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Poland’s Alvernia Studios and India’s Little Red Car Films along with New Zealand-based producer Phillipa Campbell (Top of the Lake) will co-produce No Guns At My Son’s Funeral.
Based on the best-selling novel by Paro Anand, the film will be the feature debut of commercials director Puneet Rakheja. The film is budgeted at $2 million and is expected to begin shooting in Eastern Europe next winter.
No Guns At My Son’s Funeral was among the selected projects at the government-backed National Film Development Corporation’s Film Bazaar PrimExchange program last year. The Indo-European producers’ lab is run by Berlin-based Prime House in conjunction with the NFDC Film Bazaar and has nurtured a number of Indian films since the program began five years ago.
Funeral was also invited to this year’s Rotterdam Producer’s Lab and was recently selected for the NFDC National Script Lab with mentors including Olivia Stewart (The House of Mirth, Brassed Off).
India and Poland signed a co-production treaty last year. If Funeral meets all the norms, the film could well be the first project to qualify for benefits specified under the treaty. India also has a co-production treaty with New Zealand, which the project could tap into.
Film Bazaar script mentor Phil Parker described Funeral as “India’s Pan’s Labyrinth,” a cautionary tale of a young boy taking his first steps into manhood set in a frozen landscape “besieged by the eternal war between the Watchmen and Shadowmen.”
“From its first pitch at the 2012 PrimExchange, the attention and love our film got has surprised all of us,” said Little Red Car Films producer Aditi Anand. “Having partners and friends like Marek Gabryjelski (co-producer on Nicholas Jarecki‘s Arbitrage) and Philippa Campbell (producer on Jane Campion‘s Top of the Lake) is a dream come true.”
“Alvernia Studios is excited to announce its entry into the Indian film industry with No Guns At My Son’s Funeral directed by Puneet Rakheja,” said Alvernia Studios vp Gabryjelski. “This story has universal appeal, and we are excited to pick it up as our first Indian co-production. We are looking forward to collaborating with Aditi Anand and Little Red Car Films.”
“I’m delighted to be exploring production opportunities for the talented team behind No Guns At My Son’s Funeral,” added Campbell who heads up her production company Escapade Pictures. “It is a story with a strong contemporary resonance, and Puneet’s distinctive vision for the film is very striking.”
“This co-production establishes a real win-win situation between India and Europe, which was indeed one of our main intentions when we set up PrimExchange,” added PrimeHouse director Frank Stehling.
Based outside Krakow, Alvernia Studios has worked in various capacities on over 50 feature films and about 200 commercials, video games and music projects. The studio has also provided some post-production services to Indian projects, including this summer’s Bollywood hit Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.
As an investor and co-producer, Alvernia backed legal thriller Arbitrage, starring Tim Roth, Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Curtiss Cook and Laetitia Casta. It was the second U.S. project backed by Alvernia following Amy Heckerling’s Vamps starring Sigourney Weaver.
Start-up media venture Little Red Car Films – based in Mumbai and New Delhi – is backed by agro-chemicals group Parijat Industries and promoted by Anand, a graduate of India’s Whistling Woods International (featured in The Hollywood Reporter‘s 2010 Best Film Schools in the World listing).
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