As filmmakers no doubt know, landing a distribution deal is anything but the final step. In fact, there is still plenty of work to be done in between the moment a film gets picked up for distribution and the date it hits theaters. It’s not uncommon for a small independent film to be acquired by a mid-size distributor on the condition that the filmmaker take responsibility for the cost of delivering the final version of the film.
This is the exact narrative that unfolded for the comedic documentary “Meet the Patels,” which was picked up by Alchemy (formerly Millennium Entertainment) back in February. Most recently, the film’s co-directors, Ravi and Geeta Patel, launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $60,000 to put towards the delivery of assets in time for the August theatrical release.
“Meet the Patels” is a family comedy about the powerful bond between parents and their children. The narrative of the film centers on Ravi, an actor-comedian who, as he nears his thirties, begrudgingly (but also partly out of desperation) allows his parents play matchmaker. Unbeknownst to Ravi’s parents, however, their son is in the midst of nursing a broken heart, having just ended his relationship with his secret white girlfriend of three years.
In a recent interview over email, the Patel siblings told Indiewire that the relationship with Alchemy began about five months back. “The conversation was about whether or not this film could be the next ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding,'” they said.
Given the overwhelmingly positive response from audiences at festivals all over North America, there is no question that the film has a widespread appeal. The main challenge for “Meet the Patels” is that it will be competing for attention alongside the summer blockbuster films, which benefit from much larger marketing budgets put up by the studios.
Having traveled to screen the film at more than a dozen festivals, hustling on behalf of the film has become second-nature not only for Ravi and Geeta, but also for their incredibly charismatic parents. When Indiewire spoke to the brother-sister directing duo a little less than a year ago, as they were getting ready to screen the film at the Los Angeles Film Festival, Ravi described the film as a family project. “Geeta and I always say, the success of the film has already happened because of what it’s done for our family. Not only the experience it’s given us, to do something together, but also how much closer it’s brought all of us, which you see onscreen in the film. The movie, more than anything else, is really about our family and about how this specific time in my life was also a time of evolution for our entire family. As a result, we’re so much closer together.”
The Patels, mom and dad included, are currently developing what Ravi and Geeta describe as a “guerrilla marketing campaign” to get audiences to go see the film in theaters come August. “We know the film has been a crowd pleaser, however we still have to do the work to let audiences know about it and get them into the theaters,” said Ravi and Geeta. “Dad is coming up with some amazing shenanigans, one being putting signs in people’s yards. Wouldn’t that be amazing?”
Yes, it sure would.
To learn more about “Meet the Patels” you can watch the trailer below. To learn more about their Kickstarter campaign, click here.