The Royal Enfield Bullet, born in England during the golden age of British motorcycle manufacturing, has an even more interesting story. In 1955, it arrived in India and through an unlikely series of events, wove itself into the hearts and minds of the Indian population and has been effectively frozen in time for the past six decades.
Chasing the Bullet explores India’s long love affair with the Bullet, its mystique and its charm, told by a handful varying personalities and perspectives to paint a picture of what the Royal Enfield has meant, and still means to the people of India, before this very motorcycle writes yet another chapter of its own history.
What people are saying about this project
A history of Chasing the Bullet from the creator, Chris Zahner
The magnitude and intrigue of this subject struck me in the Nepalese Himalayas in 2011, when I had my first encounter with the Royal Enfield Bullet. I became infected by the feeling of this motorcycle and its history.
The concept of this film began as a modest project document - how this machine has affected a nation - a single man team with a lightweight camera, lighting and audio rig to traverse the subcontinent of India in search of the incredible stories this machine has to offer.
The project was launched on kickstarter at the end of 2014 and did not reach its funding goal. Not dissuaded, I left for India anyway with a meager amount of savings, determined to capture a people’s history of the Royal Enfield.
Since arriving in India, the project has taken on a life of its own, the entire Royal Enfield community knows about Chasing the Bullet and it has receive serious praise and support. I’ve already covered a large portion of India including Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Goa Kerala and Punjab. I’ve sat for on-camera interviews with several major authorities on the subject, old mechanics, young riders and more, all who carry the of the Royal Enfield.
The first trailer of the film was presented at the Motorcycle Adventure Film Festival India with massive praise and as one other filmmaker there noted “never has such a film had so much hype before it was even released.”
Today, my tiny budget has been nearly exhausted and there is still half of the film to shoot, then post production, etc.
I've cut several of these short teasers with various authorities on the Royal Enfield that give some peeks at what I've captured so far without giving too much away. Even in such short clips, however. you can already see the contradictory nuance of this machine. The stories just keep getting better and better and there are more teasers on the way!
Where does my money go?
A majority of the structure of the film relies on film shot in the Himalayas. To properly do this, there will be several people involved, other cameramen, supplies, fuel, support vehicle, etc. Once filming concludes in mid-July, post-production begins.
Although I will be editing the narrative of the film myself, it will require hired help for graphics, color grading and sound mastering as well as a unique soundtrack made specifically for this film.
Of course, some of the funds will go to creating the reward packages themselves.
The film category of kickstarter can present a challenge for filmmakers when coming up with packages. Producing a film is very costly and the price in which people pay to see films is very low (if payed for at all).
It's up to the project creator to come up with unique reward packages that relate to the film and have tangible value. Additionally, most of this audience resides in India where the spending power of the Rupee is much less than other western currencies. So, I've come up with range of reward packages that provide value at a few different costs.
Tackling that issue first is the $5 reward package. This gets your name in the "post-roll" credits. For this small amount, you will have your name permanently attached to this film as a major thanks for helping its completion. Also, every backer of every reward package of greater value will receive their name in the credits.
The rest of the reward packages are pretty self explanatory but there are two that I would like to highlight below...
The T-Shirt is made from high quality cotton and includes the Chasing the Bullet logo as well as an exploded view of a 1951 Royal Enfield engine - the precursor to the legendary "iron barrel" engine that can be seen all over India today.
The Piston is sourced from various places around India. There's no telling exactly where these pistons have been, but they've seen an entire life of duty. They've been cleaned, laser etched with the Chasing the Bulet logo and then polished. I find such a memento to have a major "cool" factor. Put it on a shelf, in your trophy room or use it as a paper-weight in your shop or office as a. immortal reminder of the legendary Bullet. These pistons will be individually numbered starting at 001 and will be delivered sequentially in the order that backers of this package pledge their support.
Thanks for looking into this project. I hope you find it as moving and interesting as I have. I look forward to continuing this ride with all of you.
Risks and challenges
Filming in remote locations on motorcycles can always present risks. Lost, stolen or damaged gear, etc.
However, the production of this film so far has seen major support in many ways like help from the Royal Enfield community, friends, and even meals from mothers. Over the past few months, it has been clear that the perceived risks have been far lower than originally imagined thanks to the care and help from everyone who has been somehow linked to this project.
As this project moves forward, the production, completion of filming and post production is at very low risk.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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