Cannes Film Market

India at Cannes 2021

admin   July 5, 2021

The Virtual India Pavilion at Marche Du Film provides Indian delegates with an opportunity to meet and conduct business with leading members of the international film fraternity thus creating a global footprint for Indian Cinema. This is a one point contact for Indians at Cannes. The interactive sessions at the India Pavilion are the sought after ones. The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, in partnership with FICCI, is organising the India Pavilion.

The objective behind India’s participation at Cannes Film Market is to promote Indian films across linguistic, cultural and regional diversity so as to forge an increasing number of international partnerships in the realms of distribution, production, filming in India, script development and technology, thereby accelerating the growth of the film sector in India.

There are close to 100 online delegates from India at Cannes Film Market this year.

India has audio visual co-production treaties with over 15 countries — Bangladesh, Canada, China, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Spain, UK & Northern Ireland, Bangladesh and Russia.

The 52nd Edition of IFFI 2021 will take place from November 20-28, 2021. The 9-day cinematic feast will embrace the works of a wide variety of filmmakers across the world with masterclasses and knowledge series. Asia’s oldest event of its kind, IFFI still holds on to its pre-eminent position as a showcase of cinematic excellence. IFFI has remained steadfast in its emphasis on showcasing the diversity of Indian cinema as well as in its commitment to the celebration of excellence across movie making genres.

Film Facilitation Office (FFO), set up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, acts as a single point of contact for filmmakers to get all the relevant information about India’s film industry ecosystem, and help them navigate through filming guidelines of key Central government Ministries and State governments. http://www.ffo.gov.in

Marathi cinema is the flavour from India at Cannes. Maharashtra Film, Stage and Cultural Development Corporation has supported half-a-dozen Marathi filmmakers to participate virtually at the Cannes Film Market. It has selected two films to represent at the Cannes Film Market – Ananth Narayan Mahadevan’s ‘Bittersweet’, which examines the plight of sugarcane crop workers; and ‘Mee Vasantrao’ which is the biopic of Vasantrao Deshpande directed by Nipun Dharmadhikari.

Marathi Film

6th July
3 pm – 4 pm IST / 11:30 am – 12:30 pm CEST
The official opening of the Virtual India Pavilion

7 July
3 pm – 4 pm IST / 11:30 am – 12:30 pm CEST
Showcasing International Film Festival of India (IFFI)

5 pm – 6 pm IST / 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm CEST
Filming in India

8 July
3 pm – 4 pm IST / 11:30 am – 12:30 pm CEST
Co-productions: New markets, New possibilities

9 July
3 pm – 4 pm IST / 11:30 am – 12:30 pm CEST
Film Production: Challenges faced & learnt in making global films

10 July
3 pm – 4 pm IST / 11:30 am – 12:30 pm CEST
Taking Indian Content to Global Markets: Importance and role of film festivals in the age


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India, the Window of Opportunity

admin   June 15, 2021

The policies of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, are fully geared towards realising the complete potential of the M&E sector by forging global partnerships and providing an enabling environment by lowering market barriers and propelling growth

In the rapidly changing global media and entertainment landscape, India has emerged as a window of opportunity to position itself as a hub for audiovisual services for the rest of the world. Media and Entertainment is one of the champion sectors supported by the Government of India. The incentives for the audiovisual services that closely match the sops given by various other nations are already finalised by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. They are waiting for the appropriate time to announce incentives that is set to handhold industry in the aftermath of Covid-19 pandemic.

India has probably one of the most liberal investment regimes in the media and entertainment, information and communication sector amongst the emerging economies with a conducive foreign direct investment (FDI) environment and ease of doing business.

Digitization and the growth of the internet are reducing many barriers to market entry and creating opportunities for smaller companies’ offering skills and services in new forms of content creation for various platforms.

In the current scenario, the Indian animation (IPs included) and VFX Services have gained a lot of traction among the international producers and production houses. In the following pages we have curated 15 animation co-production projects seeking partners at Annecy/MIFA 2021.

In the aftermath of coronavirus pandemic, Indian media, entertainment and technology services are witnessing new growth opportunities on the back of growing offshore services domain, especially in animation, VFX, gaming, AR/VR and digital media, among others.

Many companies have created top-end studio facilities in India that serve as single windows to fulfil the needs of the M&E industry (Technicolour India, Deluxe). Their international business model offers local and remote clients the opportunity to produce and co-produce and distribute content anywhere around the world.

Media & Entertainment sector has been supported by the Government of India as one of the champion sectors with immense potential of growth both within and outside the country. Media and Entertainment is also among the sectors that clearly has made an impact of Make in India, Show the World. For services it is Make in India, Serve the World.

The role of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is to facilitate the industry to create jobs and growth for the sector. The government’s efforts are driven towards creation of forums and forge partnerships to keep the momentum going.

Content produced for Indian media sectors holds tremendous potential for global consumption. With a significant diaspora population residing overseas, Indian content is a key tool for these communities to connect with their cultural roots.

The Indian film industry is fairly unique in the world. The country, along with America and China, is among the few that can sustain their industry domestically. You can make a film just for India, or even one region within India. Once when the Government gives green signal to open theatres there are over 83 films waiting to be released in India. OTT players like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney + Hostar, ZEE5 have brought in a transformation in expanding Indian content reach to over 100 territories across the world.

CO-PRODUCTION

India has audio visual co-production treaties with over 15 countries — Bangladesh, Canada, China, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Spain, UK & Northern Ireland, Bangladesh, Russia. It is now possible for filmmakers of different countries to come together and make films under bilateral co–production agreements. Co-productions under these agreements are more beneficial to filmmakers than a purely commercial partnership between two individuals or entities. New markets and audiences would be available for the product, especially if collaborations and partnerships are between nationals of different countries.

