Walking the Red Carpet at Cannes for the past 18 years, film industry veteran Ravi Kottarakara, Secretary, South Indian film Chamber of Commerce and producer, Ganesh Pictures, underscores the Film Festival’s significance in world cinema, and how the platform has evolved as a great springboard for new talent and discoveries
The International Festival de Cannes, which began in 1947, is now celebrating 75 years of existence. Since its inception, the festival has expanded and grown from strenth-to-strength, showcasing the best films and discovering new talent and bringing together film fraternity from across the world to watch, ponder, and debate on cinema art. Over the year, Cannes has become the most sought after platform to meet the top brains from world cinema, highly-skilled, and knowledgeable experts in the film craft business.
The magical aura of the film festival is such that attending amateur filmmakers get an opportunity to acquire a wealth of knowledge and experience at Cannes, and return as established top professionals. The festival acts as an excellent springboard for budding filmmakers. For the past 18 years, I’ve been regularly coming to the Cannes, and it stands out for me. I have got the opportunity to meet and learn from many outstanding professionals and legends attending the festival.
The Cannes Film Festival has an extensive programme divided into various sub-categories including film viewing, co-production, film market, diverse country stalls, and skill development. Its multi-faceted structure has something to offer to everybody who come here to quench their appetite for good cinema.
It is every film industry professional’s dream to have their film screened at Cannes. I was completely overwhelmed and awestruck by the sheer body of cinema artwork and craftsmanship at the Cannes when my first film was included in the programme and I walked the red carpet here. Watching a movie and discussing it with eminent international filmmakers and cinema experts is the ultimate experience. Another highlight of the spectacular Cannes Film Festival is the the Marché du Film that attracts film buyers from all corners of the globe, and adds dynamism to the global film industry. This leading Film Market facilitates purchase of films in any genre and in any language, provided the content is distinctive and of high quality. Hundreds of filmmakers attend this event for not only networking but also acquire services and tools they need to hold negotiations and uncover new opportunities, and they are always rewarded with excellent discounts.
In terms of co-productions, many film producers sign incredible coproduction deals at Cannes, whether between countries or between leading film firms, and even aspiring amateurs have had the opportunity to meet with highly professional companies. Every time I go to Cannes, I have a fresh experience and gather valuable knowledge that I can apply in my job.
Co-productions will become more common, and many professions will profit financially. In India, the South theatres are now ruling the roost, producing blockbuster hits. The films with the highest box office receipts are from the south. They deliver excellent service and thoroughly delight the crowd. South will be able to create even more terrific works if the scope of joint cinematic cooperation between France and India is further expanded.
The fact that Cannes is celebrating 75 years and that India, the world’s largest film producer, is the country of emphasis is a wonderful feeling. The collaboration between France and India in the sphere of filmmaking will push the medium forward.
Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur will lead the delegation from India to Cannes.
The delegation will comprise celebrities like A.R. Rahman (International Music Composer), Mame Khan (Folk Music Composer, Singer), NawazuddinSiddiqui (Actor, Bollywood), PoojaHegde (Actress), Prasoon Joshi (Chairman, CBFC), R. Madhavan (Actor & Producer), Ricky Kej (Music Composer), Shekhar Kapur (Film maker), Tamannaah Bhatia (Actress) and VaniTripathi (Actor).
The intent of the delegation is to showcase the rich flavour and diversity of India – culture, heritage, legacy, and developments through its cinema. The delegation has been hand-picked from across the length and breadth of the country to represent different strengths and aspects of the country.
The Indian lineup of films that will be screened at Cannes Film Festival includes the world premiere of R Madhavan starrer Rocketry, Godavari by Nikhil Mahajan, Alpha Beta Gamma by Shankar Srikumar, Boomba Ride by Biswajeet Bora, Dhuin by Achal Mishra, and Tree Full of Parrots by Jayaraj.
India will be presented as the Focus Country at the Opening Night of Marche Du Films being organised at the Majestic Beach with spotlight on India, its cinema, its culture & heritage
Visit Viacom 18 at Palais Stand 24.01
Visit Delhi Tourism at Palais Stand 24.01
Indian flavour to the Opening Night of Marche Du Films would be special performances by Indian Choir bands along with Folk Music and Fireworks. The Cuisine served would be Indian as well as French.
Actor Deepika Padukone will walk the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival and will also serve as the member of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival’s jury.
There are close to 100 online delegates from India at Cannes Film Market this year
Along with Deepika Padukone, actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and other celebrities from Indian film industry are set to be in attendance, and walk the Cannes 2022 red carpet.
VISIT INDIA PAVILLION, 109 VILLAGE INTERNATIONAL, CANNES
India is also a “Country of Honour at the Cannes Next, under which 5 new Start Ups would be given an opportunity to pitch to the Audio-Visual Industry.
India has been given an opportunity to pitch 5 selected movies at the “Goes to Cannes Section”. These movies are part of the Work In Progress lab under the Film Bazaar that include Baghjan by JaichengZxaiDohutia (Assamese, Moran), Bailadila by Shailendra Sahu (Hindi, Chhattisgarhi), EkJagahApni (A Space of Our Own) by Ektara Collective (Hindi), Follower by HarshadNalawade (Marathi, Kannada, Hindi), and Shivamma by Jai Shankar (Kannada)
Ten professionals from India will participate in the Animation Day networking. The program features talks, panel discussions, animation screenings and networking events.
A Cinema Hall called the Olympia Screen has been dedicated to India on 22nd May 2022 for screening “Unreleased Movies”. There are 5 Movies which have been selected under this category.
A dedicated India Forum, One Hour Conference is being organised at the Main Stage, comprising of the leaders of the Entertainment Sector and would position “India as the content hub of the World”. The India Forum would be attended by hundreds of guests and would live streamed online.
Visit CII Pavilion at Palais Stand 24.01
India Pavilion at the Cannes this time will have the sole focus of branding India as “Content Hub of the World”. It will showcase Indian cinema across linguistic, cultural, and regional diversities of the country and will serve as networking platform for delegates from across the global community.
India is the Official Country of Honour at Cannes Film Market (Marché du Film) in this edition of the festival. This is the first time this honour has been bestowed on any country and comes at a time when India celebrates its Azadika AmritMahotsav. India and France are also celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations this year.
More than 100 Indian media and entertainment companies will attend the Cannes, aiming to establish international partnerships in film shooting, distribution, production, script development, technology, promoting film sales and syndication. India’s celebration of centenary of Satyajit Ray continues at Cannes as a remastered classic of Satyajit Ray classic – Pratidwandi will be screened at the Cannes Classic section Cinéma de la plage.
