New Delhi: Dylan Mohan Gray's hard hitting documentary 'Fire In The Blood' has generated a good buzz throughout the globe. Now, the film has been released in India and is receiving rave reviews. Dylan speaks about the struggle and the wide canvas he covered during the research for 'Fire In The Blood'.
Q: Which incident prompted you to come up with such a hard hitting documentary?
A: I stumbled upon the subject more or less by accident some nine years ago and it quickly became a personal obsession of sorts. Only after having been captivated by it for a couple of years did I start to think about making a film, since it seemed to be best suited to a non-fiction treatment and that's not where my background lay.
Q: The film showcases the amount of research it needed. Which research methods you opted for 'Fire In The Blood'.
A: I researched for about six months. Obviously that included reading lots of books, articles, academic papers and interviews, but then also going out and doing research interviews with many of the protagonists and venturing into the field, because the story had for the most part only been sketchily documented. There was still a lot of research to do piecing the film together even long after the bulk of it was shot. The whole process took a solid five years.
Q: The film focuses on the third world countries but it's universal in appeal.
A: For me this film is about a crime of almost unfathomable proportions and a giant scam which continues to be perpetrated against the people of the world, rich, poor and in-between. Our experience showing it in 25 countries during the past nine months has definitely been that it speaks to people of all profiles and descriptions, in every part of the world.
Q: What do you think is going to be the future of AIDS patients in India and Africa in near future? Are they going to get cheap medication?
A: The big concern is that people on ARVs (antiretroviral medicines which control HIV/AIDS) will eventually need to switch to different drug regimens, and many of the newer formulations are under patent and not available in generic form, which in turn means that they are incredibly expensive. The same horrific story described in the film could well be repeated in the years to come, and many of those who were saved, in many cases at the last possible moment, could again find themselves facing death because they can't access the medicine they need to survive.
Q: Who do you think is responsible for such a situation?
A: Western governments, led by the US and European countries with major pharma conglomerates headquartered in them, meaning the UK, Germany, France and Switzerland, will go to almost any lengths to promote the interests of big pharma, even if that results in great suffering, hardship and unnecessary death among their own populations, forgetting completely about people in other countries, especially developing countries. The name of the game is monopoly; if you have one, you can charge whatever you like for your drugs, and the brand-name companies have found over time that they make significantly more money selling very high priced products to a tony sliver of the world's population than they would selling affordable products to a plurality of humankind.
The film has appealed common as well as influential people in the same way. 'Fire In The Blood' is the only Indian film to be selected in the main competition of top 5 international film festivals in the past couple of years. It is narrated by Academy Award winner William Hurt for free as he understood the importance of the film.