From events to now documentaries, Entertainment Solution Providers (ESP) has come a long way and to add a feather on its cap is the proposed documentary on truck drivers, which won the MIPDOC co-production challenge at Cannes on April 10.
Vineet Gupta, Head ESP, said, "Documentary film making can be extremely challenging. In India, it's an expensive proposition and there are a few takers. So our real endeavour is to find suitable partners for co-production."
On how they clinched the challenge, Gupta said, "It was a fiercely contested pitch and our documentary on truck drivers in India called 'Highway in my veins' was selected as the best film from over a thousand entries. There were five producers who were shortlisted and we won the pitch."
Harry Amarpal Singh Bal and Rishi Rana Bhardwaj are the team members who represented the company at Cannes. Speaking on the film Bhardwaj said, "The idea for 'Highway in my veins' has been in research stage for nearly one-and-a-half years and shooting for the documentary is slated to be completed between June and September this year."
Singh added, "We had shortened the research period by relying less on indirect methods of Internet and archival research, and instead going directly into the field for getting hands on information and interacting with the truck drivers."
The proposed documentary traces the life of the truck drivers as they crisscross the country's highways, the harsh conditions, the humiliations they suffer and their long absences from home. The film narrates a story of this truck driver from Uttar Pradesh who gets tested HIV positive after indulging in unprotected sex. "Already a number of channels and international buyers have envisaged interest in the film," said Bhardwaj.
On the future projects, Gupta said, "We have three themes other than this in the pipeline. These include 'Bhikshuni,' which traces the life of Buddhist nuns, a film on the unknown facets of sandalwood smuggler 'Veerappan', and 'Floating Lamp on the Shadow Valley', a film on life in strife torn Kashmir."
MIPDOC is the leading international screening marketplace for non-fiction programming. Taking place ahead of the main MIPTV market, it provides a unique forum for screenings and the perfect sales opportunity for key documentary makers, buyers and distributors/sellers. MIPDOC 2005 has over 500 delegates from more than 50 countries making the biggest marketplace for anyone involved in the business of documentaries.
ESP Films, which makes TVCs, promo films and corporate films, is also toying with several other documentary proposals at the ongoing MIPTV market.