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The India  Pavilion Shines At Cannes

The  inauguration of the India Pavilion at the ongoing Cannes Film festival was  a treat to all cinephiles and India watchers.Hosted by noted actor Sharad Kelkar, the Indian delegation present consisted of H.E. 

Vinay Mohan Kwatra, Hon’ble Ambassador of India to France, Ashok Kumar Parmar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of I&B, Govt. Of India, Prasoon Joshi, Writer, Poet and Chairman, Central Board of Film Certification India, Vani Tripathi Tikoo Member, Central Board of Film Certification, Producer and Director, JeromePaillard, Executive Director, Marche Du Film Festival, Cannes Film Market (not in picture), Huma Qureshi, Film Actress, ShajiKarun, Film maker, Jahnu Barua, Film maker and Bharat Bala, Film maker.

 Says a  source  from the delegation, “With a strong delegation from the country, the agenda this year is to showcase diversity in films of our country while furthering collaborations with various other countries.

Jerome Paillard added saying “The Indian Pavilion is a very important tool to help connecting the worldwide European and worldwide community of films.”

Speaking about Indo-French Cinema collaboration Vani Tripathi Tikoo, said “It is a fantastic relationship, we have had, both with the Cannes film festival and the French film industry. In recent times films like Tamasha and Befikre were shot extensively in this part of the world and found great resonance with the narrative story telling between the two countries.”

“One of the major reasons why the members of steering committee from the international film festival of India, Goa are here, is to ensure deeper collaborations between Goa as a film festival with filmmakers across the world.” She added.

 During the Inaugural address, Prasoon Joshi said “I am happy that the national awards this year and the ministry have taken special efforts in showcasing the regional cinema at such platform. We should also reach out to young filmmakers who might not have access to a festival like this. Let’s create many mini Cannes film festivals all around the world to help more and more filmmakers.”

 Filmmaker Jahnu Barua shared his thoughts saying India has great content in terms of cinema and so far only a little has been exposed to the world. “There is so much more to explore.” He said.

 Filmmaker Shaji Karun spoke about how the Cannes Film Festival helped him with his very first film saying “Cannes discovered the filmmaker in me. It gave me an opportunity to get my film recognized here in France and in other countries.”

 Today, with such platforms, filmmakers are getting share their films with the world” concluded Actress Huma Qureshi whose first film Gangs of Wasseypur was screened at Cannes in the Directors Fortnight section in 2012.

 A meeting between the Indian delegation and Ms. Isabelle Giordano, Director General, Unifrance,  M. Loïc Wong, Director of International Department, CNC, France along with Ms. Valérie L’Epine-Karnik, CEO, Film France was held to explore co-production opportunities between India and France.

CBFC Chairman, Prasoon Joshi spoke about a single window clearance to help ease the shooting of films in India.

Mr. Wong spoke about the challenges they face while looking at co productions with India like Visa and no tax rebates. On this, Mr.Parmar informed them about various policies that are being put in place to make co-production smoother in India.

 An interesting session on Co-creating magic through co-productions was Moderated by Colin Burrows, CEO, Special Treats Productions. This session was attended by  Vivek Agnihotri, film maker, Marc Baschet, Producer, ASAP films: Co-producer of “Lunch Box”, Christoph Thoke, Mogador Film, Germany, Elizabeth Koshy, Producer from U.K., Daljeet Parmar, Producer

 Filmmaker, Vivek Agnihotri spoke about involving a partner from the script level to ensure smooth execution. He also spoke about how two very different cultures meet for a co-production giving an example of making a film in co-production with UK. “While there everything is on white paper and we have to follow the clock, we Indians were just ready to do everything at any hour. But the amalgamation worked wonderfully and I received a lot of help from the UK government.

 Collin closed the discussion hoping there will be few more co-prductions that will take place very soon between india and other countries on which Marc said that India is a beautiful country with very talented people and good locations. “We had a very good experience with Lunchbox”. He concluded.

 Kangana Ranaut dressed in a stunning black sari and a retro hairdo made an appearance at India Pavilion and participated in a Q&A session that was conducted by Prasoon Joshi, Writer, Poet and Chairman, Central Board of Film Certification India.

When asked if she has redefined the power equation in an industry where male stars call the shots, Kangana said, “I am not an exception. Earlier discrimination between men and women was based on men being physically superior to women. Today, an actor and an actress do the same job. This has made people question, ‘if they are working as equals, then why aren’t they getting the status of equals? This has brought about a certain shift in the perspective of audiences.”

Talking about four national award winning regional films, Village Rockstars (Assamese), Bhayanakam (Malayalam), Nagarkirtan(Bengali), and Sinjar (Jeseri, Malayalam dialect spoken in Lakshwadeep) being part of the line-up at the Indian pavilion Kanganaadded, “It is very endearing that our regional films – Bengali, Malayalam, Punjabi, Assamese – are getting such a platform and will be showcased here. Someone made a film for the first time in Lakshwadeep and it is getting such a grand platform at Cannes.”

 Kangana also acknowledged how some films require the patronage of the government and revealed how her upcoming film had also received support. “As far as promotion of a film is concerned, some films need the support of the government. Our government is also making a lot of films tax free, especially the biopics and inspirational films. For my next film ‘Manikarnika’, we are being supported by the khadi board as we are trying to promote handmade fabrics.” She concluded.

