Distributor Forum Films has signed a first-look deal with Temple, the Sydney-based production company headed by Anupam Sharma.
The first two projects confirmed for distribution include Melbourne-based thriller Honour, which looks at the issue of dowry deaths and domestic violence within the newly arrived Indian bride community in Australia, and feature documentary Bollywood Downunder, which is a musical and tongue-in-cheek look at Australia’s links with Bollywood.
Both projects are directed by Sharma and were announced in Mumbai last year at a ceremony hosted by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklan as part of AACTA’s Asia International Engagement Program.
Other projects in the deal include Bill Bennett thriller Defiant, and Grant Scicluna’s Chantou. Forum will release the films across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
Sharma said: “The distribution and production space has changed dramatically particularly in relation to diverse Australian content, which has historically struggled for theatre space. It is a boon to have a major distribution company like Forum Films, which specialises in niche cinema, on board to take these films to more audiences through the big screen. My crew will now be working with even more enthusiasm.”
The news comes as Forum Films – which specialises in Bollywood and Punjabi films – looks to distribute more mainstream, diverse Australian titles.
Forum Films managing director Pritesh Raniga said: “Forum was founded by my father in Fiji due to his great interest and passion for the movies. Because of this it was only natural that I watched movies from a very young age. From hiring theatres to run dedicated shows on weekends, today we have access to mainstream theatres with more and more theatre owners interested in screening Asian movies. With a rapidly growing diverse population in Australia, Forum found it natural to take the next step and look at distributing diverse Australian films particularly those related to Asia/India.”
Forum Films Australian head Kartik Mohandas said: “It’s imperative that we branch out and exhibit the diversity that we see in our communities. There are some very diverse and exciting films being made in Australia today by talented independent filmmakers like Anupam. We would love to collaborate with these professionals and bring their products to the cinemas.”