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A feature-length documentary about two brothers trying to save their family business - the oldest auction house in India
A feature-length documentary about two brothers trying to save their family business - the oldest auction house in India
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81 backers pledged £15,000 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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£15,000

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  ONE DAY TO GO - THANK YOU to all our supporters so far! We're truly humbled.

Please keep sharing the project as we enter the last few hours - we'd love to reach 100 backers just because.... it sounds better!

There's also plenty of things anything we raise over our target will go towards. When we set out our main aim was simply to raise enough money to finish the film within a really tight budget and time-frame.

Any additional pledges that keep us moving us beyond £12k will help achieve some of our more unattainable (we thought!) dreams for the film. For example, we'd also love to be able to license Arun Ghosh's amazing reworking of The Clash's classic tune, LONDON CALLING:

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/london-calling-instrumental/id540335915?i=540335987

And then there's festival entries, the remaining composition, marketing, poster design and much, much more which all needs to be paid for somehow. Every contribution will enable us to do more of these things in the right way.

The Story

The Russell Exchange auction house in Calcutta / Kolkata is a rare and special place that draws people from across Indian society to meet and trade as equals. Owned and run by the same family since 1940, it's a chaotic, entertaining and much-cherished place in the heart of one of India's most well-known cities.

Once it was the Sotheby's of India but these days it's living out a much humbler reality. This film follows its present-day owners, brothers Anwer and Arshad, as they battle to uphold their father's legacy and keep the place in business.

In the late 1960s, elder brother Anwer left India for London whilst Arshad, his younger brother, stayed behind and ran the auction house for the next 40 years.

But Anwer returned four years ago to try and drag the auction house into the 21st century. The film follows his journey, with plenty of humour along the way, as he also gets used to living and working under the same roof as his kid brother for the first time since they were teenagers.

Discussing redecoration over a coconut
Discussing redecoration over a coconut

THE FILM SO FAR

We've made many filming trips to India over the past 4 years, and over that time have met people from across the world who know and love the Russell Exchange... everyone from a housewife in Walton-upon-Thames to a German ambassador in North Korea!

Now we're on the radar of several broadcasters, very nearly ready to screen at film festivals and have pitched the film at numerous events, including this year's Scottish Documentary Institute's Edinburgh Pitch and last year's Sheffield DocFest MiniMeetmarket.

Trinkets ahoy!
Trinkets ahoy!

However, we really need your help to finish postproduction on the film. A lot of people have put enormous amounts of their time and effort but we're trying to raise money to cover the final bits of editing, the sound mix, colour grading and to acquire a few music licenses. Without this final cash injection we're stalled and won't be able to get the film shown to as wide an audience as we think it deserves.

For example, one of the tracks we're trying to license is the unmistakeable 'Ladies of Calcutta' - a classic that deserves to be heard once more we think you'll agree! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozKEo8f5cmI

Editor Emiliano hard at work
Editor Emiliano hard at work

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE RUSSELL EXCHANGE?

The auction house gets a lot of press - you can read a BBC article written by Director Ed here or there are plenty more including one in India's Daily Mail and this one about its revival in fortunes.

And you can read some of the stories about the objects that go in and out of the auction house on our Tumblr blog here.

As well as seeing Instagrams from the behind the scenes here.

And check out our latest reward from super-talented illustrator Clare Mallison, who's created this bespoke portrait of the auction house (45.5cm x 39.88cm giclee print on Hahnemühle German Etching (310) paper).

Limited edition - only 20 available!
Limited edition - only 20 available!
Going, going, gone?
Going, going, gone?

WHO WE ARE:

Director Ed Owles is an independent filmmaker who has made films all over the world for broadcasters and NGOs for the past 7 years. This is his first feature documentary and, although it's taken about 8 times as long as he thought it would, he's very excited it's now coming to fruition.

The producers are Native Voice Films, a London-based production company that has produced feature documentaries and films for leading international broadcasters including Film Four/C4, HBO, ARTE and the BBC. Their latest feature documentary ‘The Bengali Detective’ screened at Sundance and Berlin film festivals and won the 2012 Grierson Award for Most Entertaining Documentary. Exec Producer is Phil Cox and lead producer is Giovanna Stopponi. They are being ably assisted by independent producer and tweeter extraordinaire Elhum Shakerifar.

The film is being edited by the esteemed Signore Emiliano Battista, who's previously worked on many successful feature length documentaries; the score is being especially composed by the exceptionally talented Harry Lightfoot, with sound design being orchestrated by Dennis Wheatley of Salty Sea fame.

And special thanks to the folk at The Dog & Wardrobe for letting us film the kickstarter trailer in their brilliant shop.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

PLEASE DONATE! And then tell everyone you know and help us spread the word on FACEBOOKTWITTERTUMBLR! Tell people you meet in the street! Thank you very, very much.

WHY KICKSTARTER?

So far we've covered travel and living costs for the shooting thanks to some small pots of funding from Worldview and Goldsmiths Centre for Visual Anthropology, as well as our own now very empty pockets.

