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How Facebook helps Indian filmamkers

In the era of credit crunch, social networking sites like Facebook and other online communities are fast emerging as tools for independent filmmakers to crowdsource their film projects.

Sanjay Suri-Onir's recently released film 'I Am' is India's largest crowd funded movie with more than 400 producers from over 45 countries. Happy with the success of the 'I Am' experiment, Suri is now crowdsourcing his next film 'Chauranga' again through Facebook. He has already put up some 60 posters of the film and is looking forward to pull in some talent also.

Paris based Indian filmmaker Prashant Nair, who debuts with his film 'Delhi In A Day', also sought help from the French government and online communities to pull in resources for his small budget movie, starring veterans like Lillete Dubey, Victor Banerjee and Kulbhushan Kharbanda.

Prashant is looking forward to perfect this method in his next film 'Amrika', which is again based in Delhi and takes a look at the Indian perception of the country.

An open forum, moderated by Reliance Entertainment CEO Sanjeev Lamba and including panelists like actor-producer Sanjay Suri, director Ketan Mehta, Russian director Vicktor Geinsberg and Nair, discussed various methods of co-production and crowd funding on thee sidelines of Mumbai Film Festival.

Talking about his experience, Suri said that an independent filmmaker looking for crowd funding should be prepared, transparent and should have a distribution plan in place. He also said that since the method involves many like minded people, the filmmaker should be prepared that the whole financing will take time.

Talking about the unique methods of film financing, director Ketan Mehta said filmmaker Himanshu Roy was one of the earliest directors to use unorthodox methods to raise finance for his films and then there was Prabhat studio, which was a producers body made of directors. He also talked about Shyam Benegal's film 'Manthan', which was produced by dairy farmers in Gujarat.

Russian filmmaker Vicktor Geinsberg, who made a film on one of the most loved novels ofRussia in the post-Soviet era 'Generation P', said he initially approached the Russian producers to finance the film but was turned down because the film uses a lot of foul language, a taboo in Russian cinema. He then realised that since the film was about an advertising guy, he could raise money from the products featured in the film.

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