Two European filmmakers embark on a thrilling journey through the great Indian wedding season. Their guide is Mahesh Shantaram, one of India's top wedding photojournalists. Together, they will bring a refreshing new perspective to a country that is emerging as a new global power.

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The project

***VISIT THE FILM'S BLOG TO FOLLOW THE SHOOTING !***

 

"Two European filmmakers land in India knowing nothing of the country other than the usual stereotypes of an exotic land. They meet Mahesh Shantaram, a photographer with a unique perspective to wedding culture, and join him on a six-week tour across the country during the great Indian wedding season - November & December 2012. With insider access to  the upper-middle class society and confronting its habits to their westerner’s point of view,  they bring a refreshing new perspective to an India that is true and unreal at the same time."

 

   

   

 

After studying photography for a year in Paris, Mahesh Shantaram decided to specialize in shooting weddings. But don’t expect to see the whimsical romanticism of a perfect union in his work - he’s retained the tradition of documentary photography from his days in Paris, each photo telling a story in itself with the utmost objectivity. It’s why Mahesh Shantaram’s lens is directed backstage, at the banal, the after-party, the supporting roles. It’s an approach that runs contrary to the usual representation of Indian weddings, for which families borrow heavily and everything must be perfect and resplendent.  

 

Like Martin Parr, whom the photographer cites as an inspiration, Mahesh Shantaram embarks on a reflection on society, with its emphasis on appearances and consumption. The choice of the wedding theme is certainly a brave one, considering the entrenched nature of the institution in India.  

 

Stéphanie Ravel - l'Agenda Golfe  

 

 

Mahesh Shantaram was a category winner in the Kodak-Better Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year awards. His personal project Matrimania has received international exposure, most notably the Sony World Photography Awards 2011, at the Photoquai biennale (musée du quai Branly, Paris), and PhotoPhnomPenh.    

 

 

 

We are Maximilien Van Aertryck and Vincent Bitaud. We met in 2010 during the Cannes Film Festival. Over the many screenings we enjoyed together, we quickly felt that we wanted to join forces and make films. The year after, we embarked for nine nights on a passenger ferry crossing the wintery Baltic Sea. The result was Icebreakers, a short documentary film that competed in many international festivals around the world, such as Visions du Réel and the Hamburg Short Film Festival. This encouraging debut helped us on the preparation of our much more ambitious next project, Matrimania the film.   

 

We imagine a film in two distinct parts: at first, the cultural divide between our western cultural backgrounds and the Indian setting will be what will strike us and our camera. During this acclimatisation period, we hope to shoot enigmatic scenes that will reinforce our outsider status (and that of the spectator as well). We want to invoke the insecurity of being in a new and strange environment while also capturing the excitement of exploring the unknown.  

 

In the second part, the understanding of what we witness will grow, and will enable us to understand more of this fast developing nation, and the conflict between its millennial traditions and a part of our own westerner's culture it tries to embrace.  

 

After traveling abroad, we often remember the beautiful landscapes we saw through the train window, or the song we did not understand a single word of that all the pub visitors ended up singing on a specific evening. We remember the smile of a grocer, which we gained after having said "thank you" for the first time in the national language. These are the feelings that the viewer will be caught in Matrimania's storytelling.    

 

 

 

The documentary format allows us to blend into our environment in order to observe it in the least obtrusive fashion. If we ever feel our presence changes the nature of what we film, we try to include that in the final result without hiding it from our audience.  

 

Starting with the film’s introduction we want to let our presence leak into the image. Without seeing or even hearing us, the people's gaze at our presence and one of our cameras will illustrate the special status of our attendance. Just like us, you will be led to question your own identity and the place it holds in a world packed on preconceived ideas.  

 

Unlike most documentaries that support the viewpoint of the filmmakers, our approach is based on touching you in a personal way through the natural power and drama of the images and situations we encounter. We aim to create an environment where you will be invited to feel like any other guests of these spectacular events, without being told where to look at.  

