Vetri Maaran’s “Visaranai” was India’s official entry for the Academy Awards in 2017, and while the acclaimed Tamil director says Oscar campaign was too expensive for a low budget film like his, he doesn’t believe the government needs to invest in movie promotion for a “private event”.
In 2018, Rima Das, whose National Award-winning Assamese feature “Village Rockstars” was selected as India’s entry for the Oscars, had requested the government to fund her campaign.
Maaran, however, believes for a private event like the Academy Awards, the government is not liable to release the required money.
“Oscars is a private event. It’s not a government event. It is like a very big Filmfare award thing. They have set their own standards, mechanism and they have their own funding. Government not necessarily needs to fund it.
“Government doesn’t choose the film as well. It is a secular body which selects Oscar entry. Now the government has said that it will reimburse. But I submitted my bills in 2016, I think, and we are in 2019… I don’t think it’s the job of government to fund Oscar campaign,” Maaran said during a session at the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
Sharing his experience of promoting his crime thriller at the Oscars, the director said it was an “expensive exercise”.
“You need to sell your film again. It is tough to make them understand the psyche of our society. We had to screen our film at Soho House, which is one of the most expensive venues. It takes somewhere around USD 15000 to book that place for a screening.
“You have to have campaigners and also whisper campaigners, who are officially part of the team but nobody knows about it. They go to the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and convince them to watch the film. It was the most expensive campaign I ever ran for a film,” he said.
Maaran’s latest release is “Asuran”, featuring frequent collaborator Dhanush.
The action drama, based on celebrated Tamil author Poomani’s novel “Vekkai”, has received great reviews.