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“Horn and Ivory”: A Cinematic Odyssey by Vineet Yadav at the 21st Chennai International Film Festival

December 14, 2023
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The film ‘Horn and Ivory’ has been selected for screening on the 16th of December 2023, in the category of Indian Panorama at the 21st Chennai International Film Festival. Says first-time producer Latha Warrier, “We are very grateful to the jury and are delighted at the selection. We are also proud to be sharing the same platform with other eminent film makers like Vivek Agnihotri’s ‘The Vaccine War’ among others.”

The film ‘Horn and Ivory’ is a psychological crime thriller. A ninety-three-minute feature film that revolves around the story of an aspiring and struggling young actress who is bent on realizing her dreams. The conflict arises when she no longer can distinguish between what she wants and what she thinks she wants out of her career in Tinsel town. Thus, the film’s name Horn and Ivory. A literary phrase that comes from the Gates of Horn and Ivory, the gates of true dreams and false dreams.

‘Horn and Ivory’ was conceived by the Writer and Director of the film, Dr. Vineet Yadav, when out on the Lonavala-Rajmachi forest trail, hiking with friends. What started out as an idea for a short film, eventually grew into a full-length feature film. In fact, the film kept evolving and changing in many ways.  For one the name of the film changed from the working title “My Rainbow, My Colors” to “Horn and Ivory”. The story was initially created around an Indian protagonist but an amazing chain of events brought the talented young, Russian actress Daria Gavrushenko into the team. Almost immediately Daria fell in love with the story and the strong character portrayal of Myra, the central figure in the plot. Determined to give it her best, Daria worked long hours to completely sink into the character’s skin. Ironically the film took far more time in its preparation than in the shooting. The entire film was shot in a record number of days. ‘Horn and Ivory’ is indeed a testimony to the fact that good films do not need to take long to make or have huge budgets.

Despite having much less than a shoe-string budget to work with, there were no compromises on quality. Red Helium 8K cameras were used for the shooting and the result is world-class cinematography. Additionally, the idyllic location shots of the island on which the story is based, the vast expanse of the forests with the sheer cliff drop and the Red Square in Moscow make the film a veritable, visual feast. 

“This film was fated to happen” exclaims the Producer, pointing out how chance conversations with friends led her both to meeting Moscow-based Julia, another brilliant actress who helped organise the shooting overseas as well as to contacts within the forest department who eased the way with filming the movie’s climax. Adds Warrier, “Thanks to which, we were able to focus solely on our work of making a good film, without having to worry about the more burdensome logistics of how the film would be shot.”

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