CHENNAI: It was Bollywood that introduced the concept of crowd funding in India, making the audience direct stake holders in movie production. Now it is taking roots in Kollywood. Leena Manimekalai, an independent filmmaker is planning to gather funds for distribution of her movie 'Sengadal' from the public.
In Bollywood, director Onir was the latest to have tried crowd funding to raise 1 crore for his film 'I Am'. There were others before him - Himanshu Roy who used unorthodox methods to raise finance for his films and Shyam Benegal whose movie 'Manthan' was funded by dairy farmers in Gujarat.
Manimekalai took the decision after she found it difficult distributing her movie. "Making a film is just half done and outreach is the most challenging task for independent filmmakers like me," she says. "Sengadal could have been impossible as its content is not dictated by the market. When it came to distribution, I was able to fight the state against a ban, but the market is such a brutal force out here and it doesn't want any independent voice to exist," says Manimekalai.
Even after earning international acclaim, the film was not able to reach the masses.
For gathering funds from the public, these directors consider social networking sites as a good platform. "Social networking is an excellent medium for independent artists like me. My online presence has already given me a database of my audience and I just need to persuade. " says Manimekalai.
It is often the small budget movies that struggle to see the light of the day. "Movies with big stars don't finAd it difficult to find producers, distributors or financiers. But it is not the same case with independent cinema. I prefer doing films that I like, but I do not get funds from the industry. Hence I decided to try out different modules instead of traditional financing," says Onir.
He found likeminded people on social networking sites and requested them to fund his movie 'I Am'. "Three days after I posted my request, people started sending money," he says. But do the audiences get a share of the profit? "Some give it as a donation as they identify with the film's content. Others, who fund more than Rs 1 lakh, get a share from the profits."
Making a film is just half done and outreach is the most challenging task for independent filmmakers like me. Sengadal could have been impossible as its content is not dictated by the market.