Agents of Change

For their upcoming movie I Am, filmmaker Onir and actor-producer Sanjay Suri tap the resources of social networking sites

Director Onir’s next film I Am holds the potential to change the rules of the game. “It is one of the first film to be crowd-sourced,” he says, talking about his new film that is being funded through social networking sites. Onir and his team has requested users of Facebook and Twitter to be ‘co-owners’ in their venture, in the process evolving a novel model of financing movies.

“I Am is a feature that weaves four stories together. It talks about conflicts and dilemmas of modern India, how people face obstacles and yet rise above these hurdles to realise their dreams,” says Onir. “The story and the subject are paramount, because they provide me with an identity, no matter how small, in the world of cinema,” says Onir. Actor turned producer Sanjay Suri, too, is optimistic, unfazed by the multiplex movie culture.“Dibakar Banerjee’s LSD proves that there is a growing appetite for such cinema,” points out Suri, before elaborating on the four paramount themes that the movie deals with: the displacement of Kashmiri pandits, child abuse, gay rights and a woman’s right to have a child outside marriage.

In town for Action for Green, the 2010 Chandigarh International Children’s Film Festival organised by The Ryan Foundation, Onir and Suri interacted with the students of Ryan International School and felicitated the first three award-winning films on environment made by children as part of a workshop on filmmaking. “It is heartening that such socially aware children are getting exposed to things other than the usual Bollywood fare and cricket,” says Suri. “There is hardly any cinema literacy programme in schools, and such activities help sensitise children while opening windows to other worlds and cultures,” chips in Onir.

Suri is already looking forward to working on a supernatural thriller with Jimmy Sheirgill titled Flat and another called As The River Flows, while Onir is working on three short educational films for children in collaboration with non-governmental organisations. “Children are our future and it’s time to make them aware of their environment,” he signs off.

Winners Best Film:Global Warming by Karan, Pragya and Shivani

First Runner Up:Chandigarh was a Green City by Aksh, Tushar & Shahzeb

Second Runner up:Changing Faces of the City Beautiful by Komal

All children are students of Ryan International School who made these films as part of a 48 Hours Make a Film Contest