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Indian Talents at Berlinale 2022

admin   January 30, 2022

Prantik Narayan Basu is a director and screenwriter. He is interesting in drama, documentary, art and experimental. His meditative documentary Bela juxtaposes the Chhau art form with life in a Bengal village. “I make films from a desire to share something beautiful, things that can’t just be photographed or put into words,” he says.

Yashaswini is a director and sound designer. Her film That Cloud Never Left was widely acclaimed. She is interested in collaborative working, hybrid formats, low budget, documentary, art and experimental.

Payal Sethi is a director and screenwriter. She has made an intense film titled Leeches. She is interested in collaborative working, low budget, women environment, short film and thriller.

Kalieaswari Srinivasan is an actor. She is known for films such as Dheepan, The Patience Stone, The Prisoner and Sivaranjiniyum Innum Sila Pengalum. She is interested in collaborative working, web series, drama series, indigenous cinema, art and experimental.

Chhatrapal Ninawe is a director and screenwriter. He is popular for Ghaath Pitch, which is about an undercover left wing ultra who tracks down a police officer responsible for death of his brother. He is interested in drama, thriller, indigenous cinema, human rights and politics.

Pooja Chauhan is a producer. She is interested in drama, animation, historical drama, hybrid formats, new distribution models, VOD, virtual reality, women empowerment, politics, cross/trans media etc.

Ameya Gupta is an editor. She has worked on multiple projects including Dubai Tourism Expo. She is interested in documentary, dance, rom-com, short film, road movie, children/youth, musical, drama series, women empowerment, web series etc.


Rightstrade to Expand Global Reach Sponsor of AFM® 2020 Online

admin   September 21, 2020

The company will offer a complimentary trial subscription for the market’s sales and production company exhibitors providing them the opportunity to use the RightsTrade platform and its tools for AFM 2020 and through the end of the year

The American Film Market has announced that RightsTrade, the film and TV industry’s online sales platform, has signed on as a Premier Sponsor of AFM 2020 Online. This year’s market will take place wholly online over five days, Monday, November 9 – Friday, November 13.

RightsTrade is an online marketplace for film, television and digital media distribution rights. By connecting distributors with content owners, RightsTrade’s global marketplace makes it easier, faster and more costefficient for buyers and sellers to license content rights.

RightsTrade’s presence at AFM 2020 Online is designed to further expand its footprint and give back to the industry. The company will offer a complimentary trial subscription for the market’s sales and production company exhibitors providing them the opportunity to use the RightsTrade platform and its tools for AFM 2020 and through the end of the year.

The trial gives companies the ability to experience RightsTrade’s core set of functionality including integrated video conferencing with video asset streaming within calls, calendaring, messaging, and a self-serve content hub where each seller can list and manage their market titles including metadata, key art, video assets and more.

In addition, the main exhibit hub for sales companies on the AFM 2020 Online platform will be called the Industry Offices presented by RightsTrade. It will showcase the online booths for hundreds of sales, production and distribution companies, and international organizations.

Bill Lischak, recently appointed CEO of RightsTrade said, “The AFM is one of the crown jewels of film markets and we couldn’t be more pleased to support the industry at this year’s event. In 2020, we’ve turned our focus towards expanding our online platform capabilities to serve an evergrowing need for online markets and to give back to those in the content business. We look forward to further expanding our reach and unique offering via the AFM.”

Jonathan Wolf, AFM Managing Director said, “We look forward to connecting the world’s sales companies with the RightsTrade platform as a valuable resource for further enhancing their sales and efforts.”

RightsTrade’s leadership team focuses on developing commercial and backend solutions for leading film and television companies, with decades of experience implementing back-end and front-end solutions for more than 50 leading media and entertainment companies.

RightsTrade has recently been providing “virtual market” functionality to the industry, including having built and powered FILMART Online’s market platform, along with meeting and screening tools for the NATPE International Budapest market.


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Taapsee’s takes on OTT, Nepotism & Covid

admin   July 6, 2020

I welcome changes. But I am a very old school person where I enjoy watching films in theater with the community, says actress Taapsee Pannu, while talking about OTT and cinema halls at CII Delhi eConclave ‘Building Delhi for a New World’

The film fraternity is together in this (Covid-19) crisis. There are a lot of workers who depend on weekly wages and all of us have decided to take care of them till the time the economy gets back to normal. I believe that when things return to normal, people will flock the theatres again. You can’t replicate the theatre experience with streaming websites, says Taapsee Pannu.

