"Tomorrow We Disappear" produced by Jim Goldblum, Adam Weber, and Joshua Cogan to be released in 2013.
For hundreds of years roaming artists traveled the Indian countryside, creating the stories, the mythological backbone that would unite a country. Before radio, film, and television, these artists helped form what we now call the Web of India.
In the 1950s the artists ended their itinerant routes and moved into vacant land beside a jungle in West Delhi. They called their new home the Kathputli Colony. The colony is now a tinsel slum, providing home to some of the world's greatest street magicians, acrobats, and puppeteers. But last year the government sold the Kathputli land to real estate developers; the slum is to be bulldozed and cleared for development.
Our film, "Tomorrow We Disappear," will take you into the world of the Kathputli Colony, to experience the last remnants of its unique culture before it's too late.
About a year ago, we found a short blurb online about how the Indian government had sold a magicians' colony to real estate developers. So we rallied two world-class shooters and flew to India. We landed at the Delhi airport, drove 20 minutes down the road, squeezed between two buildings, and found ourselves in an artists' labyrinth. We've seen a magician stick a knife through his son's neck, and acrobat pick up needles with her eyes, and a puppeteer's plans for a brand new colony. We have over 180 hours of footage, and only one case of parasites.
Here are some highlights from our recent two months in New Delhi:
-- We got a Phantom camera - the winner of the 2012 Technical Academy Awards, the Phantom Flex is maybe the world's coolest camera. And we acquired the only one in India, at an incredibly discounted rate (thanks, Harish Samtani!) for three stressful, exhausting, but inspiring days of shooting.
-- Performances - fire breathers, tall men, jugglers, acrobats, puppeteers, acrobats, and magicians; we shot beautiful footage with all of the top talent in the Kathputli Colony, and this time we were actually able to compensate these struggling but eminently talented performers for their hard work.
-- The Wedding - we filmed one of the most incredible weddings imaginable; elephants, candlelight vigils, and more paraded through the colony's empty streets. It may be been one of the last full-blown celebrations to ever sweep through Kathputli.
-- The Stories - we sat down with the colony's best-traveled performers and heard all the stories from their childhood growing up itinerant. We have myths of ghost children in the woods, elephants on the hills, losing a finger to the snakes in the jungle, and a variety of performances for the Indian aristocracy, everyone from Prime Minster Rajiv Gandhi to celebrated Bollywood stars. Incredible lives captured on film forever.
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About the Participants
Jim Goldblum is a Brooklyn-based producer and interactive director. His projects have won an Emmy for "New Approaches to Documentary," a Webby, and SXSW and earned coverage from The New York Times, Wired Magazine, USA Today, and CNN.
He is working with Adam Weber, a director and editor who has worked for major film and TV studios in both New York and Los Angeles. Adam is also collaborating with Michel Gondry as the editor on his untitled animated documentary about Noam Chomsky. Adam just wrapped work on Gondry's "The Green Hornet," and he previously worked as an editor on Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds."
Joshua Cogan is our Associate Producer and a Director of Photography. A photographer and anthropologist, Josh's poetic imagery of Jamaicans living out their lives with HIV won him an Emmy and a Webby in 2009.
Will Basanta is our Director of Photography. His previous film, Jess + Moss, premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews.
*Photo credit on all images: Josh Cogan / Rebel Yell