#MeToo now singes arthouse film circuit

#MeToo now singes arthouse film circuit

Ere Gowda, emerging star of indie cinema, isn't responding to sexual assault charges; he must, say colleagues.

A woman screenwriter has described her ordeal at the hands of Ere Gowda, director of Kannada film Balekempa and writer of the widely feted film Thithi.

Minutes after the news broke on Wednesday, the Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) dropped Balekempa, which was to be screened at the festival’s grand concluding ceremony.

Zoo Entertainment, makers of Balekempa, said they were withdrawing the film from all film festivals until they had better clarity on the charge. All through Thursday, he responded neither to calls nor to text messages.

Metrolife spoke to filmmakers in the art house circuit to understand the mood.

Kavitha Lankesh, Director: It was the right decision to withdraw the film. The Dharamshala International Film Festival believes in gender equality. In such circumstances action must be taken against the film; unless that happens people will move on as if nothing ever happened. It is only fair that the film be dropped. Only then will women’s voices be heard.

Sheshadri P, Director: There’s no connection between the #Me Too allegation against Ere Gowda and his film Balekempa. Art and personal problems must be kept apart. An allegation should not be allowed to kill cinema.

Suman Kittur, Director: Ere Gowda is a good friend and I feel he should break his silence. It is unfortunate that Balekempa has been pulled out from the prestigious film festival.
It is a big setback for the Kannada film industry because films like this and Thithi have bagged numerous international awards. A film like Balekempa is the effort and hard work of a group with no backing in the film industry: despite the odds, they have managed to make remarkable films. They deserve better.

Security guard to indie cinema hero

Ere Gowda had won wide adulation for scripting Thithi, a film that won the appreciation of Aamir Khan, Irrfan Khan, Anurag Kashyap in Bollywood and Francis Copolla, director of The Godfather, in Hollywood. Hailing from rural Mandya district, he had worked as a security guard before he became one of the new stars of arthouse cinema.