While speaking on nepotism in the film industry, the actress, who is popular pan-India thanks to movies in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, mentions that favouritism, being integral to human nature, will not go out of the industry and we cannot totally get rid of it.

“I also have that urge of going back to work because I’ve never had Monday blues. We don’t have weekend or weekday in our profession. I am finally looking to going to work knowing probably that I will be the last one going to work,” she says, at CII Delhi eConclave ‘Building Delhi for a New World’.

On Covid, the actress says, “We never believed that such a crisis will happen. I guess none of us have prepared for it. We are lucky enough that many of us still survive. But there are so many who have literally hand to mouth existence in terms of not just the labour workers, but people who earn per shoot or per day basis and, and those people I don’t think can survive beyond a few weeks. The industry did come together to raise funds and then help these people out in a lot of ways. Also migrant workers walking back home are painful insights of Covid.”

Talking about OTT and big cinema, Taapse says, “I welcome changes. But I am a very old school person where I enjoy watching films in theater with the community. Rarely do we see people just going alone to watch a film. The experience of going in a big dark hall and focusing all your energy on a huge screen can’t be replicated anywhere else. II was not an ardent OTT viewer before lockdown happened because an average film also will look good to me in a theatre. I enjoy watching films in theatre and really miss that. I have a firm belief that when things get back to the old normal, not the new normal, I think everybody is going to rush to theater to have that experience with all safety norms. OTT platform is good as a temporary fix.”



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BACK IN BUSINESS WITH A BANG

admin   November 1, 2019

With the rise of OTT platforms, the demand for scripted dramas is soaring in India. However, there are very few bright minds in the Indian M&E space who have mastered the art of creating and marketing scripted dramas like Bobby Bedi has. After a spell of silence that lasted for almost a decade, Bobby Bedi is back in business with a bang with a number of projects lined up, and it looks like he is set on a mission to dish out some brilliant scripted dramas for a global audience

By Natarajan Vidyasagar & Vivek Ratnakar

For close to a decade, acclaimed Indian film producer Bobby Bedi (Sundeep Singh Bedi) has been just an observer. He has not done any major movie project or produced content. During this time he was creating museums and was dabbling with content every now and then.

When it comes to Indian media and entertainment sector, Bobby is among the brightest creative and business minds. This combination is rare, as in the Indian media and entertainment space you are either bracketed as a creative or a business mind.

Once a salesman at multi-national companies like Philips and Sony, Bobby Bedi through his sheer perseverance as an entrepreneur in the media and entertainment industry, discovered the art of creating and marketing scripted dramas collaborating with top class talent who are now icons in the showbiz domain. To this day, there are very few in the industry who can match the reputation and consistent success that Bobby enjoyed in the scripted drama space.

Bobby’s first film as a producer was “In Which Annie Gives it to Those Ones”. The film was written by the now famous writer Arundati Roy, who also acted in the film. His second film “Electric Moon” was also written by Arundati Roy. His third film “Bandit Queen,” based on the life of Phoolan Devi, was directed by Shekhar Kapur, while dialogues were written by Ranjit Kapoor, and screenplay and book done by Mala Sen.

Script is the soul

In the “Bandit Queen,” script was the soul. Director Shekahr Kapur created the magic by converting a hard hitting script into a “lethal blow in the solar plexus of the world.” This is a classic example of when an idea is turned into movie, it is the harmony of creative contributions—script, camera, sound, art, performances and direction—that creates a great film. The film was premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight section of the 1994 Cannes Film Festival.

Bobby’s fourth film as a producer was “Fire,” written and directed by Deepa Mehta, starring Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das. His fifth film production “Maqbool” (Favorite), directed by Vishal Bhardwaj and starring Pankaj Kapur, Irrfan Khan, Tabu and Masumeh Makhija, is an adaptation of the play Macbeth by Shakespeare.

Bobby’s next venture “Mangal Pandey: The Rising” is a 2005 Indian historical drama film based on the life of Mangal Pandey, an Indian soldier known for helping to spark the Indian rebellion of 1857 (also known as The First War of Indian Independence). It was directed by Ketan Mehta, and screenplay was done by Farrukh Dhondy. The lead role was played by Aamir Khan. It was followed by “Saathiya” (directed by Shaad Ali and written by Mani Ratnam), “The Stoneman Murders”, and “Chintu Ji…” But no major movie projects were undertaken by him after that. There was just silence.

