g The Film Panel Notetaker: IndiePix and Indian Cinematic Arts launch ‘Indie India’

Monday, August 13, 2007

IndiePix and Indian Cinematic Arts launch ‘Indie India’

Gauri Sathe and Shreekant Pol, my friends, mentors, and Indian cinema gurus whom I met during my days at Metropolitan College of New York’s Media Management program, are now collaborating with Indiepix to bring their Indie India Collection direct to viewers via DVD and Download-to-Own technology. As karma would have it, I had the great fortune to work with Gauri and Shreekant a few years back on their not-for-profit organization Indian Cinematic Arts, promoting its events including Bollywood Dreams, an exhibit of photographs on Indian cinema from photographer Jonathan Torgovnik, and a screening of Fullbright scholar Ambika Samarthya’s short film Room for One. I’m very happy to see Indian Cinematic Arts flourish through its new Indie India venture with Indiepix. Below is the press release of their announcement.

File photo. Circa 2004. Gauri and I at Tribeca Film Festival.

IndiePix.net and Indian Cinematic Arts launch ‘Indie India’

Indie India caters to worldwide cinema audiences desiring a taste of Indian cinema that goes beyond ‘Bollywood’

On August 15, India's 60th Independence Day, IndiePix.net and Indian Cinematic Arts will collaboratively launch ‘Indie India’, a collection of films bringing genuine Indian independent cinema to a global audience. “When people think of Indian cinema, Bollywood is the first thing that comes to mind, but there is so much more to Indian cinema than just that,” says Gauri Sathe, curator of the collection, “It just so happens that Bollywood films are the only films that make it to the American market. If made available, audiences would like to see alternative cinema from India as well.” Indie India will do just that by making available these films that don’t play at local theaters. Indie India provides a collection of such films via DVD or download-to-own technology.

At launch, Indie India will carry The Blue Umbrella, which was released in India on August 10 and received much critical acclaim. Other films in the collection will include hard hitting documentaries, independent features, and hard to find shorts. Topics range from children born in brothels to Buddhist nuns in Ladhak, from homosexuality to women empowerment. There will also be a rare collection of films from India’s neighboring countries including Pakistan and Nepal. Another collection of films made by Indians living outside of India will provide a different perspective. Not leaving Bollywood out of the mix, the curators have chosen representative films from Bollywood for those who enjoy a flick every now and then and for those who need to understand why they are so hugely popular.

Depending on who you ask, the term ‘Bollywood’ itself is a loosely used generic term to mean either just Hindi films or all cinema from India. Either way, it is a misnomer that has done great injustice to Indian cinema, because in reality Indian cinema has much more to offer. For instance Indian cinema has a rich tradition of independent and regional cinema and makes films in 20 odd languages. But distributors tend to focus only on blockbuster Hindi films. Yes, in recent times independent cinema from India is being appreciated in the U.S., but is still mostly limited to festival circuits. Indie India wants to take meaningful cinema from India to the next level of penetration – right to the homes of cinema lovers.

In that sense Indie India will appeal to expatriate Indian population as well as to Americans who would like to sample more than the limited Bollywood portion of Indian cinema, available on the U.S. market. The collection also offers independent Indian Cinema to those who are veteran supporters of indie films and have been looking for a more extensive global representation.
India Collection hopes to grow over the next few months, bringing in more regional and indie films in the lesser known languages of India. This is in keeping with the mission of IndiePix to promote global independent cinema. The next step in that direction is an online Indian Independent film festival in March of next year. This will provide a much needed platform for independent filmmakers from India to display their work and open forum of networking for the audience to discuss and debate social, political, environmental and other issues close to their hearts.
Visit www.indie-india.net for more info.


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