LEECHES

145 Backers | Rs. 9,51,901 raised | Rs. 6,00,000 target

You get your money back if the campaign doesn't raise its target amount

Rewards for Our Backers

Chhoti Bahen (250 & above)

  1. A shout out on FB & Twitter & our heartfelt gratitude!
  2. A production diary of the film & other exclusive updates, including screenings in your area

Badi Bahen (550 & above)

  1. Your own digital FB cover picture, featuring the film poster & a stamp that says you contributed to the film!
  2. PDF of the Shooting Script
  3. A shout out on FB & Twitter & our heartfelt gratitude!
  4. A production diary of the film & other exclusive updates, including screenings in your area

Sister Act (1000 & above)

  1. Digital Download of the film before it releases

  2. Your name in the Special Thanks of the film credits

  3. Your own digital FB cover picture, featuring the film poster & a stamp that says you contributed to the film!
  4. All of the previous rewards up to this level

My Sister's Keeper (2500 & above)

  1. Invitation to the film premiere and Q&A in your city (Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi) where you get to be our special guest at the after-party
  2. Signed poster of the film (at least 12x20 inches) thanking you by name for your contribution - a great reminder to put up on your wall!
  3. All of the previous rewards up to this level

Coffee Birds

Coffee Bird Prints from the Menagerie Series (1 of each: Mynah, Dove, Pigeon, Crow) personalized by the artist, Madhvi Reddi, who will sign them with your name. These are limited edition prints (1 of 10) and will go fast.**

About the Artist: Madhvi Reddi is a self-taught painter. A Product Designer by training from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad (1993-95) and the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi (1995-99), she transitioned into painting full time in 2005. While working as a Usability and Product Designer for D. E. Shaw, a hedge fund, she pursued her passion for art by living and working in Europe: with Gaspard Delanoe and the 59 Rue de Rivoli art squats in Paris, with the Antonio Tapies foundation in Barcelona and the Printmaker's studio and guild in Edinburgh. After educating herself through these non-academic avenues, she moved to India in 2010, and currently works and exhibits from her studios in Hyderabad and Bangalore.

**Does not include shipping costs of approximately INR 2000/US$ 35, to be borne by you

Your Sister's Sister (6000 & above)

  1. Set-visit during the 5 day shoot in Hyderabad (between Sep-Nov 2014. Transportation & accommodation not included) OR a limited edition DVD of the film that you lend to folks after you tell them the story of how you helped make the film
  2. A frame-worthy photo of Hyderabad taken by local photographer Sanjay Borra printed on special paper (at least 12x18; frame not included)
  3. A set of 6 coasters featuring exclusive stills from the film shoot (samples here)
  4. All of the previous rewards up to this level

2 Mules for Sister Sara (10K & above)

  1. A one-of-a-kind Leeches FLIPBOOK - a great conversation starter (best way to show off the film you helped make, at a moment's notice)
  2. A walk-on part in the film (transportation & accommodation not included) OR (if not your cup of tea) VIP seats to the film premiere in your city (Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi) & a limited edition DVD of the film that you lend to folks after you tell them the story of how you helped make the film
  3. All of the previous rewards up to this level

BIRD MEETS BIRD: CROW

16 x 16 inches

Bird Meets Bird Prints from the Menagerie Series** - personalized by the artist. These are limited edition prints (1 of 10) and will go fast!!

**Does not include shipping costs of approximately INR 2000/US$ 35, to be borne by you

About the Artist: Madhvi Reddi is a self-taught painter. A Product Designer by training from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad (1993-95) and the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi (1995-99), she transitioned into painting full time in 2005. While working as a Usability and Product Designer for D. E. Shaw, a hedge fund, she pursued her passion for art by living and working in Europe: with Gaspard Delanoe and the 59 Rue de Rivoli art squats in Paris, with the Antonio Tapies foundation in Barcelona and the Printmaker's studio and guild in Edinburgh. After educating herself through these non-academic avenues, she moved to India in 2010, and currently works and exhibits from her studios in Hyderabad and Bangalore

BIRD MEETS BIRD: SPARROW

16 x 16 inches

Bird Meets Bird Prints from the Menagerie Series** - personalized by the artist. These are limited edition prints (1 of 10) and will go fast!!

