Many years ago, I worked at a film festival in New York. That’s where I met Payal Sethi, fresh from her time working with Mira Nair and who then went on to be a key part of the Tribeca Film Festival, and Pooja Kohli, who previously helmed the IFP Market. They both went on to launch a company to market independent South Asian cinema called Film Karavan. Grant St. Shaving Co., shot in New York, was their first short film, released in 2010. It went on to win a few international awards, including Best Film Over 5 Minutes at The Smalls in London – and I was lucky enough to be the one picking up the award for Payal as she couldn’t be here at the time.
Yesterday, Payal and Pooja launched a crowdfunding campaign for their new film, Leeches. Here’s a bit from Payal on the film:
“Leeches is the story of 16-year old Raisa in Hyderabad who searches for a forgotten old wives remedy that will make her a virgin again, so she can take the place of her younger sister in a contract marriage to an old Sheikh. It is based on my visits to Shaheen, an NGO in the slums of Hyderabad’s old city, who work to empower women who are victims of the archaic practice of contract marriage.”
I’ve contributed of course. There’s a twist in the tale that Payal promises will make everyone sit up, so it promises to be not only informative but crucially for any good film, interesting. You can read more about the film on the site, follow the project on Facebook and Twitter, and if you’d like to be a part of it, then you know what to do, it will be much appreciated! The crowdfunding site Wishberry, like Kickstarter, operates on an all-or-nothing basis, so fingers crossed they hit their funding goal.