From the latest works of recognised masters to new films from budding directors, the official Cannes 2022 selection has the diversity, depth, and daring for everyone to exult over or cringe from. The quality of the lineup that festival director Thierry Fremaux has put together is expected to be the event’s most talked-about topic. By SaibalChatterjee
The 68 titles that constitute the Official Selection of the 75th Cannes Film Festival add up to one of the strongest lineups that the event has cobbled up in recent years. Picking ten, or even 20, of the films that one must definitely to watch over the 11days of the festival – often called the Olympic Games of world cinema – isn’t the easiest of chores. We are giving it a shot nonetheless.
The Cannes Film Festival, by far the world’s most important celebration of cinema, is, as is well known, approaching a landmark. The edition that is set to unspool on the French Riviera is the festival’s 75th. It isn’t, however, the number of editions that have been toted up that cineastes are focused on. The quality of the lineup that festival director Thierry Fremaux has put together is beyond any ifs and buts. It promises to be the biggest talking point during the event.
The Cannes 2022 official selection isn’t devoid of diversity, depth or derring-do. From the latest works of established masters to new films from emerging directors, the 75th Cannes Film Festival has a bill of fare that has something for everybody to exult over or recoil from.
Nothing can rival the thrill of discovering gems from directors who are starting out in their careers or stumbling upon films from corners of the world that have minuscule movie industries. This year’s official selection – eight of the titles in Un Certain Regard (which means ‘A Certain Gaze’) are from first-time directors.
At the other end of the spectrum, competing for the Palme d’or (Golden Palm) are four previous winners, including a sibling duo who has claimed the festival’s top prize twice. Belgium’s Dardenne brothers (Jean-Pierre and Luc), Japan’s HirokazuKoreeda, Sweden’s Ruben Ostlund and Romania’s CristianMungiu will have another shot at the coveted award alongside many other wellregarded directors.
The Dardenne Brothers – who won the Palme d’Or for Rosetta (1999) and L’Enfant (2005) – are back with another social-realist drama, Tori and Lokita, which tells the story of a young boy and an adolescent girl who have travelled from Africa to Belgium and have their friendship tested by the difficult circumstances that they are thrust into.
Both Ostlund (winner of the Palme d’Or in 2017 for The Square) and Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 4 Days, which won the prize in 2007) have new films that expressly turn the spotlight on the state of humanity and world politics, something that many of the stories that will unfold on the screens in Cannes this year are likely to do.
Among these trenchant commentaries on the world that we live in are two other films from Scandinavia –Swedish-Egyptian director Tarik Saleh’s political thriller Boy from Heaven and Danish-Iranian filmmaker Ali Abbasi’s Holy Spider. Both Saleh and Abbasi are Competition first-timers. The latter’s sophomore venture Border won the Un Certain regard Prize in Cannes in 2018.
Boy from Heaven, set in Egypt, is about a fisherman’s son studying at a prestigious Cairo religious university who witnesses a tussle a power after the death of the grand imam on the first day after summer holidays.The film is a contemplationnot only on what Egypt is turning, but also the direction the world as a whole is moving towards.
Holy Spider is a serial killer hunt drama involving a religious fanatic out to eliminate street prostitutes in a holy Iranian city. After murdering several women, his desperation peaks as he begins to feel that his divine mission isn’t receiving the public enthusiasm that it merits. Holy Spider is a police procedural that journeys into the darkness at the heart of contemporary human existence.
In Sweden’s second Palme d’or contender, Triangle of Sadness, a dark comedy, Ostlund serves up a probe into what humans have become and how precarious socio-economic hierarchies are. A luxury cruise ship under the command of a staunch Marxist captain sinks. A celebrity couple are stranded on a desert island with a group of billionaires and a cleaning lady. Equations are disrupted as the cleaning lady moves up the pecking order because she is the only one among the marooned who can cook.
Mungiu’s R.M.N. raises questions about people who are under severe strain from rising intolerance. A man returns to his small village for Christmas and finds himself in the midst of a community overrun by strong anti-immigrant sentiments.
Kore-eda, the 2018 Palme d’Or winner for Shoplifters, continues to explore the theme of broken families and parenting dilemmas in Broker, a film about “baby boxes” in which people can anonymously leave unwanted babies. The film spotlights a mother who leaves her baby in a box and returns several years later to reclaim it.
A European festival held under the shadow of the hostilities in Ukraine cannot but contribute its mite to the unfolding discourseon war and its repercussions. The Cannes 2022 Competition lineup includes Tchaikovsky’s Wife, a film by dissident Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov, while Ukrainian filmmaker MaksimNakonechnyi’s Butterfly Vision is one of the 20 films that constitute the Un Certain Regard sidebar.
Serebrennikovcould not to travel to Cannes for the premiere of his previous two films – Leto and Petrov’s Flu. He was serving a suspended prison sentence (on what his supporters believe were trumped-up embezzlement charges) and was under a three-year travel ban. Serebrennikovis now in Germany, having been allowed to travel to Hamburg to direct a play based on an Anton Chekhov short story. So he is expected to hop across to Cannes to present Tchaikovsky’s Wife in person.
Serebrennikov’s new film is a 19th century drama that delves into the legendary Russian composer’s tempestuous relationship with his wife. Classical in terms of formal rigour but very contemporary in mood and spirit – that is what one can expect Tchaikovsky’s Wife to be.
While two world cinema octogenarians, Poland’s Jerzy Skolimowski (Eo) and Italy’s Marco Bellocchio (EsternoNotte),are in the Cannes 2022programme, the 79-year-old Canadian David Cronenberg, a maverick who has never shied away from provoking the audience with his “body horror” movies, returns to the Croisette with Crimes of the Future. Skolimowski and Corenberg are in Competion, Bellocchio is in Cannes Premiere.
Bellocchio’s EsternoNotte (Exterior Night), which is scheduled to be released in the cinemas as a two-part film and then as a series that will play over two nights on television, is a dramatization of the events leading to the kidnapping and killing of Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro by the Red Brigades in the 1970s.
Another series that will have a part of it showcased in Cannes Premiere is Olivier Assayas’ Irma Vep. It is adapted from the director’s 1996 film of the same name that played in Un certain regard. Starring Alicia Vikander, Irma Vep is the story of an American actress who, after a break-up, goes to France to work on a remake of a vampire film. She begins to lose hold of herself during the shoot as similarities between the character and herself assume unsettling proportions.
