Mira Nair


On the state of things: The reason I go to Europe and Japan to raise money for my independent films is that in America, where there is financing for these films, it comes with a lot of strings attached. There’s a mini-major mentality. If you have X star, we’ll finance you, the kind of mentality that we are used to in Hollywood with the majors. When I made “Mississippi Masala” independently in the States in the early ’90s, it was better. Now I instinctively go European and Asian when I need independent financing, because I don’t want that kind of pressure. I would rather sell the finished film in America and not make it with independent financing in America.

Recipes for change: I am trying to help create a sort of channel to channel the explosion of the independent scene among Asian talent, in America but also in Asia. We see the success of those films; (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) is the grand example, but also “Monsoon Wedding.” I made that film precisely to inspire younger people that it’s possible to make an interesting film with not much. We consciously made it in 30 days for $1.5 million. So what I’m hoping to do right now is set up a young independent company that will foster this talent and bring it out to the world market. Which is something that is still not done and there is no real place to go. People just seek me out and I help them and try to actually finance them in some cases. Now I’m thinking about actually making a home, to formalize this, so that people from the South, from my part of the world, would have a place in the independent scene, both within their own countries but also globally.

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