Opening Doors for Independent Filmmakers

Opening Doors for Independent Filmmakers

Rajan Singh29 Sep 2011

Open Door's main aim is to bridge the gap between makers of high concept-driven controlled budget independent films and the film distribution networks. ODFL is implementing innovative marketing, media and distribution strategies to reach its target audience and exploit the revenue opportunities to its maximum.

Vinay Pathak - Ria Sen in Tere Mere Phere produced by Open Door FilmsVinay Pathak and Riya Sen in Tere Mere Phere
Deepa Sahi, Anish Mehta, Subur Khan, Ketan Mehta and Anup Jalota at Tere Mere Phere Hindi movie music launchDeepa Sahi, Anish Mehta, Subur Khan, Ketan Mehta and Anup Jalota at Tere Mere Phere music launch
Subur Khan and Vinay Pathak at Tere Mere Phere Hindi movie music launchSubur Khan and Vinay Pathak at Tere Mere Phere music launch

Film Industry statistics at a glance:

  • Close to 1000 films are produced in India, every year, in various languages.
  • Almost 200 Hindi films are made every year
  • Apart from 200 films, another 100 films don't get released or suffer due to poor marketing & distribution
  • From the films released over the last 3 years, about 100 films have not been released on Home Video or shown on Satellite channels.

Movie makers with a vision find it very difficult ensuring that their movies hit the marquee these days. Simply because of the bigger films taking the large chunk of the pie, independent films find it very difficult to get takers. Keeping this in mind, Open Door Films Limited (ODFL) – a film distribution company dedicated to high quality, low cost independent films, promoted by Anup Jalota, Ketan Mehta, Deepa Sahi and Subur Khan has come into being. ODFL aims to, bridge the gap between makers of high quality, concept driven and controlled budget independent films and the film distribution networks. The distributors are confident of their content, and thus releasing along with several other films doesn't deter them.

We caught up with Subur Khan, promoter, Open Door Films and asked him about the motivation to start Open Door Films and more.

Subur, what are your thoughts about the Indian film industry at this moment?

A new generation of film makers is starting to take centre stage in the Indian Film industry. They are boldly surging ahead reaching out to newer audiences. However the rise of these bold, independent film makers has not been supported with a desired structural change in the business side of cinema.

What are the challenges faced by independent filmmakers?

These independent films made with passion and commitment, fail to reach their target audience due to the absence of a streamlined and transparent marketing and distribution platform designed for and dedicated to such films. This we believe is the biggest bottleneck in the value chain. Even the larger corporates who do acquire or co-produce these smaller independent films are not able to give these films, the focused attention they need.

What's the inspiration behind starting Open Door Films?

We believe, a paradigm shift is waiting to happen in the Indian film industry and a large part of it is going to be driven by new age independent filmmakers and their creative output. We believe such independent films need innovative marketing and distribution strategies to stand out in an otherwise cluttered environment, dominated by big budget films with stars and large corporate house with financial muscle. This is where Open Door Films Ltd steps in and changes the industry dynamics!

Please tell us more about Open Door Films.

Open Door Films Ltd (ODFL) is India's first wholly integrated marketing and distribution platform for the independent films. The primary objective of the company is to provide an efficient, viable, transparent, alternative, global marketing and distribution for high quality Indian independent films. There is a validation of this business model, even demonstrated in Hollywood. We are going to be the first such platform for Indian film industry.

Worldwide, the independent films drive innovation in cinema, explore new forms and genres and discover new talent. The independent films have the ability to move audiences, bring about systematic changes in society and create awareness about the relevant issues of the time. It is the passion of the independent filmmaker that ensures that cinema continues to evolve to narrate stories that matter, to present a reflection of the society at large, while entertaining audiences.

Businesswise, what are your plans for Open Door Films in the next few years?

In its first three years of operations, ODFL is looking at releasing 25-30 films with an initial capital outlay of approximately $ 5 million (Rs. 30cr). Projects will be selected through a streamlined process of evaluation, consisting of a panel of eminent filmmakers and media, marketing & distribution specialists. We have exciting plans for the future and will make announcements shortly.

How will Open Door Films help independent films in tapping the market?

ODFL will implement innovative marketing, media and distribution strategies to reach its target audience and exploit the revenue opportunities to its maximum possibilities. ODFL shall allot a budget for the films Prints, Publicity and Marketing. The amount of investment would vary from film to film.

What kind of feedback have you received from the industry?

Independent film makers such as Sudhir Mishra, Rahul Dholakia, Onir, Rajan Khosa and Kaizad Gustaad have already voiced their support for this venture. The first release by ODFL will be the Deepa Sahi helmed marriage romcom, Tere Mere Phere, that takes Indian film aficionados on a rollercoaster ride of the Himalayas. We are looking forward to that.

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