Fire in the Blood, a feature-length documentary film produced by Sparkwater India, Mumbai, has been selected for the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, to be held January 17-23 in Park City, Utah, USA, and thus nominated for the coveted Grand Jury Prize. It is a unique achievement for an Indian film to be selected for this competitive section at what is considered to be the world's leading showcase for independent cinema.
"Sundance is the world's most prestigious platform for independent and documentary films, so for our first feature-length production to be selected is a truly immense honour", said Writer/ Director/ Producer Dylan Mohan Gray. "This, to the best of our knowledge, is the first documentary film of international scale and scope to come out of India, and to be chosen for the World Cinema Documentary Competition and nominated for the Grand Jury Prize out of a massive pool of submissions from talented filmmakers everywhere is extremely encouraging in terms of the future prospects for this film", he added.
Sundance received a record 12,146 submissions this year, among which were over 4,000 feature-length films. From these, just 12 U.S. and 12 international films were selected for competition.
"Whenever anyone asks me what Fire in the Blood is all about, I always say it's about the crime of the century. I felt totally compelled to make this film because the historian in me first could not believe, and then could not accept that there was not a single film or even book in circulation which told this endlessly fascinating and important story," said Gray. "Sundance is the biggest and best possible stage for films like this, and I am immensely grateful that the festival selectors shared our view that this is a story the world absolutely needs to know about. And, without giving too much away, I'm certain that the hugely positive leadership role played by India and Indians in turning this story from one of unspeakable horror into one of hope and resurrection will be a great source of inspiration and pride for audiences in this country and beyond."
"Getting a film selected for the Sundance Film Festival is an immense honour and a tremendous achievement for Dylan, who has spent five years making this film" said Executive Producer Christopher Hird of Dartmouth Films in London (The End of the Line, Black Gold, The Flaw and John Pilger's The War You Don't See), adding "Sundance is the festival which sets the agenda for independent film for the rest of the year and so I confidently expect that Fire in the Blood will be seen around the world and have a noticeable impact on public attitudes and public policy, as well as telling an important contemporary story about India."
Fire in the Blood will be released in Picture house and other select cinemas around the UK and Ireland on February 22, 2013, in partnership with Dartmouth Films. This will be an unprecedented British theatrical release for an Indian independent or documentary film.
Theatrical release in India is tentatively planned for April 5, 2013.
ABOUT THE FILM
An intricate tale of 'medicine, monopoly and malice', Fire in the Blood tells the story of how Western pharmaceutical companies and governments aggressively blocked access to low-cost AIDS drugs for the countries of Africa and the global south in the years after 1996 – causing ten million or more unnecessary deaths – and the improbable group of people who decided to fight back.
Shot on four continents and including contributions from global figures such as Bill Clinton, Desmond Tutu and Joseph Stiglitz, Fire in the Blood is the never-before-told true story of the remarkable coalition which came together to stop 'the Crime of the Century' and save millions of lives in the process.
As the film makes clear, however, this story is by no means over. With dramatic past victories having given way to serious setbacks engineered far from public view, the real fight for access to life-saving medicine is almost certainly just beginning.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s Western governments and pharmaceutical companies blocked low-cost antiretroviral drugs from reaching AIDS-stricken Africa and other parts of the global south, causing 10 million or more unnecessary deaths. This is the untold true story of the improbable group of people who decided to fight back.
The untold true story of how an unlikely group of people took on giant pharmaceutical companies and major Western governments to stop 'the Crime of the Century' and save millions of lives.
ABOUT DYLAN MOHAN GRAY
Trained as a historian, Mumbai-based Indian-Canadian filmmaker Dylan Mohan Gray has worked as first assistant director and second unit director on feature films in over two dozen countries with numerous leading directors including Fatih Akin, Peter Greenaway, Paul Greengrass, Deepa Mehta and Mira Nair.
Fire in the Blood is his first feature-length film as writer/director.