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Interview Team : Kaushik L M; D Meera Chithirappaavai

Dream Factory is a film distribution & marketing company which has been formed by leading producers - K.E.Gnanavel Raja, C.V.Kumar, Elred Kumar, Y Not Sashikanth, Abinesh Elangovan & Laxmanan. This firm has been involved in the distribution of quite a few films such as Sarabham, Madras, Yaan, Kaaviya Thalaivan, Enakkul Oruvan, Komban to name a few. In this interview, Kaushik chats with Sakthivelan, Film Distribution Head at Dream Factory about the firm, its motives and more aspects of the trade.

The beginning ...

“The crucial part of a movie is distribution. Inspite of a great script, narration and star cast, the business of the film is what really matters. Having said all this, we decided on having a distribution company that will handle the distribution of a film throughout the state. Though 2-3 similar distribution companies existed, they sold the rights of few minor areas to local distributors. This made us arrive at a decision to start up an organised distribution company for the state of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Eventually we went out to set up 12 centres with proper office administration facilities throughout the state to execute this plan. This is how a proper distribution network like Dream Factory started!”

The people involved ...

“Due to high production cost and the trend of wide release, individual distributors started reducing in the industry. Few years back, a distributor was able to purchase the rights of a film worth 1 crore with just 20 lakhs as the initial investment. Gradually, this became impossible due to the reduction of deposit amount from theatres, and the swing of direct release began. This threatened the future of many small films, and that is when a group of producers like CV Kumar, Abinesh, Elred Kumar, Sashikanth with similar thought processes came together with K.E.Gnanavel Raja to establish a firm of this kind. The mystery of releasing a Tamil film was unlocked by our company.”

The trend of new wave cinema and its distribution.


“This period can be easily identified as post the film Attakathi, which released on 15th August, 2012. It was after this project that films with newcomers gained good response from the audience and performed well in terms of finances too. The reasons for this healthy trend are social media and extensive promotions. And also thanks to digitisation of cinema. People bring films made out of CCTV camera footage with a production cost of 10-15 lakhs! Now even films with low production value and moderate casting find their spaces at the box-office.”

People bring films made out of CCTV camera footage with a production cost of 10 - 15 lakhs!

Film to Digital ...


"Initially, a film used to hold 5 to 6 prints maximum as the cost of one print used to be 50,000. A theatre would get an individual print only if it could collect more than 50,000. After digitisation, the cost of one print is just 10,000 and a theatre that can collect up to 15,000 itself gets an individual copy. This is both a boon and bane to the business of a film as it leads to the loss of release strategy and prior planning."


The importance of a good movie watching experience.

"A person comes to a cinema hall to have a good movie viewing experience. This experience can be enriching only when the visibility, seating and ambience are good. Screens in rural regions should rework on their facilities, and elevate their standards. In future, we would like to take up small theatres, renovate them and make the movie watching experience better for the people in rural areas too."

The lucrative regions.


"Chengalpattu stands first in terms of the share value, next is Coimbatore. The opening collection is driven by Chennai City."


New marketing plans.

"Every movie has a different marketing strategy. Innovations in this area are vital as flat mundane marketing falls short in results."


The irony of the film distribution business.

"In any business, the producer determines the guarantee period of the product. For example, a tube light company declares 6 months minimum guarantee for its product. Contrastingly, in film distribution the buyer determines the minimum guarantee of a film with respect to the producer’s previous records in place. The understanding of this primary concept itself will make a company successful."


Your personal note.

"The number of release screens for a film should be reduced. When I strategically worked on a few things, what I inferred was, if a movie has the potential to collect up to 6 crores, the number of opening screens should be limited to 125 - 150. When you go beyond this count, one is spending only for the digital content and posters, thereby failing to receive any returns. In the name of wide release, we are only looking at boosting the screen count, which is commercially of no use. The success of Ghilli and Paruthiveeran stands as examples to this fact. If the industry wants to witness an upliftment in business, we must play it low with the number of screens."

If a movie has the potential to collect up to 6 crores, the number of opening screens should be limited to 125 - 150.



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