**Does not include shipping costs of approximately INR 2000/US$ 35, to be borne by you

About the Artist: Madhvi Reddi is a self-taught painter. A Product Designer by training from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad (1993-95) and the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi (1995-99), she transitioned into painting full time in 2005. While working as a Usability and Product Designer for D. E. Shaw, a hedge fund, she pursued her passion for art by living and working in Europe: with Gaspard Delanoe and the 59 Rue de Rivoli art squats in Paris, with the Antonio Tapies foundation in Barcelona and the Printmaker's studio and guild in Edinburgh. After educating herself through these non-academic avenues, she moved to India in 2010, and currently works and exhibits from her studios in Hyderabad and Bangalore

Hannah & Her Sisters (25K & above)

  1. ASSOCIATE PRODUCER Credit in the opening titles of the film & on IMDB
  2. Personalized FB cover picture of the film's poster with YOUR NAME as ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
  3. Large limited-edition poster with your name as ASSOCIATE PRODUCER in the credit-block
  4. Behind the scenes video made especially for you to see how it all went down
  5. All of the previous rewards up to this level

Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (60K & above)

  1. CO-PRODUCER Credit in the opening titles of the film, IMDB & film website
  2. Customized FB cover picture of the film's poster with YOUR NAME as CO-PRODUCER
  3. Large limited-edition poster with your name as CO-PRODUCER in the credit-block
  4. An invitation for you & a guest to attend ONE film-festival screening where you will walk the red carpet with the cast & crew & participate in all the festivities
  5. All of the previous rewards up to this level

Oh Sister, Where Art Thou? (1 Lakh & above)

  1. PRODUCER Credit in the opening titles of the film, IMDB, film website
  2. 20 DVDs with gorgeous cover artwork, to give out to friends when you tell them you produced a great short film!
  3. Large limited-edition poster with your name as PRODUCER in the credit-block
  4. FOR INDIA/US: 1 NIGHT Hotel stay for you & a guest to attend a film-festival screening, where you will walk the red carpet with the cast & crew & participate in all festivities
  5. All of the previous rewards up to this level

More About the Project

Payal Sethi

Fund a film based in the chaotic old city of Hyderabad, where a 16-yr old girl searches for an old wive's remedy that will make her a virgin again.

About the project


Fund a film based in the chaotic old city of Hyderabad, where a 16-yr old girl searches for an old wive's remedy that will make her a virgin again

.

Minimum target crossed!

Thanks to over 80 backers from different corners of the world, we made our minimum goal on July 17th!  I have been working my way through the list & writing to each & every one to express my deepest gratitude this past week - saying thank you for such incredible genrosity has been one of the best parts of this campaign. Meanwhile…


OUR CAMPAIGN IS LIVE UNTIL AUGUST 14TH & WE CAN EXCEED OUR GOAL


Why Do You Need More Money?

Our "All or Nothing" campaign target was based on the MINIMUM we would need to shoot the film, and on what we felt confident of raising in the time given. We planned to do a second campaign after shooting the film to raise money for post-production, film festival submissions & distribution. Little did we know that we would race towards our target in just 15 days. So rather than wait till after we shoot the film, we will try to raise the balance funds to finish this film AND increase its production value during the duration of this campaign itself. Here's how we'll do that:


What will you use the additional funds for?

With the additional funds raised we would be able to meet these stretch goals, in the following order of priority:

STRETCH GOAL #1:  POST-PRODUCTION & FILM FESTIVAL SUBMISSIONS


INR 3 LAKHS | US$

5000


STRETCH GOAL #2: PAY ACTORS/CREW, CONDUCT ACTORS WORKSHOP


INR 1.15 LAKHS | US$

1900


STRETCH GOAL #3: HIRE MY FAVORITE DoP, JAMES DEMETRI


INR 85K | US$ 1400

(SCROLL DOWN TO UPDATES FOR DETAILED BREAKDOWNS OF THESE GOALS)


What's the film about?

