We love independent film. Hell, we make independent film here. If there’s one thing we love, it’s giving a platform to up-and-coming filmmakers from all over the world so that their films will get a broader audience. One of these films was the Bollywood production Peter Gaya Kaam Se, which premiered under the title The Goa Run at Raindance in 2014.
However, that film had a harder time than most making it to Raindance. Here’s the story.
John Owen is the first British filmmaker to write and direct a Bollywood film. He completed the feature in 2012 under the banner of UTV Motion Pictures. The film was hotly anticipated. That was before the company was bought by Disney, and the feature got immediately shelved. Naturally, the writer-director appealed to Disney to allow screenings for buyers and distributors (as should be done, in theory). He wasn’t granted access to his own film.
Owen still entered “The Goa Run” for Raindance, where it got accepted. He therefore wrote to Disney, asking them to authorize a screening at the festival. They didn’t budge. They relinquished one private viewing of the film to John Owen’s mother in their London office. (I’ll let you ponder that last sentence again, let it sink in.)
Afterwards, they ceased communication with the filmmaker. That was not counting the awesome powers of his mum. Having none of it, she appeared in a video which was posted on Facebook, during which she openly criticized Disney’s behaviour. The video buzzed a bit and Disney finally authorized one screening at Raindance.
The screening got distributors interested in the film, but Disney did not cooperate, the project was shelved again and, once again, that was the end of that.
Let it go
In June 2015, Owen wanted to show the film to the crew, who still hadn’t seen it. Again, Disney didn’t allow it. So the filmmaker got encouragement from his crew and started a second campaign for the movie to be released from Mickey Mouse’s giant paws.
It features a video with John Owen’s mother again. A lightsaber in her hands, she decided to strike back, and telling Disney to let it go. (See what she did there. The force is strong with this one.)
As most filmmakers, John Owen just wants to give a chance to his film. Given the interest from distributors and the good reviews the film received at Raindance, his plea to Disney is that they new let go of the rights so that the film can be seen, and that they shouldn’t discard this product just because they don’t know how to market it, or because it doesn’t match their family-friendly image. They’re not willing to cooperate (yet), but that’s the whole point of the campaign.
What you can do
If, like us, you support indie film and/or enjoy coming to the Raindance Film Festival and/or just want to support John Owen you can do several things.
- Like the Facebook page and share it
- Write to the indicated people (their email addresses are all over the campaign images) asking them to reconsider their point of view
- Spread the word. That’s what we’ve done now that the campaign is starting again, and you can do it too, as every voice counts.
Will you help John and his mum strike back?