As independent filmmakers in this digital age we rely on the support of our community. Often depictions of India focus on abject poverty or the economic miracle. We hope this film brings something different.

By funding 'The Auction House: A Tale of Two Brothers' you can be part of creating a film about a unique place in India's history and two brilliant characters. In the age of eBay, Amazon and shopping malls its unique character should be treasured.

In return for your support, we've got some great rewards ranging from posters to DVDs to VIP screenings and a slap-up curry with the main character and the director!

WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR MONEY IF WE DON'T HIT THE TARGET?

Kickstarter is all or nothing so if we don't hit £12,000 by the deadline on Christmas Eve, your card won't be charged and we won't receive any money pledged.

Risks and challenges

Independent film making in the UK is very challenging at the moment and this film has been made on a shoestring thanks to an enormous amount of time and effort by lots of different people. Whilst production costs have largely been met, we want to make sure the film is finished to the highest standards we can in postproduction.
For example, if we're unable to license the music then we won't be able to show the film in the wide array of places we hope to... there's already real interest in the film - for example, we have a sales agent, DR Sales - who are just waiting for the finished film to arrive on their doorstep.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.62

    Open the Bidding! A big online thank you

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    Pledge £10 or more About $16

    Auctions speak louder than words! A HANDWRITTEN POSTCARD of thanks with an illustration of Calcutta/Kolkata on the front, an original catalogue from the auction house, and a big online thank you.

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    Pledge £15 or more About $24

    Is that your final offer? High quality DIGITAL DOWNLOAD of the film when it's released, A HANDWRITTEN POSTCARD with an illustration of Calcutta/Kolkata on the front and an online thanks.

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    Pledge £25 or more About $41

    A Sound Valuation! A SPARKLY DOORKNOB for your flat (oh yes!), as sold in The Russell Exchange (see Kim's story on our tumblr page for an example), a high quality DIGITAL DOWNLOAD of the film, and a heartfelt online thank you.

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    Pledge £40 or more About $65

    Not to be missed! The FINISHED FILM ON DVD, A SPARKLY DOORKNOB for your flat as sold in The Russell Exchange (see Kim's story on our tumblr page for an example) and a heartfelt thank you on our Facebook page

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £60 or more About $97

    Going, going, gone! The FINISHED FILM ON DVD and a copy of AMIT CHAUDHURI'S BOOK 'CALCUTTA' SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR

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    Pledge £75 or more About $122

    The Hammer has fallen! A THANK YOU IN THE CREDITS OF THE FILM, The FINISHED FILM ON DVD, and a copy of AMIT CHAUDHURI'S BOOK 'CALCUTTA' SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £120 or more About $195

    A beautiful A2 LIMITED EDITION ILLUSTRATED PRINT of the auction house by super-talented illustrator Clare Mallison - width 45.51 cm and height 39.88 CM on a Giclee print on Hahnemühle German Etching (310) paper. See an example in the text to the left of this page.

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    Pledge £150 or more About $243

    Lot of the Day! A beautiful A2 LIMITED EDITION ILLUSTRATED PRINT of the auction house by super-talented illustrator Clare Mallison (see the work in progress on our facebook page), A THANK YOU IN THE CREDITS OF THE FILM and the FINISHED FILM ON DVD

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge £250 or more About $406

    The Auctioneer! The OFFICIAL FILM POSTER, A THANK YOU IN THE CREDITS, the FINISHED FILM ON DVD, a copy of AMIT CHAUDHURI'S BOOK 'CALCUTTA' SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR and an original catalogue from the auction house

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge £500 or more About $811

    Bengali Babu! AN ORIGINAL LOT BOUGHT FROM THE AUCTION HOUSE (see facebook/tumblr for a few examples), The OFFICIAL FILM POSTER, A THANK YOU IN THE CREDITS, VIP ENTRANCE TO LONDON SCREENING (travel not included), and the FINISHED FILM ON DVD

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    Pledge £1,500 or more About $2,434

    Maharaja! AN ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT, VIP ENTRANCE TO LONDON SCREENING (travel not included), The OFFICIAL FILM POSTER and the FILM ON DVD

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge £2,500 or more About $4,056

    One of the Family! SLAP-UP DINNER with Director ED and main character ANWER (the elder brother) at his favourite London curry house, AN ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT, VIP ENTRANCE TO LONDON SCREENING including red carpet treatment with Ed and the team before and after (travel not included), The OFFICIAL FILM POSTER and the FILM ON DVD

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  14. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £5,000 or more About $8,112

    Big Cheese! AN EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CREDIT, a replica HMV GRAMAPHONE bought in the auction house, VIP ENTRANCE TO A GALA SCREENING including including red carpet treatment with Ed and the team before and after (travel not included), SLAP-UP DINNER with Director ED and main character ANWER (the elder brother) at his favourite London curry house, The OFFICIAL FILM POSTER and the FILM ON DVD

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Funding period

- (29 days)