French sales agent Premium Films has boarded international sales on Los Angeles-based Indian director Dipesh Jain’s feature debut “In the Shadows.” The film made its world premiere in Busan’s A Window on Asian Cinema section on Oct. 14, and is a nominee for the Kim Ji-seok award.
“We are delighted to pick up this great Indian first feature by one of the most promising talents of this region. Because the story is universal we are convinced it will reach an audience wider than the national one,” said Leslie Saussereau of Premium.
Produced by U.K.-based Exstant Motion Pictures, the film is a psychological drama about a man who is trapped within the city walls of old Delhi and in his own mind. He attempts to break free to find a human connection. It stars Manoj Bajpayee, Ranvir Shorey, Shahana Goswami and Om Singh.
“It is very challenging to write a character who is psychologically damaged but doesn’t externalize or verbalize it,” says Jain. “I feel that most cinematic representations of psychological issues borders on lunacy — characters doing crazy things. I didn’t want to do that.”
Jain is already packaging his next project, “A Stone’s Throw Away.” Based on real events, the film is set in war-torn Kashmir where a loner American dam engineer and a Kashmiri child soldier forge an unlikely bond and eventually discover what it means to have a place that one calls home.
“As a filmmaker, I’m drawn towards personal stories with strong themes,” says Jain. “When I was doing my research about a dam getting built along the India-Pakistan border that is causing thousands of people to lose their homes, the story idea came to me. The issue of losing homes becomes even more complex in a place where people are already fighting a freedom struggle for their homeland. The core of the story and its theme is very universal and the American protagonist brings in a fresh point of view.”
Budgeted at $5 million-$6 million, the English, Hindi and Kashmiri-language project’s lead producer will again be Exstant. The company is currently looking at U.S., U.K. and European co-production partners with a view to commence principal photography in 2018.
After Busan, “In the Shadows” will play at the Mumbai Film Festival, the Chicago Film Festival, where it is in the New Directors competition, and the International Film Festival of Kerala.