There’s a sweeping view of the Seattle skyline, a bustling downtown street, Mount Rainier, a fancy house and a slick Tesla Model X. It all looks like a picture of the techie dream.
But the scenes are part of a trailer for “Vellai Pookal,” a new film made by tech expats from India who now work at some of the biggest companies in the region, including Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Facebook. The film opens in theaters on Friday and is the product of Seattle-based Indus Creations, a performance arts group that usually stages theater shows and makes short films.
Shot in Seattle and around the Pacific Northwest, the feature-length “Vellai Pookal” is a thriller about a retired police officer who visits his son in Seattle and soon begins investigating a series of disappearances. Indian actor Vivekh stars.
The film was directed by Vivek Elangovan, a senior program manager with more than 12 years at Microsoft. Vidhyashankar Balasubramaniyan, another longtime Microsoft employee, detailed the mix of tech and techies involved in making the project a reality in a post he wrote on LinkedIn and another he co-authored on Medium.
“Many of these engineers are new to movie-making, and worked weekends and nights over the course of two years to create this movie,” Balasubramaniyan wrote this week. “The team overcame the movie making inexperience by putting their tech expertise to good use with all aspects of production.”
Elangovan said in the post that he and his fellow filmmakers “strongly believe Microsoft’s growth-mindset culture and emphasis on learning and creativity motivated us to consider this moonshot goal of getting into movie making.” They also leveraged concepts like a marketing hackathon to identify ways to promote the movie.
The film, which is bilingual with Tamil and a mix of English and English subtitles, is slated to open in 20 theaters across the U.S. and another 200 in India. It is showing at the Cinemark at Lincoln Square in Bellevue, where it had a special premiere event last weekend.