The subject of India’s Kathputli colony, home to a number of performers, puppeteers and magicians, is one that has been tackled before, but never so effectively as it has by directors Jimmy Goldblum and Adam Weber in their documentary feature “Tomorrow We Disappear.” In the inspiring film, Goldblum and Weber detail not only the lives of these artists, but their place in a future that may not hold a place for them much longer.
Tell us about yourselves. Adam: I came up through a fairly traditional Hollywood route, working under the legendary editor Sally Menke (“Inglorious Basterds”). I also edited Michel Gondry’s documentary on Noam Chomsky, “Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?” Jimmy and I were college roommates.
Jimmy: I’m a director and producer who got his start mostly in the world of interactive and transmedia storytelling. An interactive narrative I produced, “Live Hope Love,” won the Emmy for “New Approaches to Documentary” in 2008.
What was your biggest challenge in completing this project? Jimmy: So many. The weather in Delhi can be searingly hot and smoky. Adam drank bad water; that was daunting, to say the least. Also, many people have tried to cover our subject in the past, so some of our subjects had preconceived notions of what we wanted their story to be. It took some time and a lot of shared chai to get everyone to actually be honest with us.
Adam: We also don’t speak Hindi. But that also became an advantage when people would just ignore us, forget they were laved, and just talk amongst themselves.
What do you have in the works? Adam: We’re developing a couple projects together and independently. We have an episodic travel show that we want to shoot a pilot for early next year. And we’re writing a comedy series that closely mirrors the experience of making this film over the last three years.
Jimmy: We also hope to direct some more commercials and branded docs through our company, Old Friend. I’d also love to collaborate with Youtube on something. I feel like it’s the interactive equivalent of live theater, with the immediacy of the audience response.
Did you crowdfund? If so, via which platform? And if not, why? Adam: We launched a Kickstarter in 2011, in what we consider that website’s early days, and we did really well: raising nearly $62,000 from over 500 backers.
Jimmy: The rules of how to run a Kickstarter weren’t as well set in those days, so we kinda winged it. We ended up coming back from India with 9 duffel bags worth of puppets and quilts and other stuff. We essentially became a temporary e-commerce store for the Kathputli Colony. Super inefficient, and we had to bribe the people at customs. But yeah, we love Kickstarter.
What camera did you shoot on? Adam: Our DPs, Will Basanta and Josh Cogan, shot mostly on Canons: the 1D and 5D and L-series lenses. But we also brought India’s only Phantom Flex into the colony for a week. That was a logistical nightmare but also a ton of fun.
Did you go to film school? If so, which one? We were both English majors at the University of Pennsylvania. We’re writers and neurotics, but on this film we teamed up with a lot of fantastic people from both the USC and NYU film programs.
What films have inspired you? One of our editors, Hye Mee Na, recommended us Isao Takahata’s “Pom Poko” early in post. It really clarified a lot of our themes and was easily the biggest influence on this film.
Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about
their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and
what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up
to the 2014 festival. Go HERE to read all the entries.