This year, my feature script INCOGNITO was an IFP partnership project at the Film Bazaar in Goa, India. INCOGNITO is the story of a seventeen-year-old girl who teams up with her father to help the Pakistani Prime Minister—on a secret pilgrimage to India—dodge an assassination attempt.
November 18, 6:40 am. At the Dabolim airport in Goa,a Film Bazaar driver greeted me. He began driving me and a Mumbai Film Fest programmer to the Grand Hyatt. For a second, I thought he was driving the car on the wrong side of the road. Then I realized I was in India! Experiencing the flow of traffic was as exciting as being inside a video game, and, eventually, the Mumbai Fest programmer requested our driver to slow down.
The Grand Hyatt, spread out over 28 acres, looks as though it’s been around forever. The concierge, who walked me to my guesthouse, told me, however, that the hotel was built a year-and-a-half ago and mimics a Portuguese architectural style (Goa is a former Portuguese colony). There is an ancient church on the property. I could hear the sounds of tropical birds from my hotel room.
Every day, the filmmakers at the Grand Hyatt took a half-hour shuttle to the Marriott where all the Film Bazaar meetings took place. There was never a dull moment at the INCOGNITO table—my producer Cher Hawrysh and I met French, German, Indian, Australian, and even Polish producers! (Also attached to INCOGNITO are the producing team of Matt Parker and Carly Hugo).
An Australian producer Robyn Kershaw (SAVE YOUR LEGS) warned us that she had difficulty figuring out why there was a separate line item in her Indian budget for “spotboys.” A spotboy in the Indian film industry is a person who serves tea and food to the crew. Indeed, heroic spotboys kept the co-production attendees adequately caffeinated during the four-day event.
One of the highlights of Film Bazaar was meeting festival programmers like Charles Tesson from Semaine De La Critique/Cannes and Cameron Bailey from the Toronto International Film Fest. Mr. Bailey also gave an excellent presentation on TIFF during the Film Bazaar’s Knowledge Series panels.
Fast forward past a whizzing round of lunches, cocktails, and a Polish dinner, and by Nov 24th, it was already time to pack my bags and brace myself for the 35-hour trip back to the U.S. Thanksgiving doesn’t get any more productive than this!