Two Women, 9000 Miles and One Passion
Posted on 17 February, 2017 by Team Wishberry
It is stories like these that tell us how small our world is, thanks to the internet. Kerala based Uma Kumarapuram and Nicole Donadio from Los Angeles instantly struck a common note on their first conversation over the internet, a couple of years ago. A gender reversed parody trailer directed by Nicole, of award winning film The Wolf of Wall Street, titled The Women of Wall Street caught Uma’s attention. Highly impressed by Nicole’s work and a passionate filmmaker herself, Uma reached out to her on Facebook. A series of creative conversations followed, reaching a point wherein the duo came up with the idea of making a film together - ‘Across the Ocean’.
Understanding the plot
Across the Ocean is a 75-minute feature in English and Malayalam, which tells the story of two young strong minded women - Nila and Holly living in Kerala and Los Angeles respectively. It cuts back and forth between their lives, wherein both women are seen striving for something more - a new job, a new home and most importantly, a new adventure. However, this heartwarming story isn’t the only interesting thing about the film. In spite of chatting with each other online for a couple of years and working on the script over numerous emails, the duo hadn’t met even once, until last month, when Nicole flew down to Uma’s hometown Thrissur.
“I thought it could be a very unique opportunity to make a film with someone halfway around the world, and a plus for me, was that we were both female filmmakers... something very rare,” said Nicole in her interaction with The Hindu.
A look-back at Uma and Nicole
Some of Nicole’s notable works include assisting executive producer Carie Ann Inaba on the 2011 pilot, Grace, as well as positions at FOX’s American Idol, and ABC’s Castle. Uma is an experienced cinematographer, working as an Associate Director of Photography in the Malayalam film industry and as an Assistant Director of Photography in Bollywood. In her six year professional career, she has been a part of eleven film projects spanning across award winning Malayalam film Ozhimuri and Hindi thriller Traffic to commercial hits such as Milli, You Too Brutus and Puthiya Niyamam. Backed with significant experience and technical skills, Uma and Nicole plan to start filming their part, in their respective countries, in February.
Claiming this to be a realistic but an entertaining flick, Uma told the The New Indian Express, “Well, we’re trying to make the film realistic, but at the same time entertaining. That’s one reason we are both opting for a humorous touch to tell the stories.”
On crowdfunding and the future
Being an independent project, Nicole raised INR 3.5 Lakhs in November last year through crowdfunding on Kickstarter to fund the shooting of Holly’s side of the story in Los Angeles. Following Nicole’s success on Kickstarter, Uma resorted to Wishberry to raise funds for her part of the shooting in Kerala (Nila’s story). She managed to raise more than INR 4.5 Lakhs from 101 backers with maximum individual funding going upto INR 50,000. Her outreach plan strategy consisted of emails in the first few weeks, from where she moved on to speaking at social gatherings such as family get-togethers and weddings. Spreading the word through these gatherings helped her raise majority of the funds.
70% of the funding came in from the people directly known to Uma and friends of friends supported with 15% of the target amount. Her effective use of social media and wide coverage in the press helped Uma create awareness about the campaign beyond her personal network. This resulted in the remaining 15% of the funding coming in from anonymous funders.
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