Making the cut

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Miles Takeo Lobo won two best director awards for his gritty film ‘Negotiator’, at two international film festivals. NT BUZZ gets details

RAMANDEEP KAUR | NT BUZZ

Miles Takeo Lobo from Parra has been creating waves in the film circuit with his film ‘Negotiator’. Having won the Director’s Choice Award at the Gemstone Remote Film Contest organised by Alphaboat and Toho Cinema in Japan, more recently, he took home the Directors Choice Award at The Strasberg Film Festival, which is held annually at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York. This Institute is where Miles trained for two years. In fact, the institute is also the alma mater of Hollywood bigwigs like Chris Evans, Alec Baldwin, Lady Gaga, etc.

But Lobo first and foremost considers himself an actor. Having first trained at the FLAME School of Fine and Performing Arts in Pune, he then moved to New York to study method acting, following which he began acting.

“I acted in a few feature films and short films but nothing really major,” he says. Due to COVID-19 outbreak last year, he came back to India. But it was a struggle as people were hesitant to hire him because they did not know who he was.

“I realised quickly that in order to be seen or to help people see me in the right light, I needed to start making a number of films. And so during the lockdown last year, me and a few of my friends (Kevin Alvares and Leroy DeCosta) got together and formed KE Productions,” he says.

‘Negotiator’ is their first venture under the banner and sees Lobo wearing many hats – writer, director, and actor.

“When we shot this we were only two people on set; one cameraman and me. So I had to juggle a lot,” he says. Further, while usually an actor gets guidance from the director on his performance, in this instance, Lobo did not have that. Besides, he says, he is not a professional director either.

“Kevin and Leroy used to shoot weddings in Goa and they have always wanted to enter the film industry but they had no contact or idea how to do it. So we got together to work on films. However, when we were shooting our film, we were very scared because I am not a director and the two of them have not shot a film before,” admits Lobo.

But the trio knew that they wanted to showcase high quality content which is entertaining for everyone to watch, especially Goans.

And all in all it was a good experience, says DeCosta. “We got to experience a lot of things like the coordination, up and downs, rehearsals, storyboarding that go into making a film,” he says, adding that they are now better prepared to shoot for future films.

While Alvares meanwhile enjoyed having full control of the set from choosing the location to choosing the lights, atmosphere, etc. But he also learned about the amount of preparation that goes into making one perfect shot for the film. “There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes and a lot of commitment from our end to get that perfect shot. But overall I had a lot of fun,” he says.

And going further Lobo hopes to change the stereotypical way that Goa is portrayed in films. “Bollywood especially has portrayed Goa in a way that it does not seem very realistic. The Goans that they use in their films sound very weird and have a very weird accent which is very funny and entertaining but it is not us,” says Lobo, adding that while there are a lot of artistic, independent films being made on Goa which are beautiful, these, in his opinion, do not have any mass appeal. “As a kid growing up in Goa I never wanted to look at some dying art form in Goa or some indigenous tribe and their culture, etc,” he says. But on the other hand, he says, he would look at Bollywood films and get perturbed as this was not how he saw Goa.

And so when Lobo returned from New York, he realised that Goa makes for a very interesting setting and has a lot more than just beaches. “I thought to myself: ‘Why can’t a dark story happen here? Why can’t thriller happen here? Bad things happen in any place. It could happen in Goa, too’,” he says. And that is what KE Productions hopes to do. “We just wanted to showcase Goa like the way we Goans see and to bring out Hollywood grade films,” he says.

And their next project ‘Dog Fighter’ is already in place. This project sees Miles and his team at KE Production House collaborate with Goa’s up and coming brother and sister music duo Merak! The two artists Belinda and Brandon Mendes provide the vocals and score, respectively. Also, shot during last year’s lockdown this is an experiment to see what an international standard action movie based in Goa would look like. “It’s taken a bit more time to release as we couldn’t find an editor to help us out causing us to do it ourselves, but it should be up by end of this month or beginning of next month,” he says, adding that they shot this three-minute action concept in a budget of `14o rupees only.