About this project
I was standing next to the graves of my ancestors in my father's hometown in the heart of India. The mist that had been gliding slowly between the trees and gravestones all morning was beginning to subside. As I looked around Kabristan, this simple Muslim graveyard, I could see a small crowd of a dozen curious slum kids beginning to gather down the hill at the road where our vehicles were parked. Within hours that small crowd would swell to nearly a thousand and surround us, the calm would evaporate, and each shot would be a Herculean battle for our small crew to clear the background and fake the peace and quiet that normally marks Kabristan.
This was the first day of principal photography on our feature film KHOYA.
Despite that epic beginning and countless more obstacles we completed production and now we’re asking for your help to get us through postproduction.
KHOYA is about one man’s search for home. Roger Moreau lives anonymously and aimlessly in Toronto, Ontario. When his adopted mother dies unexpectedly, Rog loses the last tie he has to his Canadian upbringing and identity.
Realizing he is spiraling down a dangerous road, Rog decides to travel thousands of miles away to India to find the birth family that gave him up for adoption nearly thirty years ago.
When he steps off the plane into the crowded streets of Mumbai he is confronted by his own foreignness in a strange, new land. While eager to be reunited with his family, complications immediately threaten Rog's search when a Catholic orphanage reveals his adoption documents are forgeries.
More desperate than ever, Rog sets out on a quest heading into Madhya Pradesh - the impoverished, rural heartland of India - to find the one local official who can help him solve the mystery surrounding his adoption.
Rog's journey takes him into the dark alleys, dusty roads and cramped train cars of India's underclass as he tries to connect the threads of his own story. Ultimately, Rog is pushed to his physical and emotional breaking point and forced to confront the ghosts that have been haunting him his entire life - only then is he able to discover the truth.
Why should you give to KHOYA?
Everybody complains about how derivative the latest movies at the multiplex are, now is your chance to do something about it. We feel we’ve got an incredible story, a bold visual style, and a great filmmaking team assembled (read more about that below). We’re not AVATAR but we don’t want to be. Instead of superheroes, we’re interested in showing how the lives of regular folk can be just as heroic as a grown man in spandex.
The Tribeca Film Institute gave us some wonderful support by choosing us as one of their All Access grants this year and it would mean even more to have your support – after all, you're our audience. Throughout the research and production of KHOYA, we’ve been struck by the stories of friends and strangers alike who tell their own stories of family disconnection and reunion. This film is for all of you. It’s about the longing we all have for that place called home.
Our lead actor is the handsome and talented Rupak Ginn. Rupak has appeared in countless TVs and movies including THE NAMESAKE, ROYAL PAINS, and CHEETAH GIRLS. Rupak showed his butt in the RomCom FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS – so check that out ladies – and, in KHOYA, he shows off, not just his assets but his formidable acting chops too.
Supporting Actors (Stephen McHattie + Ravi Khanwilkar)
Stephen McHattie is one of the hardest working and most dedicated actors around. He has appeared in hundreds of films including A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, 300, IMMORTALS, and PONTYPOOL.
Ravi Khanwilkar is one of the most respected actors in India. Last year he gained rave reviews for his performance in the epic play TUGHLAQ in Delhi. He has also appeared in films including DELHI BELLY, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAI, and TAARE ZAMEEN PAR.
The Writer-Director (Me / Sami Khan)
I’m a filmmaker and a diehard Toronto Blue Jays’ fan (ugh, what a disappointing season!). I graduated from Columbia with an MFA in film and my last two short films premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. Recently I participated in the Berlinale’s Talent Campus and Tribeca All Access.
Karen Shaw is the producer of KHOYA. She’s worked with Hollywood heavy-hitters Warren Beatty and Michael Caine and the Canadian filmmaking titans Atom Egoyan and Robert Lantos. Recently she participated in IFP’s TransAtlantic Partners Program. She once got malaria making a movie in Nigeria and decided that that wasn’t a crazy enough experience so she tried making a film in India on no-budget.
Kevin C.W. Wong is the brilliant cinematographer behind KHOYA. He shoots big-budget commercials and TV shows in Toronto. And somehow he manages to find time to be an incredible illustrator and inventor (the NORI Square Bounce). He also has a cat named Toy that just might be the fluffiest thing you’ve ever seen.
The wonderful Guneet Monga heads up our Indian production team. She was recently named one of the Hollywood Reporter’s Top Ten Female Producers to watch and I believe that every single film at Cannes this year was produced by Guneet.
This movie wouldn't have been possible without the unbelievable support of my family in India and Canada. We filmed in their homes, courtyards and farms and they were the unheralded production coordinators that made filming in a difficult place like Jabalpur possible.
New Reward (July 29) !!!
After an amazing first few days in which we've raised more than 78% of our target, I'm so happy to announce that we've added yet another backer reward to our project: the "Saif" which for $70 will get you a Digital Download of the film along with this brand new V-Neck T-Shirt (Made in the USA) based on Geron Hoy's incredible KHOYA design. We're offering them in white, gray, and black (in standard sizes). Check out the pictures below to see the shirts (final designs may differ slightly).
Risks and challenges
As I mentioned above, we’re currently in post-production on KHOYA. We filmed in the winter in Jabalpur, India and Toronto, Canada. And now we’re about three quarters of the way through postproduction. Your support will help us cross the finish line – allowing us to potentially shoot pickups, get an amazing sound design, music score, color grading, and all the other wonderful things that help take a film to the next level.
For KHOYA, dealing with corruption + religious riots were among the most difficult obstacles to deal with - forcing us to recast our lead actor and completely revamping our production schedule, days before we were set to start shooting.
Despite those impossible odds, we're on track... we just need a little help. Simply getting to this point is an achievement in many respects but it's not enough. We want to make a film that people care about.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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