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is currently finalising incentives for co-production, filming under the champion sector scheme. In addition to films, TV Series, Web Series, Animation will be also be included in the co-production projects.

AUGMENTED REALITY

The Augmented and Virtual Reality, the two spectrums of immersive technology, will form the next frontier of growth for the M&E industry. For India, AR/VR can open up new creative avenues. According to a report, the Indian AR/VR market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 76 percent over the next five years, fuelled by demand from business and consumer sectors. The past few years have witnessed the emergence of over 200 AR/VR start-ups in the country. Bengaluru and Hyderabad take the lead, attracting a big chunk of these start-ups, followed by Delhi and Mumbai. Among states, Karnataka and Telengana are actively promoting AR/VR startups by providing incubation, mentoring, idea validation by experts, opportunities to deploy pilots with various departments, along with fund support for eligible ones. This was the major takeaway at the recently concluded Global AVGC Summit FX 2020 organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

VIDEO GAMES

Dinesh Gupta, Director and Co-Founder at Sacom in one of the the recent Pickle columns mentioned massive growth opportunities in video gaming. Statista’s Global Digital Market Outlook pegs the digital media market at US$ 172,502mn in 2020 with a 9.8% year-on-year growth projection. This forecast was adjusted for expected global impact of Covid-19 pandemic. Video Games share with a projected market volume of US$ 92,633 mn and 11.41% growth over previous year dominates the digital media market with a close to 54% worldwide share. This makes the Video Games industry much bigger than Video-on-Demand, ePublishing and Digital Music put together. Majority of the revenues for video gaming are contributed by mobile gaming which is likely to contribute as much as 60% in 2020.


MIPTV to Feature David Beckham’s first TV keynote

admin   March 18, 2021

MIPTV has announced David Beckham as a keynote speaker at Digital MIPTV, which this year takes place exclusively online from 12-16 April.

A global sporting icon, football club owner, entrepreneur and founder of production company Studio 99, in his first in-depth television industry keynote, will talk about launching his own production company, his global ambitions for Studio 99, and current projects in production and development for a variety of global networks among other things.

In Conversation with David Beckham, hosted by award-winning Director and Producer Ben Winston, will take place on Tuesday 13 April at 18.00 CEST, and will be available on catch-up until 14 May.

David Beckham OBE is one of the world’s most recognised personalities. After retiring from a football career that saw him play for over 20 years at some of the world’s most successful clubs, David has established himself as a successful entrepreneur, working strategically and creatively with many of the world’s leading brands.

His independent brand management operation, DB Ventures, manages a number of partnerships including with Diageo, Adidas, Tudor and EA Sports in addition to overseeing investments such as Guild Esports plc.

In 2018, he fulfilled a lifelong ambition to become an owner of a football club, an opportunity following his time playing for LA Galaxy, and Inter Miami CF began its first season in the MLS last year.

In 2019, David founded Studio 99 alongside long-time partners David Gardner and Nicola Howson. Studio 99 is a global production and content studio which focuses on documentary films, series and format development. The company is also a commercial studio and produces a wide range of both editorial and marketing content for global brand clients.


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Thanu For Making Producers’ Mission Possible

admin   March 1, 2021

Kalaipuli S Thanu, President of the Film Federation of India, has lined up a series of initiatives to find solutions to the challenges faced by the film industry. “I subscribe to the school of thought of watching films in a big screen in pitch darkness among audiences,” industry leader and producer Thanu tells Pickle.

Kalaipuli S Thanu, is the President, Film Federation of India for the year 2021-22. He is one of India’s top film producers and distributors. His latest production ‘Karnan’ starring Dhanush, which comes after the duo struck gold in ‘Asuran’, seems to have struck a chord with the audience even before its release. The prolific producer says it all in his latest tweet- It’s 1 crore+ views for #KandaaVaraSollunga Thanks for showering your tremendous love and support for #Karnan.

This kind of response for his movies is not new, for Thanu’s track record boasts of several commercial and critically acclaimed films. The owner of V Creations and Kalaipuli Films International, also holds a special place in Tamil cinema’s history, for being the one who christened actor Rajinikanth with the title ‘Superstar’. Starting off as a distributor in the late 1970s, Thanu’s meteoric rise to one of India’s most popular producers is a success story by itself. Some of his highest grossers over the years include Cooliekkaran, Kizhakku Cheemayile, Kandukondein Kandukondein, Kaakha Kaakha, Thuppakki, Theri, Kabali and the recent Asuran. Not to mention his revolutionary ways when it comes to promoting his movies.

In 2016, movie-goers were in for a surprise, when they got to see posters of actor Rajinikanth and his film Kabali, on commercial flights. It was for the first time in the history of Indian cinema, an airline had dedicated an aircraft to a movie, thanks to Thanu. Apart from his work on movies, Thanu has also been known to voice his opinion on various issues related to the industry. Last month, when the Tamil Nadu government withdrew its permission to allow 100 percent occupancy in cinema halls owing to the pandemic, Thanu, being the president of the Film Federation of India, wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah, requesting him to allow 100 per cent occupancy at least on festival days like Pongal and Republic Day. As an industry leader, Thanu has implemented various reforms and rejuvenation measures for the welfare of the industry in general and producers in particular. He is also known for encouraging young talents.

The National-award winning producer recently added the State government’s Kalaimamani Award to his kitty, which was conferred in recognition of his stellar work in cinema. Excerpts from an interview with him.

What will be your major focus as president of Film Federation of India?

My major objective will be to fight for the rights of the film producers. We need more transparency and unity among various stakeholders of the film industry. This is critical today. We all need to work together to bring back film audiences to theatres to watch films.

