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The unreal real

Two Britons, Jamie King and Peter Mann are out with a fictional documentary

Photo: Sampath Kumar G. P.

On a different note The filmmakers feel that many documentaries are not telling the truth and perhaps fiction is a better medium to seek the truth

“Do you know what Dark Fibre would be called in Hindi or Kannada,” asked Jamie King as I walked into his and Peter Mann’s, semi-furnished apartment. After I assured him that I hadn’t the slightest idea of what he was talking about, he explained: “Dark Fibre is a technical term which means an unused fibre that could be used in a network. That is also the name of the film that we are here to shoot in Bangalore.”

The two Britons are in Bangalore for the next four months to direct “Dark Fibre”, a fictional documentary on the cablewallahs of Bangalore. While the concept of a fictional documentary sounds strange, Mann’s clarification on why they chose this format helps: “If you think about it, many documentaries are not telling the truth and perhaps fiction is a better medium to seek the truth.”

The two of them met in London at a documentary film screening and decided to make, “Dark Fibre”.

“The cable networks in India are completely unregulated. Such networks could not even be imagined to exist in any Western country,” said an excited King. The film proposes to examine the lives of the cable TV providers and the status of their political activities. The plot is immensely creative, slightly funny and the format has great potential to convey the duo’s ideas which is to examine how “information relates to dreams”.

King also feels that this is stage two of “Steal This Film”, a documentary made by King set in Sweden that argued against intellectual property rights.

The film, which was distributed on the Internet through peer-to-peer file sharing protocols, has been downloaded more than six and a half million times.

Ask King about his past, and words like journalist, activist, film maker, philosopher pop out, but the word that sticks on is ‘anarchist’ and it is evident that King relishes that!

Mann also shares King’s passion for critiquing intellectual property rights but as he explains, his reasons are slightly different.

“When I was working in TV commercials in London you could not use a company logo or music in any of the commercials that we were making. It is absurd if you think about it, when you can’t use noise that is available in the public domain and you have to pay thousands of pounds for it.” Mann, who has been a photographer and director in London, has also had some experience in making documentaries.

The most exciting part of “Dark Fibre” is its proposed distribution. King and Mann want to ‘release’ it through the grey markets, including it among the pirated DVDs for sale.

“Say you go to National Market and you want to pick up a copy of the ‘Dark Knight’, you will also get ‘Dark Fibre’,” giggles King as he explains, “We are also planning to use the existing cable networks to release it direct to people’s homes.” Casting is on for “Dark Fibre”, a Roman Rain Films Production. Actors who are interested in auditioning can contact Jamie King by e-mail at jamie@darkfibre.in

VIKHAR AHMED SAYEED

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