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George Pius of Wide Angle Creations talks about his Cannes Experience for Dheepan

French film Dheepan won the prestigious Palme d’Or award at the recent Cannes Film Festival and it has quite a lot of South Indian connections.


Wide Angle Creations who were involved in the production of films like Billa 2, Yaavarum Nalam and Papanasam, to name some, were the line producers for Dheepan too. Interestingly Wide Angle is also associated with Kamal Haasan’s upcoming Thoonga Vanam.


George Pius of Wide Angle Creations in a brief chat shares about Dheepan and the Cannes experience


How did Dheepan happen?


Dheepan as a project happened to Wide Angle Creations because of another French film that we had done earlier. It was Michel Spinosa’s Son épouse. Eighty percent of the shooting of this film happened in India. We got on board this film through a company called Ex Nihilo. Subsequently when Ex Nihilo was executing another project, they had come back to us and we had also done the recce, but later the shooting of that film was coinciding with the shooting of Papanasam and we could not take it up.


When Dheepan was happening, they needed to shoot a portion of it in India. Ex Nihilo recommended us to Why Not Productions (Dheepan). That’s how we got the film.


Dheepan team came here and I took them around Rameswaram, Mandapam and Ooty. They were coming here only with the skeletal crew and rest of the support was to be provided by us. We put up a huge camp in Mandapam. Dheepan basically happened because of our earlier commitments.


Any challenges?


Not really! We are familiar with the processes here when a foreign crew comes as regards formalities and procedures. Having already worked with a French film earlier, we knew the way they work and were familiar with their functioning. Director Jacques Audiard (Dheepan) was quite relaxed and everything went on well. We really did not face any challenges as such.


The shoot itself was only for eight days here but the pre-production took two weeks. We were shooting with 300 junior artists. That was a challenge. Jacques rehearsed one day prior with all the 300 junior artists; so when we went into the shoot, it was pretty neat. Everybody knew what they were supposed to do.  


How was it to walk the red carpet at Cannes?


It was a wonderful experience, a lifetime opportunity. We were already into the pre-production of Kamal’s Thoonga Vanam when we got the call from Paris. Suresh Balaje (Wide Angle) and I decided not to miss this opportunity. We were happy to be a part of the entire process and celebration there. We had to rush back here as we had to start shooting for Thoonga Vanam. After we landed here we got the news that we got the Palme d’Or.


We are very happy about the recognition. The general impression is that only Mumbai based companies can execute such work. But the award certainly reiterates that one can look for quality work from the South too.


Kamal’s reaction


He was very happy when he heard the news. He is a man who is passionate about cinema and when I told him that we won the award, he was very excited and was telling people around. The fact that he reposed faith in us to do Thoonga Vanam after Papanasam feels good and also reassuring. 


Congratulations George Pius and Wide Angle Creations!


George Pius of Wide Angle Creations talks about his Cannes Experience for Dheepan

People looking for online information on Dheepan, George Pius, Papanasam, Thoonga Vanam, Wide Angle Creations will find this news story useful.