The global interest in India and in Indian films has increased in recent times. We are still battling the impact of coronavirus pandemic. Globally, the vaccination programme has begun. It is a positive sign. While the mainstream commercial Indian film sector continues to grow, a new crop of Indian filmmakers has emerged in recent times. This is reflected in the Indian films that have been selected in various global film festivals including Cannes, Toronto, Venice, Busan among others. In recent times, global film festivals have celebrated works of all hues from the diverse movie-making traditions from India. We are extremely proud and happy to celebrate 100th anniversary of Satyajit Ray this year. This is a momentous occasion.

Indian cinema needs to expand its global footprint to get its films widely distributed in new emerging world territories. We need to export and showcase Indian films, heritage and culture to the world. We need to scale up the business and create content factories for the world.

What are your views on the OTT platforms for the film industry?

OTT is just another revenue stream for a producer to exploit IP of a film. It is similar to selling music rights to music publisher, selling DVD rights to a home entertainment company or selling film rights to an airline. OTT is just one of the platforms like a cinema theatre for exhibiting a film. India produces over 1,800 films a year. OTT platforms could afford to get just a couple of hundred films. Over 200 Tamil films are produced every year. Major OTT platforms have room to buy only a dozen big films. Or a small budget film, when it is successful. We welcome OTT platforms. It is a good medium for consumers and a refreshing home entertainment. I subscribe to the school of thought of watching films in a big screen in pitch darkness among audiences. That’s real enjoyment.

You have been very vocal on fighting against piracy…

When a new film is out in the market it instantly gets copied and released in pirated websites. By this Copyright infringement, the film and its producer suffer the most. It has been going on and on. No one could stop this menace. But, there is a way out. When the Government has the power to remove adult/obscene content, it could also stop films being illegally copied, uploaded and streamed in pirated websites and apps.

We will soon be meeting up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javdekar and Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad and emphasize the need to protect films and strict action against pirates (wherever they are). A team comprising celebrities, influencers, film industry leaders representing regional cinemas across India will emphasize the need to stop illegal exploitation of copyrighted films. In the post pandemic times, this is the need of the hour. The film industry has suffered the most.

We have been constantly fighting this menace for more than two decades. Today, we are confident that our prayers will be answered by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

What is the biggest challenge for a film producer today? In post pandemic times, what is the need of the hour?

In majority of the films made in India, the producer of the film suffers the most. The producer invests and facilitates in the making of the film. He risks in investing big amounts for the production and promotion of the film. An intermediary like an online ticket booking company gets a confirmed per ticket share than a producer. We want to fight this out. In current times, there are several challenges to movie exhibitors. OTT platforms like Amazon Prime and Netflix have been innovating pricing models. We need to bring that flexible ticket pricing for exhibitors. The government should allow cinemas to deploy flexible ticket pricing. Various state governments in India should allow theatres to charge higher ticket prices for blockbusters, holidays and opening weekends. At the same time, there should be flexibility in offering discounts and flexibility in pricing for small independent films. We need to innovate to get people to get into cinemas. This would also result in net revenue tax collections for the government. This would bring cheers to the producer, distributor and exhibitor.

Indian film industry faces the biggest obstacle from Animal Welfare Board of India. We all know that a goat is slaughtered and its meat served for eating. This is same story for many land animals killed and eaten. But when we show a sparrow in a film, we are accused of harming the sparrow. We are asked to create animals on VFX and CG.


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Highlights: Berlinale Series Market & Conference

admin   February 8, 2021

From March 2 to 5, 2021, the seventh edition of “Berlinale Series Market & Conference” will present a top-notch conference programme, international showcases, a curated selection of commercially promising series under the newly created label “Berlinale Series Market Selects”, and regular market screenings. Like at the EFM itself, the screenings and conference will take place digitally, and will be structured to suit the virtual format. The “Mix and Mingle” format within the online version of the “Berlinale Series Market & Conference” will also provide networking for series industry professionals.

Dennis Ruh, EFM director: “With the ‘Berlinale Series Market & Conference’ we’ve again created a ‘market within the market’ where everything revolves around high-quality series content. Series professionals, industry experts and buyers will find numerous opportunities to learn about current trends and trendsetting developments, to discover commercially promising series recommendations, and to see the first images from 2021’s most important series from Germany and other countries. All of it concentrated and located in one place – the EFM website.”

Conference programme highlights: impact storytelling and narrative trends

The digital conference on March 3 will be opened in cooperation with the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, main partner of “Berlinale Series Market & Conference”. The official Berlinale Series programme includes the new series It’s a Sin by legendary British series creator Russell T Davies (Doctor Who, Queer as Folk, Years and Years), and in his opening keynote conversation, he will talk about his wish to address complex subjects and make them accessible to a large audience.

In the masterclass “Social Impact Storytelling”, Maurício Mota (Wise Entertainment) will show how serial storytelling can change hardened perceptions and promote inclusion. Guy Bisson (Ampere Analytics) presents global narrative trends and current facts. In the discussion that follows, high-profile industry representatives will debate the influence of current world events on the detailed strategy of fictional content producers.

Series showcases from all over the world will complement the programme and present new productions and themes. Another high point will be the “Upcoming Series from Germany” selection, which gives insight into the newest German series: Para – Wir sind King (W&B Television, TNT Serie, WarnerMedia), Wild Republic (Lailaps Pictures / X Filme Creative Pool, MagentaTV / WDR / SWR / arte / One, Beta Film), Blackout – Morgen ist es zu spät (W&B Television, SAT.1 / Joyn, Red Arrow Studios International) and Terra Vision (WT) (Kundschafter Film / Sunny Side Up, Netflix). The complete programme will be announced in February.

