Thiruvananthapuram: K.R. Manoj’s work is appearing before all the 440 screenings at the International Film Festival of Kerala this year. The director is behind the concept of the signature film, which uses the late film archivist and film scholar P.K. Nair’s voice in the background. Three years ago, his own debut feature Kanyaka Talkies had screened in these theatres and Manoj reminisces the struggles he had making it.
“The biggest challenge was achieving the film budget. All my works before that, which includes the first full length HD documentary of India ‘16mm-Memories, Movement and a Machine’, had been made within my friends’ circle. For Kanyaka Talkies, it went out of my circle,” he says. How would he pitch it as a competitive Indian film, he thought. One thing was clear to him, that he couldn’t go to the production houses in the industry circle. “There would be conditions to be satisfied, to suit their interest. And I couldn’t do that.”
That’s how he decided on crowd funding. “Can’t really call it a crowd, it was a more gathering of friends. Friends who were ready to support with patient capital. Which means you will get time to bring return. Unlike the production houses which need immediate return.” There was a lot of help from the film society movement of Kerala too, for which Manoj had actively worked in his younger days. He also needed the support of technicians. The team that worked with him was a bunch of people he knew before. Only the sound design was done by someone new. “We searched for months till we found Rajivan Ayyappan.” Manoj repeats the importance of patient capital. “Because 60 per cent is about production, and 40, about publicity. We need such producers and production teams,” he says.