16-year old Raisa lives on the brink of poverty with her Ammi and three younger sisters in Hyderabad. When her younger sister, Zainab, is promised to a foreign businessman from the Middle East in exchange for cash, Raisa decides to take matters into her own hands. This ancient custom is a last resort for families living in Muslim ghettos, and the alliance is brokered by a pimp, Bilkis, and her helper, Nawaz. A cleric draws up both marriage and divorce contracts simultaneously, so that the businessman may end the ‘marriage’ whenever he is ready to leave the city. Desperate, Raisa hatches an improbable plan with the help of her best friend. She sets about looking for an old wive’s trick that will make her a virgin again, so that she may take the place of Zainab, who resembles her strongly.


What's the story behind the story?

Officially, India is a developing country, but the reality of existence for the underbelly of the population that lives below the poverty line is very much a third-world one. I wrote LEECHES to highlight the practice of contract marriages in communities so disadvantaged that they have allowed themselves to mask what is blatantly a sex-slave trade behind the veil of acceptable religious ritual. In Hyderabad’s old city, rich businessmen prey on the virginity of underage girls in an archaic practice that is still propagated under the auspices of Islamic marriage laws, which allow a man to have four wives at a time. These men take brides for short periods, sometimes just a night, with rates varying according to the duration of the marriage, leading to the nickname "one-day bride". An intricate web of opportunists facilitate this flesh trade, including many clerics, who work for clients with a predilection for teenage-virgin brides.


What motivated me to create this film?

I came across a news story about one-day brides while living in Hyderabad & turned it into a subplot for a feature. Several months later, my friend & co-writer suggested we turn the subplot into a short film. He discovered a little-known fact about virginity in the old days & this became the twist in the story (you'll have to wait for the film to find out what it is). We were committed to making a film that will engage an audience, not just dramatize the same story about contract marriage that you hear routinely in the news. Whoever has read the story has reacted strongly to its narrative. The hope is that, what you will see on screen will shake you to your core.


How do we plan to go about this?

In April, we conducted a preliminary location recce of the old city. In order for us to shoot in the areas where these events take place, we have partnered with SHAHEEN, a Hyderabad based NGO, who operate in 20 slums in the old city area around Talab Katta, to empower women. Thanks to them, we will have access to otherwise inaccessible areas, and can shoot completely on location. Authenticity is key in this film & detail is everything. We are in the process of confirming actors & a DP & are working with a local casting director to cast most of the characters locally. Once we have a rough cut ready, most probably end October, we'll start sending the film to festivals around the world. Eventually, it will will be available on iTunes & Amazon & on TV in the US, UK & Turkey, through our existing relationships with these distributors & platforms.


What is it going to look and sound like?

The film will be naturalistic & under-lit, often saturated with the neon of street lights, captured on a lightweight camera that will allow us to move through streets with a bare-bones crew. It will have a rich grainy look, to capture the essence of Hyderabad’s old city. Silhouettes, lithe burqa clad figures, juxtaposed against heavy-set men, whose bodies represent the enemy. Fast paced wide-shots will show the characters as part of their environment, who will often be shot from high above or far away within crowded spaces, teeming with life. The dialogue will be sparse & minimal - we often see but do not hear what the characters say. And when they do speak their voices will be woven into sound-scapes of the city, created through intricate sound design.


Who's the team behind the film?

Our team consists of amazing folks in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Bhubhaneshwar, Atlanta & California who have all come together to volunteer their time for this film because they believe that they are part of something exceptional & unique. Some bring years of experience, while others are first-timers with the desire to learn. The production company behind this film is FilmKaravan, started by Payal Sethi and Pooja Kohli. We pulled off a 3-day shoot on the streets of New York a few years ago, and when you see the film that came out of it, you won't believe the shoe-string budget we had to work with. So maybe its just better we don't tell you!

Why crowdfunding

How often have you heard that there aren't enough films by female filmmakers, or about female characters? Well, here's an opportunity to change that.

Shaheen has been working with girls who have escaped such arrangements, forced upon them by desperate or greedy families. While the media has woken up to this practice in various Indian cities with disadvantaged Muslim communities, it continues unabated in Hyderabad, which has a frighteningly efficient system in place.

The main character in Leeches, Raisa, displays strength and ingenuity in the face of her circumstances, even as her age and naivete make her believe she can get away with her dangerous plan, making the poetic injustice of her fate all the more gut-wrenching. This is the type of story digs deep into reality to offer devastating consequences.

