'In a low-budget film, script is the hero'

'In a low-budget film, script is the hero'

Movie producers are not merely financial agents. They are “involved” with the film right from the scripting stage. They are a guide and at times emotional support for the director as well. Onir, the producer of critically-acclaimed films like My Brother...Nikhil and Chauranga says that in big budget films role of a producer maybe to just finance, but independent films require much more.

“A producer has to do multitasking, they are actively involved with scripting, casting, location and also funding,” Onir tells Metrolife.

Chauranga, for instance was crowdfunded. Sanjay Suri (co-producer) and Onir both took the platform of Wishberry to secure funds for the film. These kind of projects are promoted through social media. Once a campaign goes live on Wishberry, the project creator has to reach their target amount within 60 days. If they fail, the collected money is refunded back to the funders making it an “all-or-nothing” platform.

Chauranga project was part of Screenwriters’ Lab at Locarno Film Festival and Script Station at Berlin Talent Campus. It won Incredible India Award for the best project at the co-production of NFDC (National Films Development Council), Film Bazaar, Goa 2011 and also received Script and Project Development Funding from Goteborg International Film Festival, Sweden. It was also invited for Paris Project, the co-production market of Paris International Film Festival 2012,” says Onir.

Hence, Onir’s experience as a producer has been starkly different. He supported a rough script of Chauranga and was able to decide that it has potential. His other films like I Am are under his production company, Anitclock Films but most of them are crowdfunded.

“For a low-budget film, “how to be economic” is the foremost concern. Going by the director’s visualisation, a producer needs to know how to divide the finances. How does one balance economics and artistic vision without affecting the look of the film?” he asks.

He explains that during casting, he looks for actors who would not work only for money but purely because of the script. Also, sometimes actors are selected from amongst the crew or people whom they know. “We use our relationship with the cast and crew we’ve worked with,” discloses Onir.

According to him the director-producer equation is different based on the budget of the film. “The budget is a burden. In a big budget film, hero is the script. In a low-budget film, script is the hero. A formula film easily gets producers, but for independent film makers it is difficult,” he exclaims.

The director-producer relationship is also questioned during shoots, when many a times producers, the so-called financers are said to intervene with the visualisation of the director. “Being a director myself, I am well aware that a director needs his space. As a producer you cannot impose your vision, you can only suggest and then it completely depends on the director. No producer can love a film as much as a director can.”

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