Days after writing a Facebook post about making a film and daring anyone to stop him (citing lockdown rules), renowned director Lijo Jose Pellissery has written about turning into 'an independent filmmaker'.
"For me, cinema is not a money making machinery but a medium to express my vision. So from today onwards I am an independent filmmaker," wrote the director of critically acclaimed Malayalam films as Ee. Ma. Yau. and Jallikattu.
He wrote that he would use all the money from his films to 'fuel better cinema and nothing else'.
Lijo also wrote that he would screen his films anywhere he felt was right 'because I am the creator of it'. This seemed to be a reply to the Kerala Film Producers Association (KFPA) which raised an issue about new films being shot when there were many shot earlier and pending release.
All movie theatres had closed in Kerala from March 11, after the government requested it, to contain the spread of COVID-19. Shooting and all production work too had stopped till June 1, which is when the government allowed work to resume with limited crew and following COVID-19 protocol.
At the time the issue about shooting new films was raised by the KFPA, Lijo wrote that he would make a film and asked who would stop him. A day later, he also posted, "Cinema is not a name but a decision."
On June 23, he posted a picture and wrote, "Rolling from July 1." However more details of this project were not shared.
On Friday, Lijo made the rather emotional post about cinema not being a money making machinery for him. "We are in the middle of a pandemic - a war - jobless people - identity crisis - poverty and religious unrest. People are walking a 1000 miles just to reach home. Artists are dying out of depression. So …These are times to create great art just to inspire people to feel alive. Just to give them hope in some form to stay alive," he wrote.
He added: "Don’t ask us to stop working. Don’t ask us to stop creating. Don’t question our integrity. Don’t question our self respect. You will terribly lose because we are Artists."