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 didnâ€™t 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 filmâ€™s television rights were sold for an additional 10 million rupees.
â€śAround 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€ť 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 wasnâ€™t easy, and the filmmaker warned his cast they would not get coffee on the set â€śsix times a dayâ€ť or chauffeurs to drive them. Strangers also offered their services in other ways, as extras, or by offering their houses or cars for â€śLuciaâ€ť.
â€śThe film looks like a 3 crore (30 million) rupee film, but it looks good because we didnâ€™t have to pay for a lot of things,â€ť said Kumar.
â€śLuciaâ€ť 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.
â€śThe film is a genuinely good indie, which doesnâ€™t always happen. Itâ€™s an out-of-the-box film that can continue on in screens outside Karnataka,â€ť said Shiladitya Bora, who heads PVR Directorâ€™s Rare, the indie arm of the multiplex chain.
Kumar says many movie producers who refused to fund â€śLuciaâ€ť are now trying to get him to direct their projects.
â€śItâ€™s tricky. I donâ€™t know if I can do a studio film now. I need to sit down and figure it out,â€ť he said.
(Follow Shilpa on Twitter @shilpajay)