Debu Bhattacharyya, Documentary Film Producer and Founder, Theme Entertainment

13th Apr 2010
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Debu

Debu is the young entrepreneur behind Theme Entertainment which produces cutting edge documentary films.Debu was the International Winner at the British Council Young Screen entrepreneur Awards 2007. To follow Young Creative Entrepreneur Awards on Facebook click hereTo find out more about the British Council Young Screen Entrepreneur Awards click here

Debu had a brief stint at FEMIS (Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Métier de l’Image et du Son in Paris) on a scholarship from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of France. He has been a student of Film Direction & Screenplay Writing at Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute from 2001 to 2005. Passionate about his work, Debu talks to YourStory about his journey so far and future plans.

So how did your experiences in film school influence what you do today?

Well, I studied directing while in school, but I became fascinated by the other aspects of cinema as well. In particular, I became intrigued with production of films and the role of the producer.Studying in Paris at FEMIS was a lifetime experience that I'll never forget.One of my guest lecturers, Jacques Bidou, had a huge influence on me. He's my favourite producer. If I was pressed to choose an inspiration, I would also select him.

Europe has this great culture of documentary films, and I was keen to learn the lessons it had to offer. I hope to emulate a lot of that success here in India.

What does Theme Entertainment do?

We produce documentaries mostly based in India. We do not have a particular type of documentaries that we produce.

How did your association with British Council help you?

Debu

British Council ran a program called Creative Future; I was selected to take part in the Creative Future School at the Indian Institute of Management, BangaloreI won the Indian leg of the British Council's International Young Film Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 contest. I traveled to the UK to compete against selected candidates from other countries from around the globe in the finals

Theme entertainment also hopes to enlarge the documentary market in India. British Council has been very active in this space.

What are the challenges you faced in your journey as a Creative entrepreneur?

I am professionally trained when it comes to films making. I have studied film direction so that has helped me a lot, basically people did not question my credibility when i started, this has been a huge advantage.

Coming to challenges, I work in an industry where the perceived risk is much more than the real risk. People think it is more risky than it actually is. I knew about this and and was always prepared.

Preparation is the key.

Please share with us your future plans?

Through Theme entertainment I want to enlarge production of documentaries. I am keenly involved in developing documentary market in India. Simultaneously also getting into production of feature films.

But documentary films don't feature prominently in India, how can this change?

It's true. There is practically zero documentary film industry in India. It doesn't exist.The problem is that documentary films are associated with the growing independent film trend in India. This scares investors off, because they aren't willing to endorse what they see as risky ventures. They want stars,they want songs, they want the sure thing.

It's romantic to think of doing the entire process in-house and by yourself, but it's not possible. Quality suffers dramatically and it creates unrealistic time constraints.

What I do differently is to present my package from the investors' perspective, how it benefits them. My business model demonstrates our capacity to handle films year-round, about 12 documentary films a year plus three feature films.

This is the language you must speak in a cut-throat corporate environment.

Thankfully, I studied Economics and Statistics when I was younger. I employ the lessons I learned in these disciplines every day. You must market yourself, collaborate with others and work towards specialisation.

You see, I'm not directly involved in countless parts of the process. I only produce. I hire experts to direct and outsource other work to specialists. I firmly believe you should concentrate on one thing and do it well.

YourStory surely learnt about preparation and the importance of domain specialisation from this maverick young creative entrepreneur and we wish Debu loads of success. We will look out for his upcoming documentaries.

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