Tuesday, May 17, 2016

40 Filmmakers, 25 Countries, 1 Film

The art of filmmaking has never been very simple or straight forward. It takes an ensemble of creative and tech professionals coming together  to make a film successfully . Collabfeature, a group of global filmmakers, is however toying with this complexity and increasing it in multifold.  In 2012, they premiered their first collaborative film, ‘The Owner’, which follows a backpack around the world, intersecting the lives of characters from it’s every region. It ties together 25 interconnected segments, each directed by a different filmmaker. The film screened in theatres and film festivals  worldwide and has received the German IPTV Award for “Most Innovative Platform,” a Guinness World Record as well as extensive media coverage.

 Their second project however is even more ludicrously ambitious. ‘Train Station’ follows a single character, “Person in Brown”, through cities like Tehran, Detroit, Berlin, Athens, New Castle, Chicago, Dubai, Barcelona, Mumbai and over a dozen others across five continents. The main character is played by 40 actors, ranging in age, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Along his/her journey, he/she is presented with choices that trigger different paths, giving us a universal story of fate, decisions and destiny.


One of the many filmmakers on this project is Mumbai-based Surya Balakrishnan, a graduate from the New York Film Academy and a director at Little Lamb films. It started way back in 2011 for Surya and her fellow filmmakers. Together, it took  them almost two years to write the script, film each section, edit individually and then the master edit and not to mention music, sound design, colour grading, etc. Not only did they have to work together without ever meeting each other but every one of the forty also had to agree at each step towards completion. “Its been one crazy ride working virtually. What really helped the process was a beautifully designed website which helped us write and communicate with each other at every point on all areas of work on the film.” says Surya. 
The section directed by her comes in the later half of the film, a couple of parts after his wife cheats on Mr. Brown and is now trying very hard to fix their marriage, which is falling apart. It was shot by cinematographer Saurabh Goswami and has theatre actors Ankur Vikal and Rasika Dugal in the main roles. “It was a conscious decision to choose these lovely actors, also to set it in a space and costumes which culturally stands out when we see the film in entirety. Its wonderful to see one section seamlessly flow into another one inspite of the character, language and space changing.” she says.

Train Station” is set to premier at the Marché du Film (Film Market) at this year’s Cannes film festival.

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