Although it shares the title of the 1970 Cronenberg film, Crimes of the Future is not a remake. If nothing else, the film starring Viggo Mortensen, Lea Seydoux and Kristen Stewart is expected to set the cat among the pigeons.
Skolimowski’sEo, a modern interpretation of Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar, tells the story of a donkey that begins in a circus in Poland and ends in a slaughterhouse in Italy. The Berlin Golden Bear-winning director (for Le depart, 1967) ruminates on humanity (or its absence) through the prism of mankind’s treatment of animals.
Discussions around gender parity in the official selection havebeen a constant in Cannes for several years now. Fremaux has consistently insisted that his choice of films isn’t swayed by quotas. Last year, although the percentage of female filmmakers in the line-up wasn’t exceptional, all the major prizes at the festival were won by women directors.
The 20-film Un certain regard section has nine films directed by women, which translates into nearly 50:50 gender parity. Eight of these films are by first-time directors. The sidebar will, therefore, definitely be worth keeping an eye on if you are looking for surprises and discoveries.
This year, only five of the 21 Competition titles have been directed by women but chances are that at least two of them – 76-year-old French auteur Claire Denis (Stars at Noon) and American filmmaker Kelly Reichardt (Showing Up) – will be in with a chance of being among the awards.
We also expect Park Chan-wook (Decision to Leave), Arnaud Desplechin (Brother and Sister), James Gray (Armageddon Time), Albert Serra (Bora Bora)and Mario Martone (Nostalgia) to be on the radar of the jury when the nine members chaired by French actor Vincent Lindon begin their final deliberations.
Other major works to watch out for in Cannes are the Opening Night film Coupez! (English title: Final Cut) by Michel Hazanivicius, Austrian director Maria Kreutzer feminist period drama Corsage, the Tom Cruise starrer Top Gun: Maverick and Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic, Elvis.
Last but not the least, ShaunakSen’s All That Breathes, which won the World Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, gets a Special Screening in Cannes this year. The film centres on two brothers who, amid Delhi’s worsening air pollution and growing social unrest, devote themselves to rescuing black kites.
In the Special Screenings section, All that Breathes is in the company of documentaries by Ethan Coen (Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind), Patricio Guzman(My Imaginary Country) and Sergei Loznitsa (The Natural History of Destruction), who has been disowned by the filmmaking fraternity in Ukraine because he has declared his opposition to Russian filmmakers being boycotted because of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of his country.
To prevent this argument from going soft it’s perhaps best to start with a story, even if it’s an anecdote about an anecdote. Despite having never met the man in question, an acquaintance of mine from Mumbai once recalled how Amitabh Bachchan may have saved his life in the dusty valleys of Afghanistan. The storyteller, an Indian diplomat, who shall we say functions as part of the spear tip of Indian statecraft, was in the Central Asian nation soon after the Taliban’s ouster in 2002 and looking to make contact with a few leaders of the putative Northern Alliance. Suddenly besieged and presented to a different set of warlords he found himself unable to break the ice with them, and was soon gravely informed that they suspected him of being a Pakistani spook, the “enemy” they loathed. That is until he spied a tattered poster of Bachchan’s 1992 hit Khuda Gawah (‘God is the Witness’, a film shot extensively in Afghanistan) in the next room and decided to talk Bollywood — to immediate excitement among the Afghan warriors. Unable to recall any song from that film, however, he found himself back in the doghouse, until he started belting out ‘Mehbooba, Mehbooba’ from Sholay, the 1975 blockbuster that launched Bachchan to superstardom, and is perhaps the most famous Hindi film west of Amritsar. An agreement was soon concluded and the diplomat found himself warmly escorted back to his base with much fierce debate about the new “Khan ishtars” in Mumbai.
Aishwarya Rai at Cannes Film Festival
The tale might have perhaps grown longer in the telling but there’s no disputing how popular Indian films now are in many parts of the world. Clearly, going soft need not be inopportune. For well over two decades now foreign policy wonks have waxed eloquent about the merits of ‘soft power’ for nations looking to find their places at the global high table. India, with its old civilisation and spiritual customs based on universalist traditions, has always had several cards to play in this game. Indian commercial cinema, with its distinct rhythms, is the latest addition to the pack. As a noted strategic affairs guru puts it: “Bollywood has done more for Indian influence abroad than all the bureaucratic efforts of the government”. But there’s still some way to go, for both industry and creative artists cynically churning out assembly-line movies in the country, and for the state making more concerted efforts to better push what is arguably India’s most exciting export goodie.
Much water has flown down the Ganges since earlier generations of Indians were often told of how much Russians loved Raj Kapoor’s cloyingly Chaplinesque tramp from Awara, or of how Dilip Kumar was as much a heartthrob in Lahore and Dhaka as he was in Mumbai. Beyond old ties of cultural kinship in the subcontinent and bilateral arrangements between governments (which saw a handful of Indian films being regularly exported to ‘friendly’ countries like the Soviet Union or Mongolia), Indian cinema has struck out and conquered bold newer frontiers now. Indian superstars like Aishwarya Rai and Aamir Khan regularly walk the red carpet at big film festivals like Cannes, Toronto and Venice and are recognised globally. Southern superstar Rajinikanth was a cultural phenomenon in Japan for a while, where local fans dubbed him ‘Dancing Maharajah” and landed up in exotic Indian costumes for his movie premieres. Bolly superstar Shah Rukh Khan was conferred a high Malaysian state honour which even stirred controversy there with many protesting that local actors were ignored. Several actors also increasingly pop up in the tabloid press when holidaying abroad in the West — a surer sign of cross-cultural traction than any box-office grosses — and are now slowly experimenting with taking up meaty roles in films in a more globalised Hollywood.
A Poster of Sivaji
There’s no denying Indian movie stars’ graphs have seen increasingly steep rises from the last decade into this one. If pirated videotapes in the 1980s kickstarted the revolution, the internet and its endlessly cyclical streams of video content — appears to have solidified this reach, taking Indian film to places as far afield as North Africa, Western Europe, Japan and South Korea. In fact there’s a reason Indian film distributors now delay releasing Hindi or Tamil films in many foreign markets, despite the lucrative business many films do there. Most pirated DVDs that land up almost immediately after film premieres on Indian shores come from these places.
