Palanquin Offers New Business Model for East-West Productions in SVoD Era

Variety | 3/18/2019 | Patrick Frater
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For Westerners making movies in Asia, logistics can be problematic. And, for Asian filmmakers able to navigate local conditions, screenwriting for international audiences and access to markets can still be stumbling blocks.

Veteran producer and executive Guy Louthan (“The Mist,” “Raising Arizona”) is now developing a business that straddles East and West, deploys American production standards and techniques, and maximizes Asian cultural impact. It also comes at a time when global interest in Indian and Southeast Asian content is growing thanks to the aggressive local production strategies of Amazon, Netflix and HBO.

Palanquin - Company - Louthan - British - Director

The Palanquin company that Louthan formed with British director Roland Joffe aims to bridge the gap with a slate of its own movies, close connections to local production services firms and a possible film fund once the business model has proved itself. He aims to provide full financial transparency and Asian creative involvement while delivering films that are likely to combine local and foreign locations, while using multiethnic casts in films that will be in English and local languages.

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India - SVOD - Audience - Bollywood - Norm

“(India’s) SVOD audience is very different from the Bollywood norm. It’s populated by young, educated Indians. Worldly, often well-traveled individuals who can afford a wide screen TV and high-speed internet. Those audiences are interested in seeing more contemporary, modern stories than the Bollywood standard,” said Louthan. But there is a problem. “(International SVOD companies) will quickly tire of the lack of transparency, chaos and unpredictability of local producers. Costs will go up, production value down and eventually they will likely want to flee.”

Louthan and Joffe previously tried to mount “The Lovers” [aka “Singularity”], a big-budget international film in India, but ended up relocating to Australia. Other recent examples of international shows that struggled with their production logistics include Michael Mann’s film “Dhaka,” which substituted...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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