James Cameron Offers 3D Expertise to India
Avatar director also tells INK conference, “Hollywood has not served science well.”
NEW DELHI -- James Cameron is ready to open his 3D treasure box, offering the special technology and cameras developed for Avatar to any Indian director interested in making a film, perhaps an Indian epic like the Ramayana or the Mahabharata.
Dressed in a dapper blue suit, the Avatar director was addressing the opening day of the INK (Innovation and Knowledge) Conference Friday being held in Lavasa, a major new township coming up a couple hours drive from Mumbai.
The inaugural INK is organized with the support of the TED (Technology Entertainment Design) India conference that took place last year in Bangalore, which featured a stellar lineup of speakers such as director Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth) and others from various fields. Billed as an “intellectual Mardi Gras” focusing on the theme “Untold Stories," INK concludes Sunday with the event being streamed live online featuring a major line-up of speakers including The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, new age author Deepak Chopra and Bollywood director Raju Hirani.
When asked if there was anything that would convince the Oscar-winning director to make a film in India, Cameron joked, “Maybe after the third Avatar,” (since he is in the middle of scripting Avatar 2 and 3), adding, “But if there is an Indian director who'd like to make a film - it could be about the Ramayana or the Mahabharata -- we can offer the technology we've already developed, the 3D system and the digital 3D Fusion Camera (which Cameron co-developed).”
Cameron also said he found India “fascinating now that I've been here a couple of times.” Cameron previously visited India in March this year, addressing the India Today conclave held in New Delhi where he spoke about the future of cinema. Sharing his experiences of a private visit early this year, Cameron said he visited the holy North Indian city of Haridwar which hosts the Kumbh Mela festival that draws millions of pilgrims.
Cameron also said he took a dip in the Ganga river, considered sacred by Hindus. “It was nice to feed in the spirituality, nice to share in the belief system. You do feel something,” he said.
The scuba diving enthusiast and marine explorer is planning to shoot undersea for Avatar 2, for which he is training to pilot a specially-built vehicle that can go down almost 30,000 feet. About integrating science into filmmaking, Cameron said he made movies to carry forward his many scientific experiments but also added, “I don't think Hollywood has served science well. I'm not a scientist, rather I'm a science groupie.”
However, the record-breaking success of Avatar and its spin-off attention from environmental groups got Cameron “very interested in renewable energy. I am going to focus my extracurricular energy outside Avatar to that cause. But we are not going to solve the environmental crisis if we don't first solve the energy crisis.”
Early this year, Cameron was in the Amazon, protesting against the massive Belo Monte dam being planned by the Brazilian government, considered the third-largest in the world, which could have a devastating environmental effect. In his address, Cameron said he may make a documenatary on the plight of the Amazon's displaced indigenous tribe.
In February, U.K.-based charity Survival International appealed to Cameron on behalf of the Dongria Kondh tribe in India's Orissa state who were battling to defend their land and a sacred mountain against mining giant Vedanta's plans to mine bauxite. In August, India's environment ministry denied Vedanta permission to proceed with its project.
Hoping to visit India again for a month-long vacation after he finishes scripting the Avatar sequels, Cameron said his views on India changed after his first visit and that he was now fascinated with the “energy of the nation and the rapid changing modern India.”