Home is where the heart is
In briefly analysing this trans-cultural appeal of Indian cinema two major factors must be noted. One, the size, breadth and rising cultural assertiveness of the Indian diaspora across the world has been a factor so huge it’s changed Bollywood in several noteworthy ways. The expatriate Indian’s outsize longing for identity and roots has helped reshape the country’s film trade. The foreign box office (BO) contributes so significantly to big movies in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu that several duds at the local BO actually go on to make profits from the diaspora dollar. Many films now have exclusive premieres in London and New York, unthinkable even a decade and a half ago. Pioneered by filmmakers like Subash Ghai — who was actually lampooned in the mid 1990s for ‘pandering’ to Non Resident Indian (NRI) audiences — the size of this market has even led to the content changing in Bollywood. Indian films have got slicker, costlier and are now set in locales across the globe with many actors often playing NRI characters, echoing vaguely NRI concerns.
Film markets at festivals worldwide now see sizeable Indian delegations hawking new productions for distributors to pick up or producers to take up. Outside of Bollywood, Tamil film producers now tie-up ‘FMS’ (Foreign, Malaysia, Singapore) rights before they get down to haggling with local distributors about territories and sales, while Telugu producers line up small European and sizeable North American releases for their new films.
Songs and dance are essence of Indian Cinema
NRIs, it seems, just can’t get enough of the filmy glamour from their old country in any way possible. Many film stars now earn big bucks from performing at ‘Bollywood Nights’ abroad. These arena shows, staged almost exclusively in countries with large NRI populations, have also proven so lucrative that several stars either long in the tooth back home or relegated to the background now make their money purely from ‘touring’.
Business is booming overseas, yet as any big producer, distributor or cultural commentator will tell you, much remains to be done to increase penetration beyond the diaspora. The odd viral video of Europeans doing ‘Bollywood dancing’ for small audiences or weddings with a Bollywood theme are still too few and far between for Indian cinema to be labelled a widespread crossover phenomenon. Unlike, say, with the martial arts films that crossed over from Hong Kong and China to the West over three decades ago; or Japanese creature features, manga or ‘J-Horror’ genres. They influence Hollywood, still the gold standard for big feature film production. To change that requires tinkering with the old formula for Indian cinema. It would mean going more ‘arty’ (a despised phrase in Indian film production circles) and looking to imbibe and reconstruct in singular fashion genres, themes and narrative experiments from elsewhere. And not just in form.
Which is, of course, easier said than done. A strong recidivist streak resides deep inside Indian filmdom. The formula may not be periodically dumped or retired for a new genre to rise to the top of the heap à la Hollywood. This in turn has a lot to do with why the formula is the way it is. Why fix what ain’t broke? And besides, this formula is the second reason Indian films have such a large global reach. It’s why they speak in unmatched dulcet tones to several other developing societies that have much more in common with Indian audiences than they suspect.
Rajinikanth fans in Japan
Think Local, Act Global
There’s a reason India is referred to as a subcontinent. The sum of its many ethnic, cultural and linguistic parts is perhaps greater than the whole. With over 25 major languages spoken and over 700 hundred dialects, not to mention large ethnic, cultural and religious divisions, nation building and unity was a challenge the founders and early builders of modern India took very seriously indeed. Cinema was soon harnessed to the task in the 1950s. Filmmakers and writers took on matters of great national and social import and until the mid 1960s (when romances got mushier and a new generation of glamorous lovers and sex symbols appeared onscreen) and early 70s (when public anger against a dysfunctional state and crony capitalism exploded on screens across India) sought to craft a cohesive cinema that provided ‘wholesome’ family entertainment while dwelling on traditional Indian values and customs. These films had to crossover from one region of India to another that had about as much in common with each other as two European countries do. They had to transcend barriers of language, class, creed and ethnicity. They began doing that for almost every big Bollywood release in roughly the late 60s to early 70s. The seeds of a global formula were sown right there. In fact, in addition to India’s remarkable (even if slightly flawed) tryst with liberal democracy, several theorists and historians have championed Bollywood in particular as a great force for national integration in what ought to have been a rather fractious country of infinite diversity. To put it a little simplistically, a template was slowly evolved and continues to form the basis of cinema to this day with very little variations on the theme, even if the forms have changed over time.
Also powered by audiences changing with a new liberalising India, new films from the mid 1990s began to be increasingly located abroad (and not just for the songs) while the melodrama remained firmly rooted in varying interpretations of ‘Indianness’. Over the year the characters got glitzier, the stars got shinier, the songs got dreamier, the love stories got mushier, the gangsters and vigilantes got nastier and the Hollywood-inspired action sequences got edgier, but the melodramatic tensions remained pretty much the same. It made — and still makes — for a heady mix. Yet at its core Indian cinema is still mostly all about family, culture, traditions and, of course, romance. And the increasing demands that modernity makes on each of those.
A Poster of Sholay
This is largely what appeals to audiences in countries that are grappling with the rapid changes wrought by the modern world and increasingly breakneck Westernization of societies. So from much of the Arab world to Central Asia and parts of South East Asia, from Africa and to many parts of Latin America, Indian films deal with societal tensions that people deal with on a daily basis. Despite the candyfloss glamour on top, which merely provides for the perfect escapism for such audiences. And an alternate ‘warm’ escapism, one that comes straight from the heart; as opposed to what Hollywood provides, which for these audiences tends to be either too cerebral, too Western or merely a visceral rush. The neo-Shakespearean tragicomic genre that Bollywood has made its own is a different fl avour to be savoured with everyone. No wonder it’s a hit.
Besides, there’s also one special secret sauce added into the mix. The one genre that India perhaps took and refashioned in singular fashion more than any other to make it its own more than any other: the old Hollywood musical format. Which was quickly fused with classical Indian traditions of devotional and theatrical musical performance. The spectacular results are there for the world to see. Indeed, whatever your cinematic inclinations you would have to admit, where would Indian cinema be without all that song and dance? The world agrees. Come, sing along. Or better yet, dance.
(This story is reproduced from the archives of Pickle Magazine)
Thankfully the localisation business had an upward swing due to a huge demand from streaming platforms as consumers relied on them for entertainment more during lockdown, says Manish Dutt and Krishi Dutt of VR Films & Studios Ltd
Do you miss being at the Cannes Film Festival and Market? For over a decade VR Films & Studios have been regular at Cannes…
Indeed, yes. Virtual Cannes Festival and Market are surely not the same as being physically present there and this is the second consecutive year we missed it because of the challenging situation caused by Covid, though on business front new film acquisitions have been productive and fruitful.
