By March 2014 VFX had given us the go ahead to start the final postproduction activity. Most of the 800 shots in visual effects were ready and back on our time line. The balance shots would trickle in as the DI process was underway. We were keen to exhibit our film to an international audience at the time of release. The Cannes film Festival was around the corner. We were not sure if we would make it with the complete film but we took a chance and booked a booth in the Palais to display our film creative. We had never attended a film festival like Cannes before so we decided to do a dry run and attend the Hong Film Festival in April. The Hong Kong Filmart was an eye opener. We managed to speak to a fair number of sales agents and on the basis of the rough cut of our trailer, were offered some interesting deals. But there was one aspect that needed to be addressed soon; the international audience was used to seeing foreign films that had a running time in the range of 100 minutes. We quickly got back onto the edit and started cutting the "flab". The trimming process was intense and challenging. We not only managed to bring the length of 140 minutes down to 110 minutes; we still had the story intact and most of the sequences still in the planned line up. This was a memorable moment in the postproduction of our film. The narrative now looked crisp and entertaining.
Our support team was enthusiastic and diligent. Within a matter of days Chinni Nihalani from Promo Shop cut a fantastic new trailer, John Stewart did the score, Resul Pookutty revealed his expertise with sound design and a mix "par excellence". The Epigram team designed the most eye-catching posters, brochures, flyers and the paraphernalia. And finally Pravesh Sippy, Neeta Shah from Pulp Fiction (not the film; our media management team) set up our contact list in Cannes.
14th to 24th of May 2014 Cannes.
Posters of Roar were displayed on pillars, outside screening rooms, magazines covers et al. In the worlds biggest and most prestigious film market we strategized and met the entire spectrum of sales agents in Cannes who could represent our film internationally. The experience and exposure was priceless. The outcome was better than expected but it came with its share of woes. We were now left with the power of choice.
An explanation to the same - in the 2 weeks at Cannes we met some very recognized sales companies and some enthusiastic ones. We were approached by multiple independent distributors for acquisition of rights for various countries. Festival directors invited us to premier our film in their respective upcoming festivals.
The should we or should we not:
Tie up with a big sales company: pro-they have an existing link to worldwide distribution. Con - we could be a storm in a teacup. So lets do business with a smaller sales company: pro - we would be their main event.Con - they may not have the network required. Sell it to distributors directly: pro -make more money. Con - we didn't have the resources or experience to expedite the process. The film business is as complicated or simple as stock trading except that in the film world everything is romanticized.
All in all it was an interesting phase to go through especially since the backdrop was set against the French Rivera spanning for 2 weeks in the azure Mediterranean summer. "Vive la France"