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Is Crowdfunding the Way Forward for Indie Films?

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LUCIA first caught my attention when I had the opportunity to watch its rough uncut edit with the main- programmer of the London Indian Film Festival. Even in that premature state, it was clear this was going to be a milestone for Indian cinema, nothing less than the equivalent of an Indian Trainspotting.

The audience, at its world premiere at the London Indian Film Festival, took it up a notch, comparing it to nothing less than Inception or Limitless. LUCIA's film director Pawan Kumar, seemed to take it all in its stride while relishing its success.

Not just is this a high quality film, but it is also also crowd funded by Indians around the world. "I put up on my blog that I had written a movie script titled LUCIA, and was looking for investors," remarks Pawan. "I gave the audience the option to put in little chunks of money in the project, the idea was to make a good movie which was purely an artist's work and was free of market pressures. I was able to raise 51lakhs (£ 55,584) in just 27 days."

Pawan also runs Home Talkies, an online portal hosting many popular Kannada (movies from the state of Karnataka in India) films. This has helped create an international market for these movies, giving producers a new revenue generating model and opening up a new demographic for filmmakers.

Now that the film is complete, the audience has a chance to buy distribution rights. On pre-ordering you receive a unique link to the online version of the movie. You can share this on your social networking sites and whenever someone clicks through and watches the movie, you earn a percentage.

It's exciting on many levels. A film, crowd sourced, produced and distributed by the will of the audience, and it's real good too. A fast paced--highly commercial--well made, thriller, which belies its lean origins.

Which goes to show that if you have a high quality product, and the might of a well-connected tribe which actually wants to support its own talent (the Kannadigas from around the UK turned out in full force to support the premiere of the film in London) you can indeed make the impossible happen.

Now more than ever it seems the boundaries between creative and commercial, the story teller and his audience, the will to do and actually making it happen is blurring, thanks to technology.

A little bit of luck, being at the right place at the right time, having good partners-- in this case the Edinburugh based Distrify an online viral distribution platform -- helps too.

Of course, to quote Pawan, "in film making- it's those little things that go wrong, which help push creative boundaries" and that only adds to the enjoyment of both the creator and the viewer.

Laxmi Hariharan is a content branding strategist and author of epic fantasy. Find her at LAXMIwrites or @laxmi

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