Series available for online screening

The newly created special label “Berlinale Series Market Selects” highlights extraordinary series of high commercial potential within the “Berlinale Series Market” screenings. The selection – limited to 15 projects maximum – is made by the Berlinale Series committee. With a strong focus on new European productions as well as series from Australia, Russia and Canada, the twelve projects in total bearing the “Berlinale Series Market Selects” label exemplify the global and thematic diversity of the series market: Potential discoveries include crime stories and contemporary family constellations from Scandinavia; creator Albert Espinosa focuses on mental illness in the young adult series Alive & Kicking; and Keeley Hawes and Joanna Lumley grapple with smart houses and the bereavement process in Finding Alice. In the series Katakomben, from Germany, Munich’s surface and its underworld collide in explosive ways.

The “Berlinale Series Market & Conference” is a joint initiative of the European Film Market, the Berlinale Co-Production Market and Berlinale Talents, and is organised in close collaboration with Berlinale Series. The “Berlinale Series Market & Conference” takes place in partnership with Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, and is funded by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

“Series Market Selects” 2021

Aftertaste, Australia
Creator: Julie De Fina, Matthew Bate
Director: Jonathan Brough with Erik Thomson, Natalie Abbott, Rachel Griffiths
Production company: Closer Productions
Broadcaster: ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
World Sales: ABC Commercial
Episodes 1-3 of 6
When his latest outburst goes viral, volatile celebrity chef Easton West flees back to his hometown and tries to reinvent himself through an unlikely partnership with his 19-year-old pastry wunderkind niece.

Alfa (Grow), Denmark
Creator: Milad Avaz
Director: Milad Avaz with Lars Mikkelsen, Andreas Jessen, Sebastian Jessen
Production company: SF Studios Productions, Rocket Road Pictures
Broadcaster: TV2 Denmark, TV4 Sweden
World Sales: ZDF Enterprises
Episodes 1 and 2 of 8
A stockbroker remembers his family roots in organised crime and dives ever deeper into the world of Danish biker gangs. His ambition is only matched by the efforts of his brother, a drug enforcement officer, to save him.

Сны Алисы (Dreams of Alice), Russia
Creator: Anastasia Volkova
Showrunners: Valeriy Fedorovich, Evgeniy Nikishov
Director: Andrey Dzhunkovskiy with Alina Gvasaliya, Aleksey Rozin, Ekaterina Vilkova
Production company: 1-2-3 Production
Broadcaster: TV-3
World Sales: 1-2-3 Production
Episode 1 of 8
Teenage girl Alice lives in a small town where everything seems ordinary at first sight. She can’t wait to get away from it: the bullying at school, the fights with her mother – and the bloody premonitions that keep haunting her. But what if there is no way to leave?

Los Espabilados (Alive and Kicking), Spain
Creator: Albert Espinosa
Director: Roger Gual with Álvaro Requena, Marco Sanz, Sara Manzano, Aitor Valadéz
Production company: Movistar+ in co-production with Dynamo Audiovisual
Broadcaster: Movistar+
World Sales: Beta Film
Episodes 1 and 2 of 7
Four teenagers escape from a psychiatric institution. With a detective on their heels, they take on life with their very own wit, humor and charm – challenging our conception of sanity.

Finding Alice, United Kingdom
Director: Roger Goldby with Keeley Hawes, Joanna Lumley, Nigel Havers
Production company: Red Production Company
Broadcaster: ITV
World Sales: STUDIOCANAL
Episodes 1 and 2 of 6
The night Alice and her family move into the dreamhouse her husband Harry built, he has a fatal accident. His sudden death kicks up a storm of secrets, debt and suspicion which Alice is forced to confront in order to survive.

Katakomben (Echos), Germany
Creators: Jakob M. Erwa, Florian Kamhuber
Showrunner: Jakob M. Erwa, Florian Kamhuber
Director: Jakob M. Erwa with Lilly Charlotte Dreesen, Sabine Timoteo, Mercedes Müller
Production company: NEUESUPER
Broadcaster: ProSiebenSat.1, JOYN
Word Sales: Beta Film
Episodes 1 and 2 of 6
When a group of bored high-society kids meets the invisible lower class in the Munich catacombs, everything crashes.

Io ti cercherò (Standing Tall), Italy
Creator: Leonardo Fasoli, Maddalena Ravagli
Director: Gianluca Maria Tavarelli with Alessandro Gassman, Maya Sansa, Andrea Sartoretti
Production company: Publispei
Broadcaster: RAI
World Sales: ZDF Enterprises
Episodes 1 and 2 of 8
An ex-police officer investigates into his estranged son’s alleged suicide. With the help of old allies and facing the demons of his past, he risks everything to keep the promise he made to his only child.

Mon Fils (Son of Mine), Canada
Creators: Michel D’Astous, Anne Boyer
Director: Mariloup Wolfe with Antoine L’Écuyer, Élise Guilbault, Patrice Godin
Production companies: Quebecor, Duo Productions
Broadcasters: Club Illico, TVA
World Sales: Oble
Episode 1 and 2 of 6
18-year-old Jacob’s life is shattered by the sudden onset of schizophrenia. His once-bright future is irretrievably shaken by this unforgiving mental illness. As is his mother Marielle’s life, who won’t give up on her son and is determined to help him to get onto the road of recovery.

Outlier, Norway
Creators: Arne Berggren, Kristine Berg
Showrunners: Arne Berggren, Kristine Berg
Directors: Ken Are Bongo, Arne Berggren, Kristine Berg with Hanne Mathisen Haga, Stein Bjørn, Eila Ballovara Varsi
Production Company: Shuuto Norway
Broadcaster: A Media
World Sales: REinvent International Sales
Episodes: 1 and 2 of 8
A criminology student returns to her home town in Northern Norway to throw herself into the investigation of what turns out to be a serial killer case.

OVNI(s) (UFOs), France
Creators: Clémence Dargent, Martin Douaire
Director: Antony Cordier with Melvil Poupaud, Michel Vuillermoz, Géraldine Pailhas
Production company: Montebello Productions
Broadcaster: CANAL+
World Sales: STUDIOCANAL
Episodes 1-4 of 12
1978. Didier, a brilliant space engineer, is assigned a new task after his rocket launch went awry: As the head of GEPAN, he has to solve the many mysteries of UFO sightings and lead his team of misfits to efficiency and success.