Congrats! VR Films & Studios has done phenomenally well in quarterly results, especially amidst Covid-19 pandemic…
Thank you, God has been kind. In spite of all the Covid induced difficulties and challenges, our FY 2020-21 has been more impressive than the previous year as we have posted more than 10 per cent top line. This quarter April 2021 – June 2021 as well we are hopeful of an impressive 15 per cent growth in the top line as compared to previous years
Has your localisation studio business got impacted by lockdown? How did you manage to change the workflow in your dubbing services?
Thankfully the localisation business had an upward swing due to a huge demand from streaming and TV platforms as consumers relied on them for entertainment more during lockdown. We pioneered our localising systems with “Remote Dubbing” and provided quality output with lots of R&D.
What are your learnings from the operation side of business from lockdown. Do we see this continue in normal times also? Do we go back to pre-Covid times?
We realised with passion and determination, ways and means can be obtained and challenges can be handled effectively. Due to lockdown we had to first equip our team with working infrastructure from home and then innovate the usual dubbing work differently with each talent delivering from their respective homes. It was tough but with lots of effort we had quality output and this turned out to be our USP. We also managed to cut costs without impacting salaries and ensured our team is financially secured as only then each one of us could put in our best effort. We had to survive and gladly we came out stronger.
Theatres were shut and TV platforms were not sublicensing so we made the best with streaming platforms like TVOD, SVOD and AVOD. We had three new releases in this period – Unhinged (Russell Crowe), Target Number One (Josh Hartnett), The Power (Rose Williams) – and are now getting ready with another major Hollywood release, Jolt (Kate Beckinsale).
Post Covid times will be different from pre Covid times as we will incorporate and utilise some of the innovative skills we developed during lockdown, so it will be a beneficial mix of both times for sure.
Have you been able to keep the quality in dubbing the same as that of being done in a studio?
To a major extent yes. We localised some of the best shows during Lockdown for leading streaming platforms, at times delivering more than 400 hours per month and the quality was very appreciated.
Do you see video streaming platforms dominate the film and content space in the coming times?
At the moment they are dominating and will continue to. Times ahead are uncertain but when the situation comes under control theatrical release will come back. Nothing beats the magical release in theatres, the charm to sit in a theatre with an audience and watch a film munching popcorn and samosas. With ad revenue again flowing in, TV platforms too shall make a revival and sub-license films from independents like us.
Have you added new streaming platforms for dubbed services in Indian languages?
We already were localising for the best of the streaming platforms and Covid increased the business many folds as there was a huge demand for localisation during lockdown. We also added some new clients and are in the process of having more on board. We are increasing our dubbing infrastructure as well. We had plans to increase the number of our dubbing studios in 2020 but Covid made us abort those plans then, which we have revived now and we will be adding 10 new dubbing studios in Mumbai which will include Dolby Atmos and Dolby 5.1 mix studios.
It’s interesting to know that you are now into dubbing for Urdu, Singhalese… What are the foreign languages that are in demand now?
Surprisingly there is a demand for Sinhalese, Nepalese and Urdu dubbing from various platforms. Perhaps they are expanding their reach into these territories in the Indian sub-continent with their local languages.
Any impact for your dubbing services for broadcasters — VR Films has been the voice for Cartoon Network, Discovery and other kids channels?
We have been working with the crème de la crème of broadcasters for years and they have remained with us since then. We have constant output for them which has kept increasing and we are in the process of adding new clients too. Hence our expansion plan has started to roll on because of the increasing demand and the Covid situation being managed. From 400 hours a month we are expanding our capacity to nearly 800 hours per month as platforms have realised that to get more subscribers and maximum reach, they would need more hours of content and localisation makes more monetary sense for them.
Expect a keen tussle for the Cannes Film Festival’s top prize this year because it is, for the most part, likely to be a battle of equals, but do keep an eye on the surprises that the Un certain regard section is bound to spring
By Saibal Chatterjee
Three previous Palme d’Or winners – Jacques Audiard, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Nanni Moretti – are among the 24 directors vying for the top prize at the 74th Cannes Film Festival. Important as that bit of information is, it isn’t the big news. The big news is that one-third of this year’s Palme d’Or contenders – eight of the 24 – are films that were wrapped up last year.
What does that tell us? It is safe to assume that these filmmakers chose to opt out of the Cannes 2020 selection (or sit out other festivals held post-May) so as to be able to bring their films physically to Cannes this year and compete.
The eight 2020 productions in Competition are Weerasethakul’s Colombia-set Tilda Swinton and Jeanne Balibar starrer Memoria, Kirill Serebrennikov’s Petrov’s Flu, Nanni Moretti’s Three Floors, Leos Carax’s opening film Annette, Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta, a 17th century erotic drama set in an Italian convent, Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch (which would probably have been the opening film had the festival not been cancelled last year), Bruno Dumont’s France, and Mia Hansen-Love’s Bergman Island.
Serebrennikov will be unable to attend the Cannes Film Festival because he is serving a suspended sentence for embezzlement of government funds (a charge that human rights activists allege is a veiled retaliation against his criticism of the establishment) and is barred from leaving Russia. In 2018, too, the theatre and film director was prevented from making the trip to Cannes, where his musical Leto was in Competition.
Serebrennikov’s latest film Petrov’s Flu, an adaptation of a 2018 novel by Alexei Salnikov described in the synopsis as “a deadpan, hallucinatory romp through post-Soviet Russia”, follows a flu-hit comic-book artist and his family through yet another day as he drifts in and out of bouts of fantasy and a reality in which nothing is as ordinary as it seems.
Also in the Competition line-up is the Hungarian director Ildiko Enyedi, who won the Golden Bear at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival for On Body and Soul. Her new film, The Story of My Wife, starring Leo Seydoux (she has three other films in the festival), Dutch actor Gijs Naber and Louis Garrel, is adapted from a Milan Fust novel of the same name. Enyedi’s debut film, My 21st Century, won the Camera D’Or in Cannes in 1989.
Moretti’s film Tre Piani (Three Floors) tracks a chain of events that alters the lives of the residents of a Rome apartment building where co-existence as parents, siblings and neighbours isn’t the easiest thing to achieve. Moretti won the Palme d’Or exactly two decades ago, for The Son’s Room (2001).
Audiard, whose Dheepan won the Palme d’Or in 2015, is in Cannes with Les Olympiades (Paris 13th District), which was shot in the French capital during the pandemic. It follows four youngsters who are friends and lovers. The brief synopsis reads: “Emilie meets Camille, who is attracted to Nora, who crosses the path of Amber. Three girls and a boy redefine what modern love is.”
