Friday, August 26, 2011

The distribution initiative

The basic idea is for those familiar with my earlier work to turn into mini-distributors for my upcoming films. You could make a commitment to distribute 10 or more copies within your own social network! You could ask your universities, libraries, colleges and organisations to buy copies at institutional rates. In any case, you could simply help spread the word.

For us documentary film-makers, the struggle is unending. First - we struggle for resources and funding to somehow make the films, en route we deal with all sorts of problems - those who prevent us from filming or attack our crews or those who create troubles of assorted kinds. Then, there is the Indian Censor board. Followed by extralegal censors - political groups, goons and fundamentalists - who prevent screenings, disrupt them or threaten venue-owners and organisers.

And finally, there is the censorship of the market - no theatrical release for documentaries, no mainstream DVD distribution and no Indian TV channels interested in showing hard-hitting political films! (Even if some channels show 'documentaries'), they pay a pittance, hardly enough even to cover even a month of expenses and salaries!)

In earlier years, I've simply carried DVDs to screenings, urging the audiences to buy copies, spread the work and lend their support. Or sent out thousands of mailers, uploaded my work on all sorts of servers and sites and launch periodic, focussed campaigns. This time, I want to explore the power of our own networking to distribute as many copies as possible. The core idea behind censorship - whether by the State or by the market or by extralegal censors - is to bury the work, prevent it from circulating. I'd like to take that on with all your help and advice.

None of the new films will be ready before mid 2012. I'll be posting excerpts and trailers online to create and sustain an interest. When released, the DVDs (within India only) are likely to priced between Rs 300 and 500 for individuals and Rs 1000-1500 for institutions. These will be priced higher for Europe/USA, exact figures to be determined only post-completion.

A barely-hidden agenda is to also have an option to raise funds in case I run out of money to edit/complete the ongoing work. If and when that happens, I'll appeal to members here to book advance orders for the film (ie, pre-sell DVDs prior to completion; DVDs to be delivered post-release). The money raised through advance orders would go towards final editing/ mastering, DVD authoring, bulk replication and distribution-related expenses.

Those who'd like to be involved, please email


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