Pørni (Suck it up), Norway
Creator: Henriette Steenstrup
Directors: Gunnar Vikene, Charlotte Blom with Henriette Steenstrup, Nils Ole Oftebro, Gunnar Eiriksson
Production company: Monster Scripted
Broadcaster: Viaplay
World Sales: TBA
Episodes 1-3 of 6
Pørni has two daughters, an irresponsible ex, a father and a nephew she took in after a family tragedy, a job in child welfare and a house and garden. Why would she have trouble finding time for herself – especially her love life?

Seeds of Deceit, Netherlands
Director: Miriam Guttmann
Production company: De Familie Film & TV
Broadcaster: VPR
World Sales: Dogwoof
Episodes 1-3 of 3
Documentary Form
Dr. Karbaat, a pioneer in artificial insemination, became subject to controversy when evidence accumulated that he used his own semen for the process. The documentary series portrays the shocking revelations and the people whose lives were affected by this.


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Uday Shankar forms New Tech and Media Venture with James Murdoch

admin   January 14, 2021

Lupa Systems CEO James Murdoch and Uday Shankar, the former Chairman and CEO of Star India and President of Walt Disney Asia Pacific, are forming a new entrepreneurial venture to explore technology and media opportunities in emerging markets.

The new partnership reunites James Murdoch and Uday Shankar, who worked together building Star India into the region’s largest media company, prior to its sale as part of the merger of 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Company.

“After two decades of working in India and the region, at Star and more recently at Lupa Systems, it’s great to be entering into a renewed partnership with Uday. Our collaborations over the years have been immensely rewarding for consumers, our various shareholders, and our colleagues. I’m very pleased to be renewing that partnership now. As connectivity continues to accelerate and expand across South Asia and the whole region, new opportunities for innovation, across consumer sectors, will multiply,” said James Murdoch.

“James and I enjoyed a great partnership at Star and I am enormously excited to be in partnership with him again. At Star, we had the great benefit of working with the best and brightest Indian talent, combined with global vision and a desire to disrupt the old order. Digital Technology promises to transform the lives of many millions of people in this part of the world and I have every confidence that we can harness technology, enterprise, and tremendous talent to create a great business that is also great for society,” said Uday Shankar.

Uday Shankar left Disney on December 31, 2020 and had announced that he will be moving to an entrepreneurial career where, with funding from global investors, he would support founders to create transformational solutions.

“Lupa Systems set up its India presence less than two years ago and has already created a promising portfolio of technology investments. Partnering with Uday, to build ambitiously for the long term, will take us to another level,” said Nitin Kukreja, Managing Director of Lupa Systems India.

Jamesh Murdoch in an interview with FT stated that the new venture with Uday Shankar “would not try to replicate” what was done in the past with Star. He said Indian the entertainment streaming market is “very crowded”.

Lupa’s new venture with Uday Shankar is likely to focus on education, digital media, healthcare delivery capitalising on the India’s robust mobile connectivity. James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems have invested in Vice Media, Tribeca Film Festival, Vice Media, Harappa Education, an online education start-up in India.

Ronnie Screwvala who had earlier sold his media and entertainment company UTV Motion Pictures to Disney has successfully set his foot in India’s start-up system with edtech firm UpGrad.

 


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With Film Visa, Global Producers Can Now Shoot in India

admin   January 10, 2021

Now that the Government of India has opened business visas for overseas companies to travel into the country, global film producers and studios with Film Visa are exploring options to come and film in India. The aviation restrictions have been lifted for foregin business travellers and companies into India.

Already, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has announced guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for film shooting and media production in the country. Various State governments have also issued SOPs for film shooting in their respective States detailing dos and don’ts aligning with prevailing local Covid conditions.

Film Visa, a special category for foreign filmmakers, producers and crew members to shoot in India was introduced in 2017 on the initiation by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.

Dilip Singh Rathore, India’s most successful Line Producer for leading Hollywood Studios and European filmmakers, confirmed to Pickle that global producers are “expediting the process” to film in India in the new scenario of opening business to overseas companies.

Rathore’s On the Road Productions was the line producer for Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ (Produced by Warner Bros’) for filming portions of the movie in Mumbai.

“We are constantly getting calls over the last two days on filming in India,” says Rathore. “Interest in film in India is top in the radar of global producers. I am very optimistic that foreign film projects which were stalled in the beginning of the year will soon get activated.”

Italian filmmaker and producer Sergio Scapagnini is soon set to shoot in India for the new India-Italy co-produced film directed by Goutham Ghose. UK-based Collin Burrows of Film Treats Production is looking to film in India for forthcoming  projects. Late last year, Paramount Pictures had announced producing web series ‘The Bear’ for Apple TV to be shot in Madhya Pradesh. The Hollywood project was based on a bestseller novel by Gregory David Roberts ‘Shantaram’.

Business visits among global production houses are also likely to pick up in the coming days as India offers cost effective solutions for animation, VFX and gaming verticals of the Media and Entertainment industry. Major Indian production companies have strengthened their remote servicing capabilities in animation, VFX and digital intermediaries for collaboration. 

Film Facilitation Office (FFO), set up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), is currently accepting online applications for foreign producers to shoot in India.

FFO which was set up with a view to promote and facilitate film shootings by foreign filmmakers in India has also been extended to Indian filmmakers as well.

In the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, Indian film locales have captured the attention of global producers and viewers. Mira Nair’s TV series ‘A Suitable Boy’, a six-episode, 349-minute long series, adapted from Vikram Seth’s classic novel, was extensively shot in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, India. It is currently streamed on Netflix across the world and BBC One (in UK and Ireland). Netlflix’s action thriller ‘Extraction’ starring Chris Hemsworth was filmed in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Netflix has revealed that ‘Extraction’ tops the list in its 10 most-watched original movies of all time, as of today.

