(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) -- Weaving through Mumbai traffic in deathtrap auto rickshaws, bribing corrupt officials and working in a shantytown; fighting against time, language barriers and equipment failure sounds like the plot of a Hollywood action movie, but for independent filmmaker Michael Keller, that's just the making-of story for his feature Red Gold. The micro-budget crime drama, which Keller traveled alone to India to direct, will premiere at the Garden State Film Festival in Atlantic City, N.J. on Saturday, April 5. The screening will be at 8pm in the Resorts Horizon Room.
Red Gold is the story of a poor Indian boy who is desperate to save his family from crushing debt. He is coerced by a local kingpin to sell his kidney. When he is cheated out of his money, he vows to steal the criminal's bloody business, for survival and revenge.
Inspired by his research on the global, underground organ trade, Keller made the film to expose real injustice that happens to destitute people worldwide.
"We live in a sanitized culture where most of us who are healthy never have to think about our organs, while in many parts of the world, some people who live in poverty are coerced into giving up an essential part of their body for almost nothing," says Keller. "It goes underreported and unacknowledged. Vital organs travel up the socio-economic ladder from poor to rich, as if only certain lives have value."
The film was shot entirely in a slum in Mumbai, using local talent, with a total budget of less than $10,000. In addition to directing and co-producing, Keller also wrote, photographed and edited the feature. Although he didn't know anyone in India before he arrived, once there, he was privileged to meet co-producer, Srivinay Salian, and recruit a team of collaborators, who came together to see the project through.
"This production was a trial by fire," says Keller. "There were days when I didn't know if the film was going to be finished. Ultimately, I could not have done it without the amazing, talented friends I made in India."
For more information on the film, including a trailer, production stills and latest news, visit http://www.RedGoldTheFilm.com. To learn more about the Garden State Film Festival or buy tickets, visit http://www.GSFF.org.
Red Gold Teaser from Michael Keller on Vimeo.