 A round table discussion was held to explore collaborations with countries like Brazil, Philippines, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan, Canada and New Zealand where the film commissioners from these countries discussed the opportunities and challenges for co production with India.

The discussion was held with the Indian Delegation, consisting of Mr. Prasoon Joshi, Writer, Poet and Chairman, Central Board of Film Certification India, Vani Tripathi Tikoo Member, Central Board of Film Certification, Producer and Director, Jerome Paillard, Executive Director, Marche Du Film Festival, Cannes Film Market (not in picture), Shaji Karun, Film maker, Jahnu Barua, Film maker, present were Mr Steve SOLOT, Executive Director, BRAZIL, Mr  Johannes Koeck, Head of Cine Tirol Film Commission, AUSTRIA, Mr Truls KONTNY, Head of Film Commission Norway, NORWAY, Mr Arie BOHRER, Film Commissioner, AUSTRIA, Mr Bas VAN DER REE, Film Commissioner, NETHERLANDS, Mr Mikael SVENSSON, Certified Film Commissioner, SWEDEN, Ms Jennifer JAO, Director, Taipei Culture Foundation, TAIWAN, Mr David SHEPHEARD, Director, Vancouver Film Commission, CANADA, Ms Marijana STOISITS, CEO, Vienna Film Commission, AUSTRIA, Ms  Annabelle Sheehan, CEO,NZFC and Ms Marielle POUPELIN, DIRECTOR, Telefilm, CANADA

 While Mr. Joshi spoke about how the government is taking concrete steps to ensure smooth collaborations, he emphasized on the need for an eco system to cross-fertilize.

 Mrs. Tripathi spoke about the treaty with 13 countries for co-production and how India had 27 international productions last year.

Most of the film commissioners proposed a single window to access information about credible producers and inquired about incentives. In answer to their queries, Mr. Parmar informed them about film fund that is being set up along with a website that will have information about potential Indian collaborators with their body of work. He also informed that policies to regulate all such facilities should be in place soon.

 Mrs. Tripathi spoke about exploring a possibility of participation of these film commissions with International Film Festival of India that is held in Goa each year and would enter the 50th year in 2019.

The discussion concluded with Mrs. Tripathi inviting them all to be part of IFFI this year.

 A round table discussion was held with the heads and management of various Indian studios and production houses to see how films in different languages could become more viable and what the government could do to help filmmakers in the country.

 Present were Mr. Ashok Parmar, Joing Secretary, Ministry of I & B, Govt. Of India, Mr. Prasoon Joshi, Writer, Poet and Chairman, Central Board of Film Certification India, Vani Tripathi Tikoo Member, Central Board of Film Certification, Producer and Director,Shaji Karun, Film maker, Jahnu Barua, Film maker, Ahish Saxena, Leena jaisani, Assistant Secretary General, FICCI, Ajith Andhare, COO, Viacom India and

 The first recommendation that Mr. Andhare had was to establish a production funding from the government that makes a project viable for corporates to back.

 Mrs. Tripathi spoke about how many states like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have tax rebates and other incentives like helping filmmakers with locations while Mrs. Jaisani spoke about an initiative that government had started to help films with P & A after it goes and gets acclaim at festivals. Mr. Andhare still insisted that corporates would rather still look at monitory help for producing a film.

 Mr. Bala said, “We have audiences for smaller films, we need to ensure that those films get released well”.

 Mrs. Tripathi showed her concerns saying, “Smaller films are getting voices but they still do not have access to corporates that is required to push such great content”.

Mr. Andhare commended government’s effort with National awards this year and suggested a dedicated forum to recognize non mainstream film. Mr Andhare concluded the discussion saying the commercial risk is reduced if production cost is taken care of and hence we would still look at an economic support to make a film.

 An interesting discussion on films from different region of India moderated by journalist Bharadwaj Rangan took place in the presence of Sharad kelkar, Actor, Rima Das, Filmmaker, Village Rockstar, Allu Shirish, Film Producer.The conversation started with how the films in different language are slowly being accepted pan India.

 “I come from Assam and there are not many theatres there. I live in Mumbai now and made the film without much struggle but now to market and release the film is challenging.” Said Rima talking about her journey of making Village Rockstar that won the national award this year.

 “People are showing interest in the film from various parts of the industry. I get to know about this from social media but as an independent filmmaker it is very difficult for me to put in my own money and risk it in releasing it theatrically”. She added.

 Allu spoke about films being made with talent from two different language industries and make a film for audiences across India and that change happen after the release of Babubali. “Bahubali has got us respect and I am sure more films would be made in this format.” Said Allu.

 On dubbed South Indian films doing well on television, Allu said, “Country is still developing and the masses are watching films that has more connect. People who are watching world cinema have shifted to Netflix kind of platform hence the dubbed south language films are doing well on television”.

 Sharad Kelkar backed this comment. “Many people got to know me after I dubbed for the voice of Bahubali. Films are getting wider audiences if the film is good. Language is a lesser barrier now. Lai bhari or Sairat made in Marathi have done well theatrically and people from many cities have watched it.”

 “We need to be convinced ourselves as makers about a film before convincing others”. Sharad concluded.

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