It’s tough writing this. We’ve got extensive coverage in the media saying we are making a film on a subject that needs to be discussed and that this is a story that needs to be told. Local media has felt ‘proud’ that a local girl is taking up such a bold concept to make her debut feature film. Our fund raising trailer has received nearly two lakh views. Our trailer premiered at the Rolling Frames Film Summit to much applause and interest. And yet, here we are, wondering how we will manage to finish our film and send it to those avenues where its voice will be heard, and we can manage to start a discussion somewhere.
Taking on an LGBT themed film, I always knew it would be a daunting journey. But like most tough journeys, I met some fantastic people along the way who became my cast and crew, and my family. We have all given our blood and sweat to get this far. The commitment each of them has shown to make what started as my dream, but became our collective dream a reality is phenomenal. Somewhere, it made me believe that there are people who want to join together and have a voice, there are people who want to stand up and make themselves count. That the LGBT community is not alone. That our society might just be ready to show more solidarity. That voices will join together and make noise. That I will certainly find help to finish my film that deals with a tragedy lesbians face all over the world, yet nobody talks about. Now, I’m at the verge of my belief being completely shattered.
Making a film happen is not easy. If the film has to make noise, it has to get showcased alongside other general films people are making all over the world, and yet be able to hold its own. Unfortunately, it costs money. Money that we don’t have. Money that we thought the universe will conspire to give us, because this is noise that has to be made. Yet, here we are, having failed one full round of fundraising campaign and three fourths the way through the second, with exactly one individual having contributed 500 bucks!
Satyavati is something all of us are so proud of. It has turned out a film that we will always look back and think, ‘man, did we do that?’! Many lives and many careers will change direction for the better if and when it finishes and comes out. Most importantly, it will be a film on a tragedy that is very real and will make its mark in making people aware on how sad the reality is that a lot of lesbians face the world over. Nobody has even dealt with this subject in Indian cinema yet. I still desperately want to believe the universe will help make this film happen. I want to believe that this isn’t a journey we have to abandon after having come this far and this well.
Let us just talk a few numbers. As I write this, I have 1.85 lakh views on the fund raiser. If 1% (i.e., just ONE in HUNDRED) of those individuals had chosen to share about our project, it would have resulted in 1800 shares. If each of those individuals had five friends who looked at our project page, we are talking 9000 individuals. If half of those individuals contributed as little as 250 bucks (the price of a movie ticket!), we could have had the 11 Lakhs required to complete our film and send it to various film festivals. Just read this paragraph again. These are not really such big numbers, are they? Indie films are heavily dependent on getting help from people like you, who care enough to read these blogs. If not you, then who? If not now, then when? If not a little, bare minimum that wouldn’t even dent your pocket, then how much help is realistic to hope for?
We have had quite a lot of films in even mainstream commercial film industries that deals with the subject of homosexuality that have done well. But only few of them have explored much other than the discrimination sexual minorities face. Corrective rape is REALITY, and I can’t stress that enough. Nobody is talking about it. Even victims who have spoken to me are simply too afraid and have point blank refused to let me use their stories anonymously (to help spread awareness). It is REALLY SAD that homosexuals are subjected to such girona and atrocious acts by individuals who know nothing about sexuality and are just looking to rub their own beliefs on others. Taking law into ones’ hands is one thing. Trying to change the identity of another individual is quite another, and far far worse. And, tragically enough, this subject hasn’t even been touched upon in Indian cinema. This is a subject that needs a discussion. A film can go quite a distance in getting people to talk. Satyavati certainly deserves better, or so I thought. She is larger than all of us. She might have been a character born in my head, but I can’t stress enough how much her story needs to be told. It feels awful to be in my state right now, having all of the great footage, edited it but being helplessly stuck from giving the final finishing touches and ensuring the film reaches its audience just because I have been unable to find just two thousand individuals who don’t mind giving up the cost of two cinema tickets. That, after my fund raising video having received nearly two lakh views … not even 1% of those many people have wished to join hands with us. Now, you tell me if I should still believe. You tell me if the world really cares.
Satyavati’s funding campaign is live on Ketto at this link.
Image Credit: 2 TOP on flickr