in micro budget independent film making in India and also pioneers in crowdfunding for it. Talking to them one can get a better sense about the passion and devotion one needs to show while raising funds from the Crowd.

“Raising funds for your independent movie through crowdfunding is the best way because you get to connect with your audience and know their response and feedback. There is a better connect as when they support your idea and become your Patron, they show the acceptance of your creativity”, says Monash. Hence public opinion and audience approval is known to you even before the release of your movie. Also as you may give out CDs of your movie as one of the rewards for your Patrons, which means that you don’t have to find an audience after the release as you already have a ready audience who believe in your vision and have promised to support you and stand by you! They support you for your idea but do not impose their thoughts on your creativity, unlike traditional producers.

“An indie lives and dies with his ideas unlike a merchant filmmaker working on some project. Interpreting the limitations he always finds a way to express himself. The crowd is the community where he belongs. The more he interacts the wiser he becomes. If this interactions bear fruits like building up a self-consuming system there’s nothing like it. Only self-consumption can save a movement and if you are really serious that should be the approach”, says Anamitra.

To show your support for The One Rupee Film Project, visit his campaign page on www.funduzz.com and contribute with an open heart to help the Real Indie film makers grow in India.