August 07, 2020
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Neha Raheja Thakker

The filmmaker on collaborative film The Owner

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Neha Raheja Thakker
Neha Raheja Thakker

Tell us about The Owner.

Twenty-five filmmakers from 14 countries who have never met collaborated online.

Whose idea was it?

Detroit filmmakers Marty Shea, Ian Bonner.

How did you get to be a part of it?

I saw a posting on a website, after which I sent in some links of my work to Marty and Ian and I was in.

How did it work?

It was done through a central website where we shared scripts and edits, plus we used phones, Skype, e-mail and a video-sharing website to coordinate.

So none of you ever met in person?

Most of us have never met, but in today’s tech-savvy world, that wasn’t an issue.

Is collaborative filmmaking the future?

I think the tools we have today open up possibilities not only for collaborative filmmaking, but for collaborative creative expression on a global scale.

Did you have any issues with continuity, or stylistic differences?

We did not attempt to conform to one style or genre, the intent has always been to celebrate different styles.

Are you surprised that such a project has not been attempted before?

The project was started in 2008. Before that, perhaps the internet had not matured enough to become a medium of collaboration.

Was funding a problem?

I reached out to family and friends and I crowd-funded the film through a website.

Will The Owner be on the festival circuit? When is the Indian release?

We have created our own international one-of-a-kind film festival. The film premieres on May 25 in 11 countries; opening in Mumbai at Studio X, Kitab Mahal and the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute in Calcutta, and in Bangalore at Alliance Francaise on May 26.

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