A talk earlier this morning revealed how this film came to be made and impressively it has already been snapped up by Amazon…
WE OFTEN hear about India-UK collaborations when it comes to filmmaking but few people know how to go about it or where to get help – either in India or in the UK.
Without a formal production treaty between the two countries, it is hard – but not impossible to make an Indian film with a mixture of finance, talent and production assistance from the UK – as the audience at this morning’s London Indian Film Festival (LIFF) Guru Lounge got to discover.
LIFF brought together several people behind a new film called ‘The Hungry’ which is a UK-India production.
While most of the acting talent is Indian and it was shot in India on location, much of the business infrastructure behind ‘The Hungry’ is British.
At today’s panel were Adrian Wootton, CEO of Film London, Deborah Sathe, from Cinestaan (producers of ‘The Hungry’) and actor Antonio Aakeel, who is in the film, which also features Naseeruddin Shah (pictured above).
‘The Hungry’ is a remake of Shakespeare’s ‘Titus Andronicus’, but set in contemporary Delhi. It also stars Tisca Chopra (‘Qissa‘ 2013).
The film has already been sold to Amazon which has the global streaming rights (video on demand). Sathe said the film will do the festival circuit first and then Cinestaan will look for a theatrical release through its own sales arms and partners.
She said she was sometimes frustrated with British novice filmmakers who only looked to the UK to finance their projects.
“You can look internationally and for two or three partners,” she urged.
The audience were shown a rough cut of one of the pivotal scenes from the film – it was very gory and all three stressed that the film was violent and deals with tough subject matter.
“It’s not comedy,” Sathe quipped.
Wotton explained that while there were other solid potential projects that could have led to similar collaborations, this stood out because it was in no way ‘Bollywood light’.
“If we had done that, it would have been so what? This is not for the Indian market,” he stressed.
All the panel agreed that international interest will increase once India has a TV series with wide appeal on an international platform.
“It will happen in the next few years,” said Wootton.
“When India has its ‘Orange is the new Black’,” indicated Sathe – that would be a turning point and when the world beyond the diaspora notices Indian productions, film or TV.
Wotton explained how ‘The Hungry‘ came to be made as Film London and the British Council celebrated 400 years of Shakespeare last year and were able to put some funds into a film.
They brought Indian filmmakers over to the UK to talk to potential production partners – there was a matching and pitching process with the best securing the funds and then seeking more through other sources, with UK tax breaks for investors and getting UK production input.
Sathe compared it to an arranged marriage set up with UK production expertise and money being matched to Indian filmmakers.
“Some of those relationships ended in divorce,” she joked.
‘The Hungry’ represents the successful outcome of the collaboration between Film London, Cinestaan and writer/director Bornila Chatterjee.
The London Indian Film Festival (LIFF) continues until tomorrow check http://londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk/