first_imgNina Paley blogs obsessively. She blogs about her pet, about food poisoning and about around-the-world travel. She also blogs about her award-winning multicultural independent movie Sita Sings the Blues.Although her film, which juxtaposes the Ramayana with an American breakup, has won prestigious awards including the Gotham Award for Best Film Not Playing at a Theatre Near You and the Best Feature in the Annecy Animation Festival, Paley, like other independent filmmakers, finds it hard to find agents and distributors for a commercial release. “The Indian American cast, the Indian American setting in my movie was very confusing to distributors. They don’t like to risk films like mine,” said Paley.Dramatic television previews, larger-than-life billboards, and glossy posters have become an expensive cliché. Battling both a low print and advertising budget as well as a discouraging response from commercial distributors, Indie filmmakers have realized that the normal Hollywood model doesn’t work for independent films.Indie filmmakers, especially those incorporating international or multicultural themes, are finding innovative methods to promote and distribute their films.Paley’s solution was to use blogging to generate buzz and find a multiculturally savvy audience for her independent animation. So Paley not only blogs to promote her Indian American animated flick, but also to get online support from viewers — whether it is to create an audience for her movie’s latest screening, whether it is for advice or even for online donations.Paley’s website also offers sneak previews and art from her movie to attract desi viewers. “As an independent filmmaker, I have no investors. So I blog. The money I receive is often small, but the experience is beautiful and inspiring,” she said. Nina Paley’s Sita Sings the Blues Recognizing the value of such films, which not only tell important stories but also educate Western audiences, Aroon Shivdasani, president and executive director of New York’s Indo-American Arts Council, has organized film festivals like ‘India Now’ to promote independent films through partnerships with other organizations.“The best route for independent filmmakers is through industry channels. Speaking directly to sales agents, filmmakers can chalk out best routes for their films,” said Shivdasani.For Tariq Tapa, director of indie film Zero Bridge, which is based on the life of a petty criminal in Kashmir, finding a distributor through industry channels has been hard. “There no magic offer that’s going to come to you. You have to be proactive about what kind of path you choose to make the movie seen by maximum number of people.”Proactive is something these independent filmmakers are. By creating websites, podcasts, twitter messages, and groups on social utility websites, they are ushering in a new era of e-marketing.  Deepti Gupta, lead actress in a web-series called Nipple: “I am emailing all my friends, both professional and personal, and using Facebook to create hype.”Unlike A-list films, which are marketed with vigor before release and pulled if they don’t do well in the first week, independent films are publicized through the internet version of word-of-mouth.Tapa himself has links to Facebook, Twitter and Youtube on his movie website to connect with the younger international audience with web savoir-faire.“Non-mainstream is the way of the future. Most filmmakers start with some sort of a combination and that’s the way for truly independent films to be distributed,” said Milton Tabbot, senior director of programming, at the Independent Filmmaker Project, New York.Although fewer films are being distributed because of the economic downturn, independent filmmakers are finding other ways of cultivating audiences, as more people are learning about and becoming interested in independent cinema showcasing the Indian or South Asian perception .“It’s not just niche audience for such films anymore. The audience is definitely growing,” said IAAC’s Shivdasani.Deepti Gupta, lead actress in a web-series called Nipple, has figured out her own ways to promote the indie production — so long as it’s free. “I am emailing all my friends, both professional and personal, and using Facebook to create hype,” she said.  ReenA ShAh: “You can send a blast out to your community, just like I did for Sita Sings the Blues and tons of people showed up for my independent screening in a library.”Shah even uploads one or two clips of her indie films and series on her own website to generate audience interest. Once they become regular viewers, she and her director plan to approach advertisers to generate online revenue.If the audience for indie flicks is growing, so are indie filmmakers. As cameras and digital phones are being used to make films, membership at organizations like the Independent Filmmaker’s Project is also growing, thanks to low-cost resources.The growing competition make it harder for small indie film producers to maintain market presence. Here’s where Video on demand (VoD) and Youtube come to the rescue. Moving away from revenue-generation, indie filmmakers try and get their work seen by the largest possible audience using sites that allow them to host videos.“There is no right way to distribute an independent film,” said Reena Shah, who has acted in more than 15 independent films incorporating desi themes, including Sita Sings the Blues. Well-versed in the wealth of internet resources as advertising tools for her work, Shah has used listservs, website promotions, and Netflix to distribute DVDs and inform potential audiences. To promote multicultural films dealing with the Indian diaspora, Shah has used her contacts with organizations like South Asian Women’s Creative Collective and Salaam, to promote the film to niche audiences.“You can send a blast out to your community, just like I did for Sita and tons of people showed up for my independent screening in a library,” she said.With more websites cropping up for independent video streaming, internet downloading sites, and marketing through blogs, listservs and sites like MySpace, one thing is clear: There will always be a place for indie films — and not just in theatres. Related Itemslast_img

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first_imgThe BJP moved the Calcutta High Court on Monday with a fresh plea, challenging the West Bengal government’s denial of permission to the party’s proposed rath yatra in the State.The State government had held a meeting on the yatra with a three-member BJP team as per the High Court’s direction, following which it informed the party on Saturday that permission could not be granted for the same.Hearing todayRepresenting the BJP, lawyer Saptangshu Basu mentioned the matter before the court of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty and sought permission to file a fresh petition. Justice Chakraborty allowed the BJP to file the petition and asked its lawyer to serve copies of it to the State government and other respondents in the matter. The petition is likely to be taken up for hearing on Tuesday before Justice Chakraborty’s court, Mr. Basu said. The party had proposed to take out three rath yatras in different parts of the State ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. The BJP had moved a Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court after a single-judge Bench of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty refused the permission. The Division Bench had on December 7 directed the State chief secretary, the Home secretary and the Director General of Police to hold a meeting with three representatives of the BJP by December 12, and take a decision on the yatra by December 14. The dates of the meeting and decision-making were later postponed by a day each by the Court.last_img

first_imgThe OMR sheets of the mathematics paper of 108 students who had appeared for their matriculation examination were found missing from a government-run high school in Malkangiri district on Sunday.Complaint lodged The matter came to light after the authorities of SSD High School at Padia lodged a complaint at the Padia police station, police said. The complaint said the optical mark recognition sheets of nearly 108 students have gone missing from the school premises.Probe is on Malkangiri Superintendent of Police Jagmohan Meena said a team led by ASP U.C. Nayak has been sent to the school to conduct a probe. “Investigation is in progress to ascertain the circumstances in which the OMR sheets went missing,” he said. The school authorities have also informed the district administration and the Board of Secondary Education, which conducts the annual matriculation examination in the State, about the incident, said an official. Malkangiri Sub-Collector Rameswar Pradhan and other senior officials have reached the school for the probe.Three suspended The development comes a day after images of the mathematics question paper surfaced on social media on Saturday, prompting the State government to suspend three teachers in Kalahandi district. Earlier, the question papers of Odia, Hindi and English went viral on social media, putting the Board in a tight spot. The matriculation examinations began on February 22 and would conclude on March 8. The BSE had earlier suspended 10 persons, including four examination centre superintendents, for their alleged role in circulating the images of questions on social media.last_img

first_imgA fresh controversy hit Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, which was rocked by the cash seizure scandal last week, after Sathya Sai Baba’s niece Chetana Raju alleged that she was facing a life threat from some trust members. Chetana – the chairperson of Eeswaramma Women’s Welfare Trust in Prasanthi Nilayam – alleged on Monday that she felt threatened from some trust members. She however refused to name the trustees from whom she feared a threat. Chetana had earlier alleged that all was not well within the trust. She said the threat perception was due to the fact that she had sought action against those responsible for not allowing close relatives during the inventory at Yajur Mandir. The Anantapur Police had on Saturday seized Rs 35 lakh from three people. Even as the police claimed that the cash belonged to Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, the latter has been denying it.For more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.last_img

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