Excerpts from the interview
Being an independent filmmaker in India
An Independent filmmaker in India is the one who isn’t dependent on any industry to get funds to make the film; this is extremely difficult. A lot of indie filmmakers take money from their family and that’s not the right way to fund films at all. When it comes to visibility, I think NFDC Film Bazaar is a great platform where one can show their projects to world sales agents, film programmers, etc. The basic infrastructure is set, but things can get much better.
You become an independent filmmaker because there’s no other choice. There are very few filmmakers like Ashim Ahluwalia who have actively chosen not to be part of the industry. Look at JAR Pictures – they’re making independent movies, but the owners of JAR are still two of the biggest executive producers in Bollywood. I think it’s good for a filmmaker to decide to not stick to the needs of an audience who are only used to watching Bollywood.
Learning technical jargons of filmmaking
Filmmaking cannot be taken too casually. If you decide to become a filmmaker you must learn what the job requires and that means you’ll have to familiarise yourself with the jargons of filmmaking. You can’t just say I have a camera or a mobile phone and I am going to make a film and then expect to be on the same platform as another filmmaker who might have worked 10 years in the industry or has other technical skills and then put up a project – those two levels are not comparable at all. I understand that there is a lot of passion to make a film, but please educate yourselves a little more about the risks and requirements of filmmaking. It’s a very serious profession.
Importance of marketing and networking
Filmmaking is a collaborative process and the more you involve people in your idea and vision, it will help you when the film is ready. Meeting and greeting is very important if you envision that your film will release internationally. I am not sure why networking is seen as such a bad word; it happens in every business. It’s not about knowing the right people, but communication. Now, if that happens over a relaxed atmosphere then that doesn’t make it any less important than a meeting in a board room. I think a lot of what you see is serious business but in an environment that is conducive for the film festival. One of the greatest challenges that an independent filmmaker faces is that there is no trade magazines for indie cinema in India. The sad part is that first they have to finish the film and then they send a DVD and expect magic to happen. We need more trade information like Dear Cinema to help build the anticipation value. The marketing and networking also helps in finding a producer in foreign countries.