Indian filmmaker Rahul Jain, whose new film “Invisible Demons” has its world premiere at Cannes in the cinema for the climate special section, is prepping “Falling Star,” a limited fiction series.
Jain is developing the series, which is likely to consist of six or seven one-hour episodes, via his Jann Pictures. It will see him reunite with Heino Deckert’s Ma.Ja.De. FilmProduktion, who co-produced “Invisible Demons.”
The series was born out of Jain’s ongoing obsession with the concept of Anthropocene, a reference to the current geological age, during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. Jain’s specific target is the smartphone.
“Tt was my biggest desire to find a way to tell a story by which a sixth grader can tell you how a smartphone is made — from the mines of Congo to a technology store,” Jain tells Variety. “I wanted to find a way to express the multiplicity and the polyphony of the world we live in today in a technological, scientific and political manner. I mean, I thought, what else would there be a better way to do it than to go straight to the belly of the beast — talk about something that every one of us has in their pocket.”
Jain conjured an image in his mind of a satellite falling and a small child observing this, which he further developed. The series will see multiple storylines converging, with the main ones following a child miner in the Congo mining cobalt; a top Silicon Valley social media company executive; and a Chinese cyber hacker working for the government.
“It is a geopolitical ‘sci no fi’ series,” says Jain. “We’re hinting at themes of cyber war, space war, balance of imperialist power shifts from the West to the East and the culmination of the most used technological device in any species in history — the mobile phone. And the slavery at the base of it. We carry a piece of slavery in our pockets. All of us are complicit. And also, the implosion of the individual through the social media landscape.”
The bible for the show is ready and Jain will develop it with writers through the end of 2022 while other producers board the project.
Meanwhile, as revealed by Variety, Participant and French sales agent MK2 Films have teamed up to jointly represent worldwide rights to “Invisible Demons.”
Jain’s critically acclaimed debut feature “Machines,” which won Sundance’s best cinematography award in 2017. “Machines” went on to nab 17 international awards at more than 160 festivals.