Carax, whose Annette stars Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, and Audiard, are among a record seven French directors in contention for the Palme d’Or. Mia Hansen-Love is competing with Bergman Island, in which a filmmaking couple (Tim Roth and Vicky Krieps) spend a summer in the Swedish island of Faro, where Ingmar Bergman lived and worked, with the intention of completing their respective scripts. As the days pass, they find the lines between reality and fiction blurring.
Another Cannes Competition first-timer Julia Ducournau has Titane, headlined by Cannes best actor winner Vincent Lindon (The Measure of a Man, 2015), in the running.
Catherine Corsini with The Divide, which plays out on the evening of a major ‘yellow vests’ protest in Paris; Bruno Dumont with France starring Lea Seydoux in a portrait of an anchor woman, of a country and of the media”; and Francois Ozon with Everything Went Fine, which has Sophie Marceau in the role of a woman whose octogenarian father wants her to help him end his life, complete the French Competition contingent.
Several other directors are vying for the festival’s top prize for the first time – Sean Baker (The Florida Project, Tangerine) with Red Rocket, Israel’s Nadav Lapid with Ahed’s Knee, Finnish filmmaker Juho Kuosmanen with Compartment No. 6), Belgian director Joachim Lafosse with The Restless, and the French-Moroccan Nabil Ayouch with Casablanca Beats.
A fictional filmmaker is at the centre of Israeli director Nadav Lapid’s Ahed’s Knee. The protagonist, a filmmaker in his mid-40s, travels to a remote desert village to present a film of his and finds himself contending with two deaths: one of freedom in his country, the other of his mother.
Besides Weerasethakul, the the 2021 Cannes Competition features two Asian directors – Cannes regular Asghar Farhadi and Japanese filmmaker Ryusuke Hamaguchi, whose 2018 film Asako 1 & 2 made the cut. This year, the latter is in Cannes with Drive My Car.
Farhadi’s Ghahreman (A Hero) promises to be precisely the kind of probe into human foibles that the director is known for. The film centres on a man imprisoned for failing to repay a debt. Out on parole for two days, he tries to convince the creditor to drop the case against him in exchange for payment of a part of the sum. But matters do not pan out quite the way the protagonist expects them to.
Hollywood star Sean Penn, who was in the Cannes Competition in 2016 with The Last Face, returns to the Croisette with Flag Day, a film based on a true story about one of the most notorious counterfeiters in US history. It is a father-daughter drama that stars Penn himself opposite his real-life daughter Dylan Penn.
Australian director Justin Kurzel, whose Macbeth was in Competition in 2015, has a film among the award contenders this year. Titled Nitram, the film stars Caleb Landry Jones as a loner who goes on a shooting rampage. It is inspired by the real-life 1996 Port Arthur shooting in which 35 people were killed.
Norwegian director Joachim Trier, who competed for the big prize in 2015 with his English-language Louder film than Bombs, has The Worst Person in the World in Competition this time around. The film, a dramedy about a young woman in the throes of an existential angst and a struggle to find true love, rounds off the director’s Oslo trilogy.
Ayouch, a Competition newbie, brings a realistic hip-hop musical to the festival. The film, Casablanca Beats, features many non-pro actors. Set in the Sidi Moumen slum district of Casablanca, the film centres on a bunch of youngsters fighting to break free from the shackles of conservatism and express themselves through music.
Kuosmanen, whose The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, was in the Un certain regard competition in 2016, has moved a step up this year. His new film, Compartment No. 6, set in the late 1990s, is about a Finnish student Laura who travels from Moscow to Murmansk to see ancient rock paintings. The only other passenger in the compartment is an unsociable, glum Russian miner. In the course of the long rail trip through the snow, the ice begins to breaks between the two travellers.
American director Sean Baker gets his first shot at the Palme d’Or with Red Rocket, about a down-and-out former porn star returns to his small Texas hometown, where nobody really wants him back.
Chadian director Mahamat Saleh-Haroun, who is no stranger to the Cannes Competition (his fourth feature film, A Screaming Man, won the Jury Prize in Cannes in 2010), is back in the reckoning with Lingui. It is a film about a young mother and her pregnant 15-year-old daughter who have to find a way to get an abortion done in a society in which that is easier said than done.
As always, observers looking to discover new stars of world cinema will focus on Un certain regard, where seven of the 20 films have been made by debutants. The competitive section opens with Onoda, a film by French actor-turned-director Arthur Harari that has been filmed entirely in Japan.
Among the Un certain titles to watch out for are Commitment Hasan, the second part of Turkish filmmaker Semih Kaplanoglu’s Commitment trilogy; Bulgarian filmmaking pair Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova’s Women Do Cry; Arab-Israeli director Eran Kolirin’s Let There Be Morning;and Russian filmmaker Kira Kovalenko’s Unclenching the Fists.
One film this critic would be particularly keen to watch is from Russia – Alexey German Jr.’s House Arrest. The protagonist of the film, David, is a university professor who launches a broadside against the city administration on social media. But instead of the mayor’s questionable dealings being probed, the whistle-blower is put under house arrest on a trumped-up charge. And thus begins a David-versus-Goliath battle.
Satyajit Ray’s work was showcased in Cannes Film Festival on several occasions. It is a tad disappointing, therefore, to find him missing from Cannes Classics in his centenary year. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful had one of Ray’s masterworks been in the mix this year as well?
By Saibal Chatterjee
Satyajit Ray had a long and symbiotic relationship with Cannes. It began with his very first film, Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road, 1955), which won the Best Human Document award at the festival’s ninth edition in 1956. The Indian maestro’s work was showcased in Cannes on several occasions thereafter. It is a tad disappointing, therefore, to find him missing from Cannes Classics in his centenary year.
After Pather Panchali, three of Ray’s films were in the Cannes Competition – Parash Pathar (1958), Devi (1962) and Ghare Baire (1984). A late-career work, Ganashatru (1989), played in the Special Screenings section. In 2013, one of his most consummate films, Charulata, was screened in Cannes Classics. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful had one of Ray’s masterworks been in the mix this year as well?
