Diaspora vs Avant Garde

In an interview with the Guardian, Turkish-German filmmaker Fatih Akın has this to say about his audience, in particular the Turkish diaspora vs those in Turkey itself:

This can make pleasing everyone a bit tricky: his films tend to meet with a better reception in Turkey itself than among the emigres, perhaps because any uprooted traditionalists are more liable to be rubbed up by Akın's unvarnished, street-level portraits. He sees it as purely a matter of numbers, the same problem faced by any director working outside the mainstream: "It's just the avant-garde who like my films. In Turkey, you have 60 million people and an avant-garde of a couple of hundred thousand. But in Germany, you have just 2.5 million. Most came here for economic reasons and work, and they're not from well-educated circumstances - so the audience for my films is probably only 2,000 to 3,000."

This is a challenge faced by any diaspora filmmaker. Take South Asia - are desi diaspora films likely to do better amongst NRIs in the USA or in India directly? NRIs tend to be better educated, yet their tastes tend to stick to whatever fare they were seeing back in India. However, those in India are likely to be more adventurous. Akin's argument about the sheer numbers making an avant garde audience possible even more the case here. Lack of box office numbers and the weak rupee prevent my listing any diaspora films that did better in India than abroad though. Perhaps Hyderabad Blues?

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- February 19, 2008 10:47 AM // Diaspora , Film