Another leading line producer stated that in recent times Film Visas have streamlined foreign film shooting in India. “Quick visa clearances for the foreign crew is one of the reasons why more foreign filmmakers are coming to shoot in India. For shooting in India, foreign filmmakers have to get clearance from the I&B Ministry. The Ministry officials coordinate with the Indian embassies abroad, and help in getting visa clearances faster. “Over 118 international films have been shot in the last four years and the FFO has been offering all support to filmmakers to shoot in India.


Multiple Ways of Monetization

admin   January 7, 2021

Register now for CII BIG PICTURE SUMMIT 2020

This is what Dr S Raghunath, IIM-B Professor for Corporate Strategy and Policy said in Pickle-CII BIG PICTURE SUMMIT 2014 special edition

How to create, deliver and capture value in the evolving landscape of information and communication technologies, Dr S Raghunath, IIM-B Professor for Corporate Strategy and Policy, shows the way.

Never before in the history of media and entertainment industry has costly content been so easy to reproduce, re-purpose and distribute . Therefore the focus is on IP value management rather than just IP protection and the creation of digital security format which enables interoperability between devices.

From an era of one way delivery of public content like feature films in movie theatres and soap operas on television and two way delivery of private content like telephone based conversations it has expanded to include multiple ways of delivering content that provides connectivity to private conversation in public domain about public content.

Therefore the central question of monetization is how to create, deliver and capture value in the evolving landscape of information and communication technologies.

There are several challenges to be addressed: moving from medium specific content to content that is available in formats compatible with multiple platforms. There is increased interdependence of communication systems as opposed to stand alone broadcasting of content triggered by the use of multiple devices for accessing content . Then there is a difficult relationship of top down corporate culture and evolving bottom up participatory media and entertainment culture.

Access to audience through the internet has also changed the supply scenario for entertainment content. Amateurs are joining the galaxy of established professionals as producers of content. Crowd sourcing has given rise to more experimentation and aggregation of capabilities. Media is no longer a mere object of consumption, it is a medium of utilization. Earlier media and entertainment content was a product produced by professionals for the consumption of amateurs. It is now the connection between experimenting amateurs and established professionals with a wider global audience. For example, an average of one hundred videos are being uploaded on YouTube every minute, Twitter receives more than one hundred and seventy five million tweets a day.

With availability of free content, advertising has to become more creative about what products consumer want with free content . Advertising is different in the digital media as it is about one on one interactive communication with audience.

The good news is that a personalization software app , a machine learning system can set up a detailed profile of every person’s interests and then match the digital inventory of content to find exactly what the person wants. It then can provide TV programmes or a set of movies which exactly fit whatever a person finds interesting. Therefore the phenomenon of digitalization has turned entertainment content into information goods.

Data analytics facilitates transformation of entertainment content for mass market to thousands of niches made economically feasible by digital delivery . The evolving technology of delivery allows focused distribution to individual consumers.

The individual consumers using a device or a collection of devices now connect and interact with social network through these devices. The preferences of the individual can be identified and shared across devices giving rise to a never before opportunity of personalizing not only entertainment but advertising that pays for the entertainment. The same individual’s presence on multiple devices along with the ability to pay for the experience provides new opportunities for developers to create applications that link to entertainment as well as the social network.

However, increasingly affluent segments of audience population are preferring to watch premium programming content that eliminates advertising. Therefore the insertion of the commercial products within the scenes of the content and the story line will find favour with corporate sponsors resulting in such product placements in feature films and television content.

The laptops, smart phones and tablets have not displaced traditional distribution systems such as televisions from living rooms. The difference is that today people continue to watch television but they do so also through their tablet or smartphone.

In our country,internet penetration is estimated to cover fifteen per cent of the population. A Nielsen survey indicates that the highest penetration for mobile Internet is in the age group of 15-24. This has its implications for advertising and e commerce and there is an emerging preference for quality content.

However, low quality content will continue to mushroom with improving technology and increasing access to the internet . This is likely to bring a decline in the average content quality. However, the range available would result in clear demarcation of better content and best among the rest . Uncontrolled access to variety of content will lead to self selection of the best which will benefit society at large though it has access to a wide variety of junk.Thus the only mass curator for content will be the instant people response.

The collective shaping of what we believe and watch is going to be done more and more by amateurs creating a visual image. Digital content is turning into a massive cloud of evolving ideas, always in dialogue, influencing opinion with every voice contributing to it.

In this scenario, Big data analytics will provide enough indications about soap operas and characters stirring interest and emotions in specific regions or locations. Virtual delivery of content also will increase the appetite for live stage performances. Live performances in those locations will generate higher revenue. The smartness of senior managers in media and entertainment companies is in orchestrating mass marketing campaigns once specific artists are ready for a significant marketing push.

It is not just the urban localities which have the potential to pay for live performances but there are also street theatre companies mushrooming and growing in rural areas. Performers are speaking, singing or dancing in a language that the audience can appreciate, relate to and make an emotional connect. As the range of sophistication levels of audience widens over time , so do expectations relating to enjoyable entertainment.

If yield management geeks have their way, companies could charge a little more certainly for Saturday night or weekend live staged performances.

Live show producers can begin relying on computer algorithms to recommend the highest ticket prices that audiences are likely to pay for each of the available seats at every performance in the theatre for performing arts.

Live performance shows can employ dynamic pricing system to raise seat prices during heavy holiday weeks . So entertainment companies must reach the level of sophistication achieved by airline and hotels continuously using their algorithm to calibrate prices based on demand and ticket purchasing patterns.

