MUMBAI: Design studio Marching Ants, which floated its film production outfit – Alchemy Studios – earlier this year, has collaborated with South Africa’s Cape Film Commission (CFC).
CFC is the official representative for Cape Town and the province of the Western Cape, for the economic development, marketing and promotion of the film industry.
Alchemy Studios is currently shooting its first film titled Season’s Greetings in Cape Town. The film is being co-produced along with UTV Spotboy.
Speaking exclusively to Businessofcinema.com from Cape Town, Alchemy Studios director Joy Ghoshal says, "When we went for a recce to Cape Town for Season’s Greetings, we realised that if we were to work with the conventional set-up there, we wouldn’t be able to afford it, since ours is a small budget film. We then thought of line-producing it ourselves there and met with CFC representatives. They facilitate international crews that come to shoot in Cape Town and after a few discussions, they decided to endorse us."
In short, what Alchemy Studios has done is avoided the middleman and dealt with the CFC in Cape Town so as to minimise production costs. "We have recruited 80 per cent of our crew locally in Cape Town. Only the head of departments like the DOP and art director etc are from India. CFC has helped us in recruiting the crew and has also negotiated the costs for us. We have been very happy with our experience here. So if a small budget film like ours can be shot in Cape Town, any film can afford to do the same."
Alchemy Studios’ and UTV Spotboy’s Season’s Greetings stars Tabu, Sohail Khan, Shreyas Talpade, Jaaved Jaffrey, Nandana Sen, Vatsal Seth, Amrita Arora, Ashish Chowdhary, Saurabh Shukla and Shilpa Shukla. It is being directed by Vikram Chopra (Fight Club) and written by Mayur Puri.
Season’s Greetings is a story told over one and a half days about eight Indians in Cape Town. The story starts before New Year’s eve and ends on 31 December with a New Year party. Currently the crew is shooting in Cape Town and this schedule will be wrapped up by 18 December. Post that, in March there will be a 15 days shoot in Mumbai studios for the indoor party scene.
Apart from Season’s Greetings, Alchemy Studios also has a couple of other films in the the pipeline. The first will be the debut of Marching Ants creative director Rajeev Chudasama, which is titled The Hit. Ghoshal informs that talks are on with Shreyas Talpade and Arshad Warsi for the movie, but the papers have not yet been signed. This movie is likely to go on floors by mid-2009. Additionally, Chopra will also direct his next film for Alchemy Studios. This is as yet untitled and will go on floors towards the end of next year.