Chennai: Gone are the days when filmmakers would hunt for producers to put up capital for their projects. With burgeoning support from the Internet, sourcing for funds has become, if not easier, better. Filmmakers can now collect the capital through multiple platforms. One platform that is fast catching on in popularity is crowd-funding.
When Lucia, a psychological thriller in Kannada, won the Best Film Audience Choice award at the London Indian Film Festival, it became the first crowd-funded movie from the sub-continent to reach such heights of success. Lucia created a space for independent filmmakers to look for options other than a single producer.
Inspired by the success of Lucia, Chennai-based filmmaker Lokesh is currently working on his first Hindi feature film, My Son is Gay, India’s first crowd-funded LGBT movie. The film deals with a situation where a mother has to come to terms with the fact that her son is gay. With 25 per cent of the film over, Lokesh and his crew are waiting for the rest of the capital to be crowd funded.
“Producers want immediate profits, and when we are looking at an international audience with a topic that is still controversial here in India, it is tough to find such a producer,” says Lokesh.
He also adds that crowd funding is the safest platform to source money for a film. “If we had opened a bank account and asked people to donate money, we would have been paying 40 per cent as tax. So we decided to get help from Bengaluru-based website fundmydream.in which crowd-funds small projects like ours and also takes care of the legal issues.”
The ‘beauty’ of crowd funding, Lokesh points out, is that people do not want instant gratification. When they watch the film, they have more than one point to connect with the film.
“People are worried about every penny they pay and my aim is to give something in return that would make them feel that their money was not wasted. I have to answer 1,000 questions every day. Crowd-funding is quite new to India and so is the issue about LGBT. Not only should I answer all the questions regarding the authenticity of crowd-funding, but also about a few people’s homophobic attitudes,” says the young director with a smile.
He foresees a great future for crowd-funded films in India. “There are many who want to make it big, being independent on the global scale without becoming commercial. Our people should be made aware of such platforms. I am very fortunate that I have come across the power of crowd-funding early in my life for it gives me confidence to make more movies in the future.”
My Son is Gay has Mumbai-based filmmaker/actor Nakshatra Bagwe and Anupama Kumar in the lead roles.