Hollywood filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov will bring his Screenlife filmmaking format to India through Hindi language productions.
The Russian origin director known for films such as “Wanted” (2008), “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” (2012), and “Night Watch” (2004), has partnered with Graphic India and Reliance Entertainment, under which they will develop a slate of original local language films leveraging the Screenlife genre in India.
In the first phase of the new partnership, Bekmambetov and Sharad Devarajan of Graphic India will be working closely with Reliance Entertainment on the development and production of the three films by up-and-coming Indian filmmakers and storytellers. The first project has been finalized, and is expected to go into production early next year.
The Screenlife movie format is one where the story unfolds as seen on the screens of devices such as smartphones and computers. The format made a massive breakthrough in 2015, when Bekmambetov produced “Unfriended”. The film grossed $65 million worldwide with a budget of $1 million. He followed that up with his 2018 thriller production, “Searching”.
Talking about the deal, Timur Bekmambetov said, “Screenlife films are universally relatable to people around the world, and audiences intuitively understand this storytelling language, because it’s how we live. I believe our devices can reveal more about a person than they would ever say out loud, because we never lie to our screens.”
To this, Shibasish Sarkar, Group CEO, Reliance Entertainment, added: “India is one of the world’s leading fastest-growing entertainment economies. We are delighted to partner with Timur and Sharad to bring Screenlife, a new digital onscreen film making language, to India and provide a new and powerful platform to showcase talent of Indian writers and directors.”
Sharad Devarajan of Graphic India shared, “We strive to push the boundaries of storytelling with new genres and experiences, and this wonderful partnership with Reliance Entertainment will give us an amazing opportunity to showcase some of India’s pioneering filmmakers and creators.”
The Screenlife format has proved to be effective to shoot films amid the Covid-19 pandemic as it is more flexible, making it possible to shoot remotely, ensuring safety of the cast and crew.
Bekmambetov’s production banners are now working on a Screenlife adaptation of a classic, “R#J” (Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet), a sequel to “Searching”, as well as developing a new thriller titled “Resurrected”. –ians/sug/vnc