The 91st Academy Awards are months away, but the saddest fact is that only six movies were declared eligible to contend for Best Picture from India. It's really astonishing that a country which makes around 1,800 movies a year, which is almost half of the total movies made around the world, fails so miserably in the Oscar race. So far, a few movies -- Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi and Gandhi -- have resulted in Indians winning Oscars. But that too were conceptualised, produced and directed by Non-Indians.
Hollywood director Sohan Roy, who has founded Aries group and Indywood, decodes the mystery surrounding why Indian films find it difficult to qualify in Oscar race. The Dam 999 director says that documentation is more important for the Oscar process and the lack of this knowledge is the main reason.
Indian films can get nods in 26 category of Oscars
Sohan Roy says, "Best Foreign Language Film is the only category for foreign filmmakers. The entry for this is just one per country and is recommended by the film federation/apex body of the country. But under the mainstream category of Oscar, any filmmaker can send their entries. There are around 26 category competitions under this including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress."
Sohan Roy adds, "For the contention, the movie should primarily go through a series of qualification criteria including Los Angeles screening for seven consecutive days and if it is not in English language, it should have English subtitles."
Campaigning is import to win Oscars
"An Oscar campaign is said to cost approximately $3 million to $10 million which includes mass PR campaign and publicity generation through adverts, holding lobbying parties in LA, New York and the film's parent country, sending out screeners to Oscar jury members, special review reports / critic reviews in famous film journals and publications etc," says Sohan Roy.
"While Hollywood movies are funded by big studios who undertake the above mentioned tasks for their respective movies publicity campaign for them, for an Indian movie to cough up such a large amount is extremely difficult," adds the Indywood founder, who has started All Lights Film Services (ALFS) to provide solutions for Indian filmmakers.
Indywood's All Lights Film Services
The ALFS has a full-fledged team, industry affiliations to screen the movies in LA and carry out other necessary documentation. It has been successful in helping some movies to enter the Oscar race and Ballad of Rustom, Kamasutra 3D, Pulimurugan, DAM 999 and Color of Sky are among the list.
Besides conducting rigorous campaigns to help movies get into the very prestigious 'Oscar Race', we also help Indian filmmakers to take their movies to film festivals, film markets and film awards around this world. Thus we make sure that such movies don't go unnoticed at any film circuits.
Sohan Roy says, "Most the film makers and crews failing here as the documentation part is more important. Hence our team is providing all the necessary assistance to them for a smooth race."
Dear Molly (English film directed by Gajendra Ahire), Sound Story (directed by Prasad Prabhakar), Kayamkulam Kochunni (directed by Rosshan Andrews) are some of the Indian movies for that ALFS team helped to enter the Oscar race this year.