We are delighted to welcome writer and producer Andy Paterson back to the Rex to present this feature.  Tigers began filming in 2014 and is the true story of a young Pakistani whistleblower who took on a major corporation, and is set for release in India in 2018 after premiering at Toronto and San Sebastian.  Co-written with its Oscar-winning director, Danis Tanovic, the film starts Emraan Hashmi, Danny Huston and Khalid Abdalla.

 

Emraan Hashmi takes the leading role as a pharmaceutical salesman in Pakistan who discovers his new company's baby formula has killed hundreds of children, after which he begins a lone and dangerous battle against the company.

 

Thirty five years ago, millions of people began a boycott of infant formula manufacturers in protest at the aggressive marketing of breast milk substitutes which, due to unsafe water supplies and poverty, were leading to the deaths of millions of babies in the Third World.  The protests led to major changes; new regulations banned direct advertising and many people believed the problem had gone away.  It hasn't. 

 

In 2006 when Danis Tanovic was first told the true story that would lead to Tigers his first response was that he needed to go to Pakistan straight away.  He set off, with co-writer Andy Paterson, to Lahore and Sialkot to visit hospitals and talk to doctors. Wherever they went, it was the same response. The tactics may have changed, but the problem remained. Mothers were still being persuaded to spend their money on a product many of them could not use safely and infants were still dying.  The filmmakers experienced the same shock as the young salesman in the story; how could it be that decades on from an international boycott of one of the key infant formula manufacturers, the same old story was still being played out?

 
Their focus shifted to how the film should work. The true story focused on one young salesman working for Nestle, but they weren’t the only company making and marketing infant formula and the filmmakers wanted to make a more general point. So the decision was made to change the names, although the story – easy to find on the internet – would still have to be true in every detail, to ensure the film was legally safe.  The bulk of the story fell into place reasonably easily. The “hero” of the film was a struggling salesman. When he got a job with a multinational his whole neighbourhood rejoiced. He set out to be the best salesman they’d ever had. Then he realised the consequences of his work and tried to put a stop to it. He made big enemies, but fought the good fight before getting scared and making the mistake which would cost him everything – and allow the manufacturers to continue marketing their product unchallenged.  As the story shows, Ayan’s employers had stopped the TV broadcast of his story being shown by accusing him of fraud and blackmail. They assumed that would be enough to stop the film too.  It nearly was.
 
Andy Paterson's productions include The Railway Man, Girl With A Pearl Earring and Hilary and Jackie. 
 
Forthcoming productions include The Plutonium Club, a Cold War thriller set against the development of the British atomic bomb from a screenplay by Paterson and Olivia Hetreed, The Astronomer and the Witch, directed by Michael Hoffman, and Margot and Rudi.
 
Doors open at 7.30pm for an 8.15pm start, with an introduction and screening followed by Q&A.