The film will not have a producer in the conventional meaning of the term but will be produced by the contributions of like-minded people online.
As its very title suggests, the forthcoming Malayalam movie Oraalppokkam towers over other films of its time by virtue of its very innovative funding pattern, which is pretty much new to the film industry here.
The film set to hit the floor next Tuesday claims to be the first online crowd-funded Malayalam movie. To put it simply, the film will not have a producer in the conventional meaning of the term but will be produced by the contributions of like-minded people online.
The cast including actor-producer Prakash Bare, writer Meena Kandasamy, young Bengali director Bikramajit Gupta and theatre and film artiste Krishnan Balakrishnan are all associating with the project without taking any remuneration.
Like the crowd-funders they will also make their earnings from the proceedings realised through the screening of the movie.
The film is being made by Kazhcha Film Forum, a film society launched by a group of youngsters including the director of the movie Sanalkumar Sasidharan, in association with Springr, a crowd-funding platform and community-building tool for creative projects and ideas.
Mr. Sasidharan, who has to his credit critically acclaimed and award-winning short films 'The Wonder World', 'Parole', and 'Frog', said that from the very outset he wanted to take an alternative production line.
“In fact, I didn’t approach any producer since this film is not being made with an eye on profit. I always wanted to make it under the banner of Kazhcha Film Forum with the support of like-minded people.
When I approached Prakash Bare and Meena they were also receptive of the idea and I was convinced that I made the right decision. After three-four years, we plan to copyleft the movie in the spirit of the philosophy that a work of art should be an asset of the public,” he said.
Abhinav Sree, founder CEO of Springr, said that while the concept of crowd-funding may be new to Kerala, it has been in vogue for quite sometime in the U.S. and even in parts of the country like Mumbai and Bangalore.
“The concept is about leveraging the support of like-minded people to ensure that creativity is not compromised for commercial considerations,” he said.
Those willing to contribute to the making of the film can log on to www.Springr.me. The funding pattern is quite unique. For instance, those investing in excess of Rs. 25,000 will be granted the Internet rights of the movie.
“They will be given a URL using which they can screen the movie any number of times for Rs. 100 per screening of which the investor will be eligible for Rs. 50,” Mr. Abhinav said.
The film to be made on a budget of Rs. 30 lakh already has mobilised 10 per cent of that while the rest will be raised through crowd-funding.
Mr. Bare said that though it may sound too little, it is the kind of money that goes into the actual making of a conventional movie with the rest of the funds going towards other expenses predominantly the fee of stars. He was excited to be part of a film, which besides its novel funding pattern, has a strong content to stand on. “Such initiatives are necessary to redeem the lost glory of the Malayalam film industry. Rather than waiting for the change it was better to be that change,” he said.
Ms. Kandasamy who will make her acting debut was also excited about the film, which she said was able to break the shackles of formulaic filmmaking thanks to its unique funding. “The problem with formulas is that you cannot convey a new idea to the audience within its limited confines,” she said while describing her role as a very progressive one.
Asked about casting Ms. Kandasamy, Mr. Sasidharan said that the complex nature of the character demanded someone who could identify with it.
The film will be shot in Uttarakhand, Kerala, and Delhi with a travel through India being a major part of it. It is expected to be released after four months and there will be an online release parallel to the theatre release.