 


IFFI-50 Golden Years of Cinema

admin   January 7, 2021

200-odd films from 76 countries, honouring of legends, slew of landmark films of historical worth from across the world were some of the highlights of IFFI-50

The 50th edition of Asia’s oldest international film festival was a major success. So, what did the International Film Festival of India (IFFI, November 20 to 28, 2019) had in its kitty that separated it from the previous 49 editions? A great deal. And not just in numbers, but also in terms of range and depth.

Packed into the nine-day festival were 200- odd films from 76 countries, which offered cineastes a wide sampling of last year’s most lauded works, besides a slew of landmark films of historical worth from across the world.

The best of contemporary world cinema apart, IFFI 2019 brought to film fans in Goa an impressive array of films from the past, including a package of nine previous winners of the Golden Peacock, the festival’s top trophy that now comes with a cash prize of over $55,000.

The Golden Peacock retrospective included the 1963 winner, Changes in the Village, directed by Lester James Peries, who is regarded as the father of Sri Lankan cinema. Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan (2014) was also in the segment along with James Ivory’s The Bostonians (1984), Miklos Jancso’s Hungarian Rhapsody (1979), Samira Makhmalbaf’s At Five in the Afternoon (2003) and Sergey Dvortsevoy’s Tulpan (2008). The sole Indian film in the selection of Golden Peacock winners was the Bengali film MonerManush (2010), directed by Goutam Ghose.

Another commemorative segment aimed at underlining the special status of the 50th edition of IFFI was a retrospective of Oscar- winning films. Entries in this section ranged from Casablanca, Gone With the Wind and Ben-Hur to The Godfather, Forrest Gump and The Silence of the Lambs. All About Eve, The Best Years of Our Lives, Lawrence of Arabia and The Sound of Music completed the line-up of Oscar winners.

All eyes were also on the ‘filmmaker in focus’ Takashi Miike, a Ken Loach miniretrospective, wo restored Indian classics (Ritwik Ghatak’s Titas Ekti Nadir Naam and Uday Shankar’s Kalpana) plus Master Frames and Festival Kaleidoscope, sections devoted to films hailed in Cannes, Venice, Berlin and Toronto.

Six films were screened as part of the Takashi Miike retrospective. The package included the relatively mellow The Bird People of China. The other Miikefilms in IFFI are Audition (1999), with which the maverick Japanese director known for his no-holds-barred depiction of violence and sexual excess began to acquire international fame; Ichi the Killer, a manga adaptation that is still banned in several countries; the yakuza thriller Dead or Alive; the samurai film 13 Assassins; and First Love, which played in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight this year.

The 50th IFFI competition had assembled 15 films that gave the five-member jury headed by John Bailey, veteran Hollywood cinematographer and former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, plenty to choose from. As for the composition of the jury, IFFI had rarely got it better than it has done this time.

The competition line-up included two Indian titles: Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Jallikattu and Anant Mahadevan’s Mai Ghat Crime No. 103/2005.

Among the other films in the IFFI 2019 competition were Pema Tseden’s rural-Tibet set Chinese production Balloon, Ali Aydin’s Turkish entry Chronology, Swiss filmmaker Blaise Harrison’s first fiction feature Particles, Brazilian actor Wagner Moura’s historical epic Marighella, Indonesian director YosepAnggiNoen’s The Science of Fictions and the Slovenian film Stories from the Chestnut Woods, directed by Gregor Bozic.

World Panorama also had the Canadian film Coda, directed by Claude Lalonde. Master Frames brought together 19 films by directors such as Pedro Almodovar (Pain and Glory), Olivier Assayas (Wasp Network), Hirokazu Kore-eda (The Truth, Roy Andersson (About Endlessness), Costa Gavras (Adults in the Room), 377 India’s Only Film BIZ magazine for the world http://www.pickle.co.in Roman Polanski (An Officer and a Boy, Goran Paskaljevic (Despite the Fog), Werner Herzog (Family Romance LLC), Atom Egoyan (Guest of Honour).

A bunch of equally fancied names were part of IFFI’s Festival Kaleidoscope, which showcased films that earned critical accolades in the course of the year. Led by Bong Joon-ho’s Palme d’Or winner Parasite, this section includes several other titles that premiered in Cannes: Mati Diop’s Atlantique, Jessica Hausner’s Little Joe and Celine Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

Adding yet another dimension to the IFFI experience last year was a one of its kind hi-tech digital, interactive and multimedia exhibition put up by the Bureau of Outreach and Communication and National Film Archives of India (NFAI) at Darya Sangam, near Kala academy.

Named http://IFFI@50 the exhibition traced the journey of IFFI over the last five decades as it showcases Indian cinema to the world while also providing a platform in India for showcasing world cinema. The exhibition leveraged novel hi-tech features like Zoetrope (moving picture creative installation), 360 bullet shot, 360 degree immersive experience area, augmented reality experience, vertical digital display panels, virtual reality tools, hologram technology, etc to create a self-learning historical experience for the viewers.

Amitabh Bachchan inaugurated the Dadasaheb Phalke Award retrospective organised at Kala Academy during IFFI. Speaking at the launch, the veteran actor said, “I feel deeply humbled and would thank the Government of India for this prestigious hnoour. I’ve always felt that I’m not deserving of such recognition but I humbly accept this with a lot of grace and affection”.

Calling cinema a universal medium, Bachchan added that films are beyond the borders of language. The actor expressed hope that we continue to make films that will bring people together.

The Indian Panorama section of the 50th edition of IFFI opened with the screening of National Award winning Gujarati film Hellaro; directed by Abhishek Shah in the feature film category at INOX in Panjim, Goa. A Kashmiri film Nooreh, directed by Ashish Pandey, opened the non-feature film category at Indian Panorama.

The other selections in the feature film category included five Marathi films Tujhya Aaila, Anandi Gopal, Bhonga, Mai Ghat and Photo-Prem. This category also included three films each in Malayalam and Bengali, two in Tamil and one Kannada film.

