Hunting Tigers: Moviemaker Lena Khan navigates a middle road to get her first feature made
by Lena Khan


TigerHunter-300x300Sometimes I think people mistakenly assume that if you’re a filmmaker, you’re either working in Hollywood, or you’re a DIY moviemaker making a film on a set where nobody eats, nobody sleeps, and definitely nobody gets paid.

Having worked on both sides of the fence—at a production company (Participant Media), as well as doing my own low-budget work—I can understand the disconnect. I also know, however, that there is a middle path: a road full of possibilities, where independent filmmakers do have the potential to raise a hefty budget, get a distributor to buy their film, and live out their happy dreams without worrying whether or not they’re part of the Hollywood elite.

For the past few years, I’ve been working on my own film, entitled The Tiger Hunter. I worked on the script for years, honed it with story editors until folks in the industry thought it was a marketable piece, got it budgeted, and then spent the next year bringing on board amazing and experienced team members and raising hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of dollars from investors.

I don’t hang out with millionaires, and I don’t have secret Hollywood connections. In fact, I didn’t know a single one of my investors personally. To live out that “happy dream” on the middle path, I realized, would take a lot of work, and a very smart approach. As I spend the next year trying to get The Tiger Hunter made, I hope to share some of that approach with other filmmakers in my same boat.

On the day that I write this, one of my colleagues—an independent filmmaker like many of us—just got his feature film picked up by a major distributor.  There are possibilities out there, and maybe we can all get there if we put our heads together and share our strategies.

Recently, I’ve also launched a Kickstarter campaign to get some of the last of our financing. The campaign is in its final stretch (and still needs pledges), but I hope we can get others to come on board and support. (For just a dollar, I’ll be giving a PDF that will share how we got the film made, from financing to distribution.)

My philosophy has always been simple: I hope people can join because it’s an awesome movie, but also because I’m doing what I can to share what I know. We can all be in this together. Hit or miss (though I have confidence in the “hit” part), I hope we can learn from my successes and my failures. That “middle path” I spoke of? It’s waiting for us.

Visit the Kickstarter campaign for The Tiger Hunter, and follow its progress here over the foreseeable future.

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