Widely credited with putting Indian cinema on the world map, Pather Panchali has been screened in Cannes on as many as four occasions. Besides the world premiere in 1956, when it heralded Ray’s arrival on the global stage, it was in Special Screenings in 1992 (as a homage to the filmmaker who had passed away weeks earlier), Directors’ Fortnight in 1995 (to mark the film’s 40th anniversary), and Cannes Classics in 2005 (on the occasion of the film’s 50th anniversary). It might have been in the fitness of things to find a slot for a Ray film in the Classics 2021 selection. The Cannes Film Festival is the only one of Europe’s ‘big three’ where the top prize eluded Ray. In Venice, the second part of the Apu trilogy, Aparajito (The Unvanquished), won the Golden Lion in 1958. In 1973, Ashani Sanket (Distant Thunder), which was, like the Apu trilogy, adapted from a Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay novel, fetched him the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.
It may be argued, and not unjustifiably, that Indian cinema has moved on since Satyajit Ray’s passing in 1992. It is also true that nearly 30 years on, the departed maestro continues to be a bright lodestar for contemporary subcontinental filmmakers seeking to make renewed global inroads. Ray perfected the art of making culturally rooted films that were, at the same time, universally relevant. That is an ability that can never go out of vogue.
No filmmaker in this country has reached the heights that Ray consistently did at the peak of his prowess – all the more reason to celebrate what he achieved in terms of paving the way for his successors.
In his centenary year and beyond, Ray remains a constant presence in our midst, reminding us of the intrinsic capacity of the medium to capture the essence of life that might be specific to one part of world and yet communicate with people across the globe. He was an auteur in the truest sense of the word, the kind of filmmaker that the Cannes Film Festival has feted over the decades.
Ray’s oeuvre is important not only as films but also as historical/social chronicles. “Seldom has a film director’s work chronicled the process of social change in a country over as long a span of time as Satyajit Ray’s,” film critic Chidananda Dasgupta wrote in his book The Cinema of Satyajit Ray. “The subjects of his films range over the shifting social scene in India for over one hundred and fifty years (at the time of the book’s publication).”
Dasgupta wrote: “Devi (The Goddess, 1960) is placed in the 1830s. Shatranj Ke Khilari (The Chess Players, 1977) in the 1850s. Charulata (1964) is laid in 1879, Jalsaghar (The Music Room, 1958) at the turn of the century, the Apu trilogy in the early years of the 20th century. Sadgati (The Deliverance, 1981) was written by Premchand in the 1930s about an unspecified, as it were timeless, period. Ashani Sanket (Distant Thunder, 1973) deals with the British-made wartime famine of 1943; besides, he of course made a host of contemporary films.”
Ray’s contemporary films – Abhijan (The Expedition, 1962), Mahanagar (The BigCity, 1963), Aranyer Din Ratri (Days and Nights in the Forest, 1969), Seemabaddha (Company Limited, 1971), and Jana Aranya (The Middleman, 1975), among others – present a vivid portrait of a society and a culture in flux. No filmmaker has ever caught the nuances of this process and its impact on human beings as felicitously as he did. The simplicity of his films was often deceptive. Nothing that Ray made was ever chance-directed.
Ray at Cannes
Beginning with the ninth edition of the Cannes Film Festival (1956), where his debut film PatherPanchali won the Prix du Document Humain, the Indian maestro travelled to the Croisette on several occasions in subsequent years. He had three more titles in the Cannes Competition – Parash Pathar (1958), Devi (1962) and GhareBaire (1984) – besides Ganashatru (1989) in the Special Screenings section. In 2013, one of his greatest films, Charulata, was screened in Cannes Classics.
Pather Panchali is as much a part of Indian cinema folklore as it is of the Cannes Film Festival’s own history. In 1956, it won the Best Human Document Award, narrowly losing the Palme d’Or race to the French documentary Le Monde du Silence (The Silent World), directed by Louis Malle and famed oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau. It was a year of heavy-hitters in the Cannes Competition, with the likes of Ingmar Bergman (Smiles of a Summer Night, which also won a Special Award), Akira Kurosawa (I Live in Fear) and Alfred Hitchcock (The Man Who Knew Too Much) going head to head. It was also the year when Henri-Georges Clouzot, known for his seminal French thrillers, landed a Special Jury Award for his Picasso documentary, Le Mystere Picasso (The Mystery of Picasso).The jury was headed by French actor-director-producer Maurice Lehmann.
India’s incredible variety of landscapes coupled with advantages like availability of very skilled and experienced film crews places the country in an advantageous position when compared to several foreign countries, says Déborah Benattar, Executive Producer and Founder La Fabrique Films, in an interview with Pickle, while sharing her experience of working as a production services company in India since 2013
Congrats! It is great to know Cyril Dion’s “Animal” (selected for the Cinema for the Climate Section, Cannes Film Festival 2021) and some parts were filmed in India and your company La Fabrique Films helped in executive production. Tell us about your experience of filming “Animal”.
For forty years, 60% populations of wild animals and 80% of flying insects in Europe have disappeared. This is what scientists call the Sixth Mass Extinction.
After the success of “Demain”, with more than a million admissions in France, and César for Best Documentary Film 2016, Cyril Dion decides to investigate our relationship to the living world. His new film, “Animal”, marries the eyes of two teenagers, the English Bella and the French Vipulan, two young activists who fervently campaign for the animal cause and against global warming. Across the world, they see the extent of the disaster but also discover initiatives that give hope to people.
In India, they meet Afroz Shah, an environmental activist and lawyer from Bombay, who initiated the clean-up of Mumbai’s Versova Beach and has inspired people around the world to clean up their environment.
The film “Animal” recalls a fundamental truth: human beings believe that they could separate themself from nature, but they are in fact the nature. They too are animals. La Fabrique Films line produced the shoot in Mumbai in November 2019 and we feel proud to be associated with such a beautiful documentary film dedicated to climate and ecological commitment.
Tell us about La Fabrique Films? What are the projects you have done in India?
We have been working as a production services company in India for foreign productions since 2013. We have welcomed movies such as “Les Cow-Boys” by Thomas Bidegain,“Maya” by Mia Hanse-Love, “Fahim” by Pierre-Francois Martin-Laval and “The Best is Yet to Come” by Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de la Patellière, among others.
In the beginning of 2020, just before the pandemic, we had the pleasure to line produce a shoot in Rajasthan of the Swiss Film “And Tomorrow You Will Be Dead”, directed by Michael Steiner and produced by Zodiac Pictures. The film is based on a true story and its drama is hard to beat: In 2011 Daniela Widmer and David Och were traveling along the Silk Road in their bus when they were kidnapped by bandits in Pakistan and handed over to the Taliban. They succeeded in escaping their kidnappers eight months later. The movie will be released in cinemas in Switzerland on 28th October 2021.
What according to you are challenges for La Fabrique Films?