The feature film category also had a subsection on mainstream cinema, under which popular films like Gully Boy, Uri: The Surgical Strike, Super 30 and Badhaai Ho were screened. Telugu film F2 was also screened under this category.

A session on Oscar Retrospective was held on Day 1 at IFFI Goa. Moderated by Journalist and film critic Naman Ramachandran, the session had the Festival Director, ADG, Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), Chaitanya Prasad along with the editor of American Film Editor who also worked on the restored version of Casablanca, Carol Littleton.

This year, Russia was the focus country at IFFI. Speaking on the joint production of films and cultural exchange through films, Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev said that such efforts will bring the spirit of India and Russia together. Head of Russian delegation at IFFI and Editor in Chief of Kinoreporter Maria Lameshev said that there was a great interest for Russian films among Indian people. She added that according to the coproduction agreement, 40 percent of budget of the film would be given back by the Ministry of Culture.

She extended her support in facilitating meetings for possible co-productions in future. Eight Russian films–Abigail, Acid, Andrei Tarkovsky: A Cinema Prayer, Beanpole, Great poetry , Once in trubchevsk , Why don’t you just die!, and The Hero–were screened in the Country Focus section of IFFI this year.

A joint collaboration between IFFI, Saksham Bharat and UNESCO, the 50th IFFI edition screened three films for those with special needs with an aim to promote the creation of inclusive spaces for the differently-abled through audio description. The section opened with ‘Munna Bhai MBBS’ directed by Rajkumar Hirani. Attending the festival for the first time, actress Taapsee Pannu said that she was surprised to know such films were made. “I’ve not seen films that use audio to explain the scenes; so I wanted to surely see how it’s done,” she said. The other films screened were Lage Raho Munnabhai, M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story and the Konkani film Questao De Confusao with additional narration for the visually impaired.

The 2019 edition of the Open Forum organised by the Federation of the Film Societies of India opened with the pertinent topic: Focus on IFFI @50: Flash Back and Moving Forward. The session was inaugurated by Chaitanya Prasad, Festival Director, ADG, Directorate of Film Festival (DFF), Kiran Shantaram, President, Federation of Film Societies of India, AK Bir, Filmmaker and Chairman of Technical Committee, IFFI 2019, Alexey Govorukhin, Executive Producer, Kinoreporter Magazine, Russia and Marianne Borgo, actress from France.


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CII BIG PICTURE SUMMIT 2012: Growth Triggers From Ronnie

admin   December 10, 2020

This is what former Walt Disney India’s managing director Ronnie Screwvala said at CII BIG PICTURE SUMMIT 2012.

Ronnie Screwvala is now Chairman & Co Founder – upGrad and Founder – Swades Foundation

Register now for CII BIG PICTURE SUMMIT 2020

MATHS & MAGIC

How do we take the Indian M&E industry to a true B2C business? How do we get 200 million people to pay Rs 1,500 rupees a month (Rs 18,000 per annum) to consume media and entertainment. Overall, collectively as an industry figure out how and what are the maths that can get us to that consumption. That, I think is a game changer for what we want to do

CONTENT MATTERS

Intellectual property and franchisees: Overall, there is a dearth of what we can do when we look at a massive scale where we can scale up content that spans almost every aspect of the verticals. Today, it is no longer TV and movies. The entire new media is a large space we should look at. From that perspective how do we necessarily do that is critical.

BROADBAND, THE GAME CHANGER

To me personally, Broadband is a complete game changer for this country. It is not going to takeaway anything from this country. There are a fair amount of few naysayers who think that broadband will be coming and television will be out. Broadcasting for the next two decades, given the overall consumption patterns, given the rural penetration and given the overall habits is here to stay. Broadband is going to augment this. To me the interesting part about broadband not only after the technological ones of able to consume what, when and how is the fact that Indian DNA to pay for content is fresh. It is a fresh start mindset when we look at broadband. Nobody is going to pay Rs 6 from Rs 5 to watch CNBC channel in cable. But everybody is willing to pay Rs 100 for an app on broadband for that same channel consumption. Personally, I do believe today in India bandwidth is going to be more valuable than oil. If that is the investment that we can make we have got be hitch our court on that ride as we go forward.

ROAD AHEAD

I have to say overall, that in terms of creativity we do have a long way to go. We have seen that kind of creativity in the last twenty years. If you look at Television, some soaps have gone to segmentation of reality and most of them are license and formatted shows. Look at any and every aspect of our business and if you look at comparing anywhere else in the world where growth triggering happens is really when the creativity has gone to the absolute next level of growth.

EXPERIMENTAL ENTERTAINMENT

Events and ground events has tremendous amount of scope. I call it experiential entertainment. Genuinely in our country given our lack of infrastructure in most Indian cities to get out of the city or to do anything else or spend your money on anything else other than being a couch potato is almost negligible because there is anything out there. The appeal for us with a little bit of infrastructure and little bit of creativity to experiential entertainment is going to be an extremely promising one to trigger growth. And, that’s a pure B2C model. It is not advertising dependent and it is not piracy dependent. Because, you cannot pirate it.

EDUTAINMENT

Education is a realm of many aspects and outside of the media and entertainment business. But, in India compared to most other markets a combination of education with people who understand this business best. Today in India outside of the infrastructure and getting people to schools is really how we teach them. As content creators and platform operators we know that better than most people. If there is a way we can harness education and entertainment and make it edutainment there is a tremendous opportunity.

RURAL POWER

We cannot underestimate the power of rural India. It looks like the bottom leg of the 600 million people but with the absolute resurgence of entrepreneurship in this country , with the resurgence of land and the wealth creation that the rural land will create combined with agriculture which is going through its next revolution we are going to find a lot more spending power in those places than never before.