Indian independent film making ecosystem needs financial support, infrastructural support and a distribution platform hence the genesis of Humaramovie. Read on to know more about them and their thought process.
Tell us about your life journey in brief? (Pallavi Rohatgi)
We are an eclectic group of people who started Humaramovie. By training, I am a private equity lawyer having practiced in Mumbai, Bangalore and New York. I moved back to India with the idea of making low-budget indie cinema. During the course of our interactions with various large production houses, directors etc., we realized that there is no real platform for young filmmakers to reach out to their audiences unless they were really well connected in the film fraternity. The challenges faced by them were the lack of financial support, infrastructural support and mostly a dedicated platform to showcase their work. This was the genesis of Humaramovie.
What prompted you to start Humaramovie?
Humaramovie.com realizes the importance of content, and the talent that goes behind the creation of such content. Filmmakers and the talent come first at humaramovie.com- and thus this site is specially created for them so that they can interact and showcase their content to the viewers. Also, to ensure that the talent gets its due, humaramovie.com, share revenues in perpetuity with the creative team in a transparent manner.
In addition to the emotional factor for creating Humaramovie, there is a strong business case for it as well. Since we are experiencing a greater broadband penetration in India, 3G and 4G on mobile, and a general trend towards moving to individual, choice based media consumption all these cumulatively suggests that video on demand is set for explosive growth. Lack of accessible content for consumers in the Indian Market was one of the major reasons to start a channel that caters to the need of the audience. Creating specific genre in this space and catering to different needs of different people are few of the reasons why the idea to make content accessible directly from media through a channel such as HumaraMovie came about. Humaramovie.com, with its diverse, large & prolific short form content is poised to be at the forefront of this wave. Presently, Humaramovie is both into the co-production of content, and acquisition of existing content. The core idea was and remains to promote & support short films and provide alternate content to the consumers.
To sum it up, we can safely say that the three essential reasons for HumaraMovie’s existence can largely be – lack of an avenue for talent to showcase their work, availability of a consumer base, large pool of aspiring and talented filmmakers & huge amounts of content available.
Tell us about your team, if you have?
The team at HumaraMovie consists of Pallavi Rohatgi (handles marketing, international sales efforts and legal), Vinay Mishra (handles strategy & alliances for HumaraMovie) and Preety Ali (handles the feature film division)). Apart from the three of us, we have Abhishek Gautam (head of programming and content for Humaramovie) and Pooja Batura (head of Programming and Content for Humara Comedy) and an edit and support team that assists in the execution stages and this is what completes a happy HumaraMovie family. We work with a lot of filmmakers on discreet projects- and that they keep returning to work with us, ensures that the HumaraMovie team is dynamic.
What is your criteria of choosing films/ filmmakers?
The most important criteria in choosing a film is the story. We are open to anyone approaching us to make short films. You don’t have to be an established director/ writer. But you should be passionate about making films and you should have a very good story to tell. We do not want run-of-the-mill stories with typical plot lines. That is why you will see from our content that we have never placed any restrictions of genre on our films. We also give our films-makers full creative reign while they are shooting. There is minimal interference from our end.
What is your dream/ vision?
Short term target: 5 mn monthly visitors by December.
Mid-term: Start making quality episodic content (we already have some- so more of it). Create more genre specific offerings for our customers. Also make a few feature films, showcasing new talent, and hopefully great stories.
Long term- Create a platform for consumers to engage with alternate Indian content
What difficulties you face in running Humaramovie?
Lack of really unique stories. Filmmakers are way too influenced by the traditional Bollywood storytelling space
Lack of bandwidth and it being extremely expensive
HumaraMovie would like to move to other regions apart from Bombay. We believe that there are many talented filmmakers/ storytellers outside the mainstream and we need to democratize and disseminate their endeavors
How can the filmmaking scene be improved in India?
Indian filmmaking needs to get out of its comfort zone. Film makers have gotten very complacent and are happy doing the same things. They need to take risks and push their boundaries. Similarly our atmosphere and infrastructure like studios, distributors, the censor board etc has to be such that it encourages and supports people willing to take that risk. There has been some movement in this direction but there is still a long way to go.
What advice you’d like to give to someone who is interested/newbie in filmmaking?
Anyone interested in filmmaking should first throw out any dreams of glamour. This is hard work. You need to be ready to work day and night. A lot of filmmakers feel that just having a great idea is enough to become a film makers. They should be willing to put in the yards to ensure that the great idea develops into a great film. Newbies are in far too much of a hurry to start directing but don’t have the discipline to work on their stories.
Anything else you’d like to share?
We also do an annual short film competition where we have provided young film makers the chance to interact and learn from stalwarts like Imtiaz Ali, Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, Anand Gandhi, Vikas Bahl, Anurag Basu. Last year we released these short films in Indian theatrically through PVR Director’s Rare under the title of “Shuruaat Ka Interval”. Shuruaat has been listed as the 5th highest rated movies of 2014 as per IMDB. We will be launching this year’s edition soon so keep watching us to know more.
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