The Independent Cinema
A film is termed independent typically in Hollywood system, if the people behind the film are non studio individuals. That is films that happen when film making aspirants hunt for rich business men who want to enter the film industry and get them to invest on their idea. This concept is a little tricky to relate to the Tollywood business. But still there exists a strong segment of aspirants bypassing the real producer and making their own movie by pooling few interested people. Films like “Hyderabad Blues”, “Dollar Dreams”, “Grahanam” fall into this category. Very few films of this category make it to the theaters and mange to get noticed. This “getting noticed” is the biggest break that the film maker is looking to achieve with this effort. And for this to happen the conventional route for the struggling filmmaker has been to find and submit the film for festivals, get the media to notice it and then beg the exhibitors to show the movie in their theaters. As you can see how a long shot this could be and for the same reason we hardly notice one film each year that falls into this category.
Of all, do we really need independent cinema? We may not have a direct need for these movies but we certainly have a starving need for these filmmakers. Imagine Nagesh Kuknoor still working as an assistant director narrating stories for a producer or imagine Sekhar Kammula stopping by the Rama Naidu Studios gate daily on his way to an IT job. And the established producers, even if they are accessible are always looking for subjects that fit the formula as the economics is proven to be better with the formulae, unless an otherwise proven director is making the film. For this reason the young aspirants have been desperate for a platform that helps them get noticed and also take their film closer to the audience.
YouTube rentals seems to be part of the answer for now. Though in their beta stages, its already filled with some of Sundance entries ranging from 1.99-2.99 for a 48 hour rental. Since this is available only for US residents, Indian independent cinema is yet to adapt this and until then some other service might fill the vacuum. With a digital camera at disposal for almost anyone, there has never been an easier time to showcase your independent work and get your mileage on it’s worth. Missamma NRI is our maiden venture and is being launched in YouTube in the same lines. For non US residents, we do understand that it is difficult and impractical for people in India to pay $1-$3 to watch a movie online. We are working with various sources to bring this movie in the best way possible for you. Something new always happens and who knows what’s next.