Crowd-funded film ‘Lucia’ depended on the kindness of strangers
When filmmaker Pawan Kumar wrote an anguished blog post about not having enough money to make a movie, he didnât expect hundreds of strangers to lend him their savings, no questions asked.
The film, a thriller about an insomniac usher in an old theatre, earned 10.6 million rupees (about $170,000) in ticket sales in its first week in cinemas, outperforming its production budget of around 6 million rupees (about $95,000). The filmâs television rights were sold for an additional 10 million rupees.
âAround 10 days after I put up the post, a lady from theÂ UKÂ transferred 200,000 rupees (around $3,200) to my account. Soon, I had around 800,000 to 900,000 rupees in my account. That is when I realized I was on to something,â said the 30-year-old filmmaker.
The backers of the entirely crowd-funded film are going to get their money back, he said.
Shooting on a shoestring wasnât easy, and the filmmaker warned his cast they would not get coffee on the set âsix times a dayâ or chauffeurs to drive them. Strangers also offered their services in other ways, as extras, or by offering their houses or cars for âLuciaâ.
âThe film looks like a 3 crore (30 million) rupee film, but it looks good because we didnât have to pay for a lot of things,â said Kumar.
âLuciaâ was also released by PVR Pictures in some cinemas outside Karnataka, fetching around 800,000 rupees ($13,000) from 13 screens in the first three days.
âThe film is a genuinely good indie, which doesnât always happen. Itâs an out-of-the-box film that can continue on in screens outside Karnataka,â said Shiladitya Bora, who heads PVR Directorâs Rare, the indie arm of the multiplex chain.
Kumar says many movie producers who refused to fund âLuciaâ are now trying to get him to direct their projects.
âItâs tricky. I donât know if I can do a studio film now. I need to sit down and figure it out,â he said.
(Follow Shilpa on Twitter @shilpajay)