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Onir raises funds through Facebook

entertainment Updated: May 08, 2010 16:28 IST
Manali Shah

Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace et al have opened new revenue avenues for its users. Director Onir uses Facebook to raise funds for his upcoming venture I Am that is all set to hit cinemas soon.

You used Facebook to raise funds for your upcoming film, I Am, right?
Yeah, the film is 50 per cent financed by my viewers. I put up a post on Facebook giving details about the film I wanted to make. If anyone believed in it and wanted to make it happen, they were free to contribute to it financially. I Am is probably the first crowd-sourced film in India. Over 400 people are involved. It’s an important experiment in independent filmmaking.

How did the idea come about?
We had wanted to make films on subjects like child sexual abuse and homosexuality for a while now. But it’s a little difficult to get finance for such features. So Sanjay (actor-co-producer Sanjay Suri) came up with the idea of writing four short stories and trying to get finance individually for each and then, linking them together into one feature film.

The idea was to take it to the audience and get them to participate in the making process. So, we were not only getting funds but crew volunteers too. I Am has been shot in four different cities but the characters are inter-dependent and the film as a whole film celebrates the freedom of the human spirit. It’s a story of not just crises but also about people who continue to dream despite their problems and move on.

What changes in society would you like the film to bring about?
I’d like people to talk about taboo subjects instead of sweeping them under the carpet. There’s a lot that is not quite right with the world. And one way to make it better is to discuss things openly. The only voice I have is through my movies and if that can change the way people think, it would be a positive step.

Anurag Kashyap, Nandita Das and Anurag Basu are successful directors. How was it directing them as actors?
They are friends, so the comfort level was great. Also, we connect with and appreciate each other’s work. And all of them have acted at some point. Nandita, in fact, is a seasoned actress. So, it was like directing any other actor.

When is I Am scheduled for release?
Well, the film will be ready in another fortnight and should release in July-August.