Jorhat, Nov. 11: Calcutta-based filmmaker Tamal Dasgupta's documentary on "Forest Man of India" Jadav Payeng, Soul of the Forest, was the sole entry from the country at the American Film Market, which concluded at Santa Monica, California, today.
Dasgupta told The Telegraph over phone from Calcutta that this was a rare honour for an Indian film. "Any film which gains an entry to the American Film Market faces stiff competition from lots of other films and to get selected is difficult. Entry into the event will give it an edge for screenings worldwide," he said.
The film showcases the life of Payeng, who single-handedly went on to plant trees and protect them, which gave rise to a 1,360-acre forest with an ecosystem supporting varied flora and fauna.
Dasgupta said the feedback he had received from various quarters was very good. "We had given information on Facebook about the film's selection in the AFM and have had an overwhelming response," the national award-winning filmmaker said.
He said US-based Euramco Pictures had taken up the distribution rights of Soul of the Forest and helped it gain an entry into the American Film Market. Dasgupta said every year hundreds of film industry bigwigs congregate to discuss not only the latest films but also buy worldwide or territorial distribution rights.
According to the film market website: "Over 8,000 industry leaders converge in Santa Monica for eight days of deal-making, screenings, seminars, networking and parties. Participants come from over 80 countries and include acquisition and development executives, agents, attorneys, directors, distributors, festival directors, financiers, film commissioners, producers, writers, the world press and all those who provide services to the motion picture industry. Founded in 1981, the American Film Market has quickly become the premiere global marketplace where Hollywood's decision-makers and trendsetters all gather under one roof. Unlike a film festival, the AFM is a marketplace where production and distribution deals are closed. In just eight days, deals worth more than $1 billion will be sealed - on both completed films and those in every stage of development and production."
A report on the first day of filming at Majuli, which formed the backdrop of the movie, appeared in The Telegraph on August 31, 2013.
Soul of the Forest has won six national and international awards and nominations, including International Wildlife and Environment Film Fest on October 10-12 in Calcutta, Euro Film Fest, Spain, and Best International Documentary award and Award of Excellency at Indonesia film fest, among others.