When I arrived in San Jose for Cinequest this evening, a man approached me and offered me a DVD containing the animated short Guidolon the Giant Space Chicken. Apparently they missed the deadline to get into the festival, so they were just handing out DVDs. [Edit: I have since heard that they did submit it but didn’t make it into the festival, though the short has done well at other festivals.] I haven’t watched it yet, but the whole 11 minutes is apparently available online at the web site linked earlier in this paragraph.

The film I was really here to see tonight was Outsourced, a film about a Seattle man sent to India to set up a call center to replace the people who work for him, and of course his own replacement too. At first I worried that the film was going to have fun at the expense of the Indian people, and while it does do some of that, it makes as much fun of the Americans, and does it all in a surprisingly charming way. IMDb classifies this film as a comedy, and that’s mostly true, but there are touching moments and some romance as well. The main two characters are Todd (Josh Hamilton, who starred in a film called On_Line from Cinequest 5 years ago) and Asha (Ayesha Dharker, who apparently had a small part in Star Wars Episode II). By the time the film was over, both had transcended my expectations from earlier in the film. This is my favorite film of the festival so far.

The director was there to answer questions after the film. Here are a few things I wrote down from that:

  • The film is partly autobiographical, based on times the director traveled in Nepal and India
  • He has wanted to tell this story since 1993
  • Someone asked if they considered subtitling the Hindi that is heard in the film, and the director prefers that the audience be in the same boat as Todd, and for Hindi-speaking audience members to get a bonus
  • Josh Hamilton had been to India and was eager to go back, which helped him get the part
  • Ayesha Dharker understood her character better than anyone else who auditioned for that role
  • It was filmed in Bombay (30 days) and Seattle (2 days)
  • The director was the angry caller near the end of the film
  • A horror movie was filming next to where they shot a rooftop scene, and smoke kept blowing into the shot, and the screams interfered as well
  • The color celebration shown in the film is real, is called Holi, and coincidentally this year is 3/4/2007 (the date I saw this film)
  • The music was mostly composed for film, though some songs were not (such as the opening and closing songs, which were done by the Bombay Rockers)


Above is the director on stage during the Q&A. The light wasn’t very good without a flash.

I give it 3.5 stars out of 4 stars.

Seen 3/4/2007 at Cinequest.


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