Come 2019, Bobby is back in business with a bang riding on back of an explosion in the Over The Top Television (OTT) content, turning streaming platforms into mainstream entertainment. “I was doing scripted dramas in India when nobody was doing it. Everybody was doing Bollywood entertainment format which was very popular. We were side business. With the coming of Netflix, Amazon and other platforms, and also because of the dubbing of the major international content, India has got exposed to and now addicted to scripted drama,” says a bullish Bobby Bedi who is on a mission to regain the glory and dish out scripted dramas for a global audience.

His pipeline at his professionally managed Contentflow Studios is overflowing. “We have our own studio in NOIDA, in the National Capital Region (NCR) of Delhi. We have our own team and our CEO is managing the business. My job is only to creatively drive it. Before the year is out, we would have done couple of more major projects . Suddenly, we are back in business with a bang,” says Bobby.

Bobby’s recently produced film “Bitter Chestnut,” directed by Gurvinder Singh, is rising on the popularity chart with every passing day. It was showcased at the world premiere of the recently concluded Busan International Film Festival. The film attracted critical acclamation at the 20th Jio MAMI, Mumbai Film Festival. It will continue its festival circuit journey in 2020, beginning with International Film Festival Rotterdam (Jan 22-Feb 2). Gurvinder’s earlier two films “Alms for the Blind Horse” and “Fourth Direction,” premiered at Venice and Cannes Film Festivals and have won numerous international awards.

“The whole premium scripted drama area is pretty much a white space in India, where they make great films, great soap operas… but nobody is really making high-budget, high-quality, 8-10 episode scripted drama.”
James Farrell
Head of International Originals, Amazon Studios

Digital drama

Recently, Bobby Bedi’s Contentflow Studios has signed joint venture agreements with acclaimed film producer Manmohan Shetty (Walkwater Media) and Optimystix Entertainment for a three film deal and set-up a new company.

Contentflow Studios is developing couple of Webseries for MX Player (The Times of India Group). It is also developing digital drama series for Aditya Birla Group’s Applause Entertainment, a leader in content creation and IP Studios led by M&E industry veteran Sameer Nair.

India’s top industrial company Amar Raja Group, Star Entertainment Worldwide and Contentflow Studios have joined hands to create a new content division to produce thriller series “Curse of the Kohinoor,” which will feature leading stars from Telugu Film Industry. “Curse of the Kohinoor,” will be directed by Colin Teague, whose credits include “Dr Who?” and its spin-off “Torchwood.” The heist thriller series tells the story of a plot to steal the Kohinoor diamond, the centrepiece of the British Crown Jewels.

“We have ambitions to create premium scripted series for the Indian and global marketplace,” says Padma Galla, director of Amara Raja Media and Entertainment. The new entity will collaborate with producers and broadcasters across the world.

“We are bringing the very best talent from the Indian and UK scripted worlds together in this premium production for the international market,” says Rahul Aggarwal, Director Star Entertainment.

Surge in demand

Behind all this development is India’s digital dominance to lead the OTT and new emerging online video audience. KPMG in its recent annual M&E 2019 report has projected that the online video audience in India which was 225 million in 2018 is likely to cross 550 million by 2023. India is seeing a surge in demand for mobile and broadband data, which is fuelling growth in the number of subscribers.

The entry of Reliance Jio Infocomm into the segment with its JioGigaFiber technology is set to further reduce broadband rates across the country, fuelling competition and further growth in subscriber base. Jio already has 340 million mobile subscribers.

According to Ericsson, India has the world’s highest per smartphone data usage of 10 GB per month. With video streaming, 10 GB will jump to 18 GB by 2024, says Ericsson.

Bobby Bedi concurs that Jio has transformed India’s content consumption on the mobile. “Jio has helped totally. It has brought prices down. It’s brought telecom majors Vodafone and Airtel down to those levels. Today data is accessible across the country. In fact I have problems in making phone calls, I am finding it easier to make WhatsApp calls and live phone calls on iPhone. Because it is certainly no longer a medium for communication, it seems to be a medium for entertainment”.

Bobby reckons that it’s content and script that will drive this medium. “We have decided that for the first few films we are going to rely on either novels or novelist and published material as the resource material or true stories for our films because we don’t want to work with writers who have three days of partying and come out with a script. If you work on an existing work of fiction then somebody has published work, somebody has given thought to character and story.”

Leonardo Dicaprio & Aamir Khan

He also believes that “films are remembered not because they have stars, but they are remembered because the films themselves”.

“‘Awara’ is remembered because of the Awara Hoon, ‘Shree 420’ is because of Shree 420, ‘Sangam’ because of Sagam. These movies have explored scripted stories of very high calibre. ‘Guide’ of Dev