We have been trying to defend the interest of foreign producers in a very transparent way. It would be a great incentive for line production companies like ours if the government expedite the refunding process of goods and service tax (GST), which is required to be paid by local entities like us. As export of services is not taxable in India, line producers are eligible to claim refund of part of this GST from the tax authorities in India. We have been trying to obtain this refund on behalf of our foreign clients, but it has proven to be a lengthy and tedious process.
What fascinates you in an Indian location?
India is fascinating as it has an incredible variety of landscapes to offer. And apart from the variety of locations, one of the main advantages India has compared to several foreign countries, is that the technical crews are very skilled and experienced. It is always a great collaboration between the foreign and the Indian crew.
Do you see visible changes after the formation of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting’s Film Facilitation Office? Has filming in India eased now?
The Film Facilitation Office (FFO) has tremendously improved and speeded the permission process for international projects as well as the delivery of film visas for the cast and crew.
We are hoping to see similar improvements in terms of permissions with other institutions: Indian Railways, ASI, DGCA, etc
The government plans to incentivise filming in India as well under Co-production Treaties? Will this be an advantage for India?
Once the government introduces incentives like other foreign countries, India will definitely become one of the best shooting destinations in the world. Also, we would really appreciate if the government take care of few hiccups like streamlining the taxation processes, as mentioned earlier, to make it a win-win for all.
Your reflections on how tough it has been during the lockdown times… How do you see changes in the post-COVID world for filming? What are the changes that we should embrace to face reality?
The lockdown time has allowed us to become more creative and work more digitally. But we are very trilled to go back to shoot and allow foreign and Indian crew to collaborate as they share the same passion for cinema.
After a successful partnership for Cannes, the Marché du Film has once again roped in Paris-based Blue Efficience to increase the security of online screenings for Ventana Sur beginning November 30.
Blue Efficience will monitor anti-piracy of 150 films to be screened for buyers and delegates virtually during the LATAM market.
A total of 872 films benefited from Blue Efficience’s expertise during Cannes Film Market 2020. Thanks to the antipiracy measures implemented by the Marché du Film and its technology suppliers Cinando and Shift72, including encryption and watermarking of films, Blue Efficience did not detect any piracy resulting from the virtual screenings that took place during the Marché. On the contrary Blue Efficience were able to see that some films had already been pirated well before the Marché du Film Online.
Blue Efficience is also valued on the market for its closeness to its interlocutors, its great reactivity, its efficiency and the quality of its work.
From antipiracy enforcement to the promotion of legal amenities, the company offers a 360-degree service around films. The company also invests strongly in research and development which enables the company to offer the best technical and innovative solutions to fight piracy.
India is committed to welcome the global film community to come and do business in the country and work closely with the domestic media and entertainment industry, said Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javdekar at the e-inauguration of the India Pavilion at the 61st Cannes Film Market.
Amidst the pandemic of coronavirus, the Government of India has committed to welcome the global film community to come and do business in India and work closely with the domestic media and entertainment industry. This message was conveyed by Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javdekar at the e-inauguration of the India Pavilion at the 61st Cannes Film Market, virtually attended by over 2000 film industry professionals across the globe.
Calling cinema the “soft power” of India, Javadekar said his Ministry is continuously working towards making India as film shooting and film friendly destination for the audiovisual sector. “Our Film Facilitation Office has facilitated over 80 foreign film shootings. Now, it will function as a single window for all Central and State government permissions. I appeal to the global film fraternity, to come invest and shoot in India.”
In a clear message that the ‘show must go on’, the global filmmaking community and industry professionals were conveyed that the 51st edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) will take place between November 20-28 later this year. Javadekar also unveiled the poster and the booklet for the IFFI 2020.
Adopting the new normal, and to keep the ethos of the virtual Indian participation at Cannes alive, the Indian Pavillion is expected to be buzzing with activities around co-production, film shooting in India, exports of Indan films and content, post production and networking. The Pavillion will facilitate B2B meetings and linkages between filmmakers and other media and entertainment industries stake holders (June 22-26, 2020).
Over a dozen dignitaries participated at the e-inauguration of the India Pavilion at the virtual Cannes Film Market. Over 90 Indian industry professionals representing 60 companies are part of the virtual Cannes film market.
In his address to the global film community, Amit Khare, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India announced that along with the Indian film industry, centenary celebration of legendary filmmaker Satyjit Ray will be celebrated at the Cannes Film Festival 2021 showcasing a retrospective of the iconic filmmaker. The 74th Edition of Cannes Film Festival is slated for May 14-25, 2021. It was announced earlier that IFFI 2020 and IFFI 2021 will pay tribute to legendary filmmaker of India Satyajit Ray.
Atul Kumar Tiwari, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, in his opening remarks invited global film community to block their diaries to attend the 51st Edition of IFFI (November 20-28, 2020).
Michèle Waterhouse, Head of Coordination, Cannes Film Market said Marché du Film Online 2020 Edition is a a milestone in the history of the film industry. “It has been a difficult time for all with Covid-19 and the future remains rocky but we are here together and we thank all of you who have supported us in this endeavour. Together we are a strong force and we will continue to move forward to give Indian cinema its due place in the world,” said Waterhouse. India has been participating at the Cannes Film Market for over 20 years.
Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), moderated the inauguration of the India Pavilion and said the both physical and virtual markets are here to stay in the coming years and industry has to adopt to the changing needs. FICCI is managing the virtual India Pavilion at the online Cannes Film Market under the aegis of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India.
Shrila Dutta Kumar, Minister (Consular) Embassy of India to France assured assistance to the stakeholders of Indian film industry representatives to promote cooperative ventures with France in the area of film co-production and visas.
“We are going through very tough times and people have started seeing cinema in a different way, like how they are seeing their life differently. People will change the way they consume media. Our films have to delve in newer and fresher subjects,” said Prasoon Joshi, Lyricist and Chairman, CBFC.
Joshi maintained that cinema is an essential medium. “We say human being is a social animal. When did human become social?. Somewhere social needs became part of your life and over the years generations cinema has got hardwired into an essential medium… there will be a need for entertainment in some way or other”.
Other dignitaries including Madhur Bhandarkar, National Award-winning Director, D Suresh Babu, National Representative, Active Telugu Filmmakers Guild, Colin Burrows, Special Treats Productions, Kangana Ranaut, film personality, Usha Jadhav, Actor, Mai Ghat spoke at the India Pavilion inauguration.
TCA Kalyani, Joint Secretary (Films) Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and MD, National Film Development Corporation thanked dignitaries in her vote of thanks.