 

Our role as filmmakers is to bring you to a state of mind where your own feelings will step in, making the viewing of Matrimania a unique and personal experience.    

 

 

➔ LIMITED EDITION REWARDS

 

 

Click here to pick out your print !      

 

 

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Credits for the video :   

Wedding Photos : Mahesh Shantaram

Wedding Videos : Turei Cooze

Music : Bonobo - El Toro        

 

 

Why fund it?

Our first film, Icebreakers, cost 2000 Euros and every cent came from our pockets.

 

For Matrimania, which logistically is a much more ambitious project, we are reaching out to all you amazing crowdfunders to help us finance the most vital costs in the first and second phase of our journey. They will allow us to run a smooth shooting.

 

This campaign is 30 days long and will end a few days after we have attended the first marriage with Mahesh. After this date, we will crucially need your fundings and that is why we are going to rock this campaign together :-) !

 

 

➔ This is what we are funding ourselves

 

- 2 x Paris-Bangalore round trip tickets

- Lots of shooting gear, video and sound (2 x Canon DSLR cameras with 2 different lenses, an h4n audio recorder)

- Accomodation and food costs for the first two weeks of our shooting.

 

 

➔ And this is what we wish to raise with your help:

 

Travel costs in India: 3000 Euros (round trip inland flights for two people from Bangalore to: New Delhi, Chandigarh and Bilaspur. As well as bus and train trips connecting the airports to our final destinations)

Accomodation costs in India for the remaining 4 weeks: 1500 Euros (bed and breakfasts + rudimentary (but delicious!) dosas, chapatis and palak paneers for two people)

Rental of gear : 1500 euros (additional lenses and microphones, and a decent video tripod).

 

 

If you don't have the possibility to help financially you can always help us by spreading the word!

 

Maximilien & Vincent

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Jagön Pictures

Maximilien Van Aertryck and Vincent Bitaud are two French filmmakers, though Maximilien is also half German and Vincent half Luxembourgish. They live in Paris and Stockholm and found each other working for Nisimazine (film e-magazine) during the Cannes Film Festival. Together they embarked on a very particular passenger ferry to make the short... See more

FAQ Questions about the project

+ How will be the film be shown? Will it be posted online to watch for free? Basically what is the 'distribution model' once completed?

We gained a lot of experience in film distribution with our last short filmIcebreakers, since we distributed it ourselves and it competed in 15 international film festivals in Europe and the US so far.

We want to show Matrimania to as many people as possible. For its distribution we have a thoroughly thought through plan that begins with showing the film in as many festivals as possible. To name a few that we are especially considering at the moment - taking into account what kind of film this possible will be - there is the Rotterdam Film Festival, Visions du Réel in Switzerland (where we have already shown Icebreakers), the Toronto Film Festival, the Orizzonti section at the Venice Film Festival and Sundance in Utah. It goes without saying that we're aiming high :-)

What we are interest in is to talk about the film directly with our audience, for that we are already in talks with a cinema in Paris that wants to screen the film and organize a debate after the film with an external guest to moderate. We are also in talks with a gallery in Helsinki that wants to exhibit Maheh's series and show the film.

Meanwhile all our contributors will be able to watch the film at home via link or at a festival nearby of course.

After about one year of its so called "festival career" we would like to sell the film to television, probably first in France and Sweden as we reside here but not only.

Most likely 2 years after its festival premiere we will be able to show the film for free on the Internet for everybody to watch, download and share.

Finally we also have a wish to look into screening it in Indian theaters and festivals such as the annual Bengaluru festival that Maximilien already attended last year.

+ I want to contribute but don't have a credit card, how do I do?

Please contact us and we'll send you our bank details. We'll then add the amount to the campaign!

Last comments

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about 2 years
Bravo pour avoir bouclé la collecte en dépassant l'objectif ! Vous devez être plus sereins.
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about 2 years
Bon reportage ! Caro&Fred
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about 2 years
Et voici mon coup de pouce à ce très beau projet! Toutes mes meilleures énergies à votre équipe et bon tournage. Muchos besos clara