Don Chronicles is about the son of a Mafia lord, who seeks revenge from his father for killing his would-be bride. He recruits some top-notch wannabe gangsters to steal data about most of the underworld financial control, which is protected by his father and his partner. But in the process, he doesn't realize the betrayals he would come across. Will he get his revenge, will he forgive his father, or will he end up being the supreme leader of the underworld as his father intended?
Deepak Savanur, born in a small town Hubli, grandson of the award wining producer F.D Sali, educated to become a Physical Therapist and currently pursuing PhD in Neuroscience & Robotics. His interest in entertainment stems from his childhood where he would perform dance and theater at different venue. Growing up he was influenced by Bollywood and always dreamed of making an entertaining film. At age 23 he came to USA to study Masters in Physical Therapy and ended up working in Indiana. He was also involved in a local dance company, Bollywood Beats, performing, choreographing and teaching young children. Due to the Pandemic overnight his dance school was halted and struggled to find any platforms. Deepak and his team decided to use digital platform to showcase their artform and soon produced and directed a lot of short films, the most popular being Don Chronicles. There have been two releases in the Don Trilogy and all the secrets will be revealed in the third instalment. Deepak's vision is to produce and direct movies which will be critically acclaimed as well as entertaining. His goal for 2022 is to get to Sundance and Heartland Film Festivals.
Please introduce yourself and tell us about your education and your interest in cinema.
Deepak Savanur, born and brought up in a small town called Hubli in Southern India. I got my inspiration right from childhood by my Grandfather who was a movie producer. I was also was enamored by the colorful Bollywood films and participated in various Dance and Theater shows. I completed my Bachelors in Physical Therapy and came to USA to pursue Masters. I got busy with family and my career due to which my passion for movies was on a back burner. An opportunity arised during Covid when the dance school I used to teach got shut down and we improvised by starting making dance videos to showcase our student’s talents. Eventually it lead to producing, directing and acting in our first production, Don Chronicles.
Seeing and reading what works aroused your interest in this medium, and as a result, what works do you owe your education in cinema to?
Bollywood and Hollywood movies have always inspired me. I never went to any film school, but while growing up we had a Video rental place in our neighborhood where my brother and I would rent and watch many video cassettes. We saw every movie which ever arrived in that store and that was where I built my ideas about what movies were and what I would like to see on screen.
Tell us about your first project. What difficulties did you have in the beginning?
Don Chronicles 1 was produced with a mere budget of less than $900. We had a small script, had a day to shoot and we were all new with great energy and passion. When we released the video, we got a great response and support from our community (Indiana). We also got a local Business Tycoon who loved Bollywood movies to reach out to support us. The challenges were none of us were trained actors, we all are either full time employees or students and we had no experience in production. We all learned on the job. There was one situation where we had blocked a weekend at Michigan to film the finale stunt scene using Snow mobiles. We postponed in from November to March due to Covid, and when March came, there was no snow. So we literally changed our whole plan in 3 days and filmed the finale in a Jungle/wooded cabin. We later used ATVs and Polaris as our stunt mobiles for the final chase. It was very challenging as well as a memorable experience.
Is it more important to have a budget, or to have the mind to find salvation solutions in critical situations?
A basic budget is very important to know the realities of what the technical needs of making the movie. We didn’t take into account the post production expenses which was more than we had expected. However, all our team mates were less worried about money and more concerned about the quality of the movie. Honestly, we did not compromise, but improvised. And there were many sacrifices from everyone in the production from cinematographers, actors, support cast, family, friends and every place we visited. I believe that the destiny had aligned all those people to help us finish this dream project.
Do you think film festivals help filmmakers?
I would like to believe they do, as when we started out making this film trilogy, we never imagined we would get any critical acclaim. But due to the film festivals showing their support and love, helped to solidify our foundation and help us get the much needed exposure and validity.
Tell us about film production companies. Can one, as an inquisitive filmmaker, count on production companies?
Yes. We sought the help of Zaahi Productions which owns a local studio. We pitched them our ideas to make a very different music video for our end credits. They listened, they helped us with production and providing an amazing end product. We learned a lot form them.
How much of the future of cinema do you think is in the hands of powerful companies like Netflix? Hmm… who knows what the future holds? Currently the platforms like Netflix, Prime Video, Peacock, Hoosier Films, and many others are great avenues which provides artists places to express, provide some financial stability over investments. But the public who watches the movies are the kings. Eventually their interests will control the way these platforms will shape in the future. If a movie or a story is really good it will bring friends and families together. It will be a subject of conversation at the dinner table. There are some movies I would never watch on TV or net flix as I feel there is a magical sense of immersion when I watch the same movie on big screen. And I am sure there are many many fans like me who think the same. So, the Power is actually in the hands of the audience… not necessarily Netflix. Nothing is constant in this universe.
Is cinema, as some say, dead, and should we expect television and Internet broadcasts to be gaining more and more power?
Cinema is not dead, it’s going through a transition. Cinema is evolving and the survival will depend on the most creative who is also adaptable. But we need to see powerful creative stories on screen to bring the fans to the movie theaters.
What skills do you think a filmmaker needs to have?
Is it necessary for the filmmaker to personally understand many specialized subfields? It’s helpful for filmmakers to have different skills which makes the process easier and less expensive. However, more than that the film makers should believe in themselves, their stories and their team. This is my personal experience and I don’t think we could have done justice to our first time project if it wasn’t for the passion, hard work and the trust we had in each other to complete our dream movie.
Tell us about your next project?
I have written a few stories which may go into production as we wrap up our final film festival season for the year. The one close to my heart is “Life Matters”, which revolves around three perspectives from different races with the back ground of racial unrest during peak of Black Lives Matter. It’s a very powerful story through the lens of the audience when they see the first scene and what they perceive, but when the story reveals itself(it will be filmed in reverse) the audience may realize how their perception was wrong. There is also a project I have written which is futuristic in India where there is a Traditional Indian arranged marriage that happens between two families, but between two same sex couples. It’s kind of a satire of the usual shenanigans of an arranged marriage but raises awareness or questions on the current societal norms which sometimes makes absolutely no sense. There are also a couple of music videos we are working on and also a Children’s movie in 2023.