And then, there's the title: Leeches. Don't you want to know why we called it that? We did intend to play on the word, alluding to the men who marry these girls as leeches, but there's something else, something so unbelievable we can't tell you what it is – we would rather show you. So support & share so the film gets made and the mystery of the Leeches is uncovered!

 

How will the money be used?

Cast: 60000
Crew: 40000
Equipment: 100000
Production Design: 45000
Hair/Make Up: 35000
Miscellaneous: 15000
Transport: 40000
Production: 70000
Locations: 175000
Craft Service: 20000

What are the hurdles I'll face while chasing my dream?

We will be filming a delicate subject in an highly sensitive area with very young actors (our lead is actually 16!) The Charminar locality in Hyderabad is notorious for communal violence and the NGO that is guiding us, Shaheen, is situated at the confluence of three separate communities. While being mindful of the dangers, my commitment to bring this story to screen with authenticity & creative integrity has pushed me to film here. It would have been impossible to carry out this ambition without the help of Shaheen & its fearless head, Jameela Nishat, who will make it possible to capture the footage we need in the actual bastis (slums) where the contract marriages still happen.

What happens when I don't raise enough money?

Unfortunately, foundation grants and CSR for film projects is practically non-existent in India - this is the alternative fundraising route, and can take a minimum of 6 months. This would mean losing the momentum I have created in the last few months - we have already picked locations, spoken to potential cast, and received committments from team members who would have to take on other projects.

As you may be aware, if funding fails, all pledges are canceled and we won’t receive any of the funds. Your card is not charged, your check is returned, and it’s like none of this ever happened.

We don't want that to happen so if you're thinking of contributing, there is no time like the present, CONTRIBUTE TODAY! We truly appreciate your patronage of this project and will do all we can to make it the best it can be, complete it as soon as possible, and make sure that you are proud of being a supporter!

How am I going to prove that I won't just take all the money and run away?

As you will see from our thriving facebook & twitter followings, we have been at this for some months now, building steam, getting the word out there.

The next step is to raise the money & get this film in the can post-monsoon. The next step after that is to edit, edit, edit & then send the film off on a fabulous festival journey like we did with Grant St. Shaving Co. (here's that list of festivals)

If you help us reach our goal, there is nothing that would prevent us from completing the film by the end of this year. Of course, if an unforeseen issue should arise, you'd be the first to be updated.

Can we exceed our goal?

I hope that we do! We do need more than the goal we have set for post-production, film-festivals (between INR1500-5000/$25-85 per application!) & distribution (don't even get me started). All of this happens immediately after we shoot in September for 5 days. We will announce our stretch-goals should this happen.

More funds = better production value. We can add an extra shooting day! Given the challenges of shooting in the old city, this would ensure a smooth shoot - just last year a friend & I were stopped by local goons for shooting random footage for the pitch video. This is not just a possibility on our upcoming shoot - it is a certainty. My stellar producers have made all the arrangements to ensure that this does not happen, but since when have film shoots gone exactly as planned?! (truth be told, that's part of the fun of this process)

Better production value equals a greater chance of success during the film-festival run & distribution phase. And overall, it means your name appears on a film that looks visually stunning - something you are sure to be proud of.

How else can I support your project?

  • Make a pledge. Any contribution, no matter how small or large, will make a difference!
  • Spread the word by telling your friends, family and social networks about our film and this campaign. Please send the URL of this page with a heartfelt endorsement to everyone you know! “Like” and Share the link on Facebook, Twitter, by email or on your blog. Encourage people to follow us. We can be found online here: Facebook, Twitter (@LeechesFilm)
  • Help us get press about this film & our Wishberry campaign! Share this news with bloggers, journalists, websites, etc.
  • Have mad film-making skills? We’ll need help with effects, CGI, sound design, grading, and just about anything else in production & post-production.
  • If you have other ideas on how to help, please contact us at [email protected]

Where does the money go?

100% of funds raised (minus the fees for Wishberry & the payment gateway) will go directly to the LEECHES film budget. Your money goes directly to funding this film's production, which involves the breakdown of costs mentioned above.

What if I have more questions?

Great! We'd love to hear from you at [email protected]


Team


need more info?

ask question