Back Story

A local entrepreneur produces his fourth film and signs a distribution deal with Sony Music.
Trap City
Bright Lights: A crime thriller, “Trap City” is set for a spring 2021 release. // Photograph Courtesy of Tel K. Ganesan

Tel K. Ganesan isn’t afraid to follow his creative spirit. A former engineer at Chrysler Corp. in Auburn Hills, Ganesan struck out on his own in 1998 and started Kyyba Inc., a software, electronics, and IT staffing firm in Farmington Hills.

In 2017, in the midst of transitioning from the day-to-day operations of that enterprise, he got the urge to launch Kyyba Films. The production and distribution company, also based in Farmington Hills, is now set to release its fourth movie next spring, in partnership with actor and producer Brandon T. Jackson, B4 Entertainment, and Nasik Rav Media.

“I never had a lifelong passion to be in the film business,” says Ganesan, a native of India who earned a graduate degree in mechanical engineering from Wayne State University in 1991. “One day I just went ahead with it. At the time, there was a lot of film activity going on in India, and Bollywood was becoming a growing presence.”

As president and CEO of Kyyba Films — the name is a reference to a popular character in a video game — Ganesan, along with G.B. Thimotheose, a partner and executive producer, have overseen the production and distribution of “Devil’s Night — Dawn of the Nain Rouge,” “Christmas Coupon,” and “Celebrity Crush.”

Their latest picture, “Trap City,” follows an aspiring rapper who works as a courier for a drug lord. Just before he’s arrested, one of his songs goes viral, and the song’s popularity is further fueled by his subsequent legal issues. When the authorities give him a choice between going to jail or testifying against his former employer, the rapper, played by Jackson, learns a hitman has been hired to kill him.

“Nearly every film made in America attracts a wide audience in India and other international markets, and we (believe) ‘Trap City’ will be a big hit,” Ganesan says. “There’s also a soundtrack of 16 songs that will be released with the movie. The film is all about redemption, love, and inspiration.”

In addition to films, Kyyba focuses on music albums and videos. To help expand its reach, the company has partnered with The Orchard, a Sony Music subsidiary, in a direct distribution deal. “We’re looking to help individual artists reach a broader global audience,” Ganesan says. “In a way, films and music are just like building cars. You do test studies, decide on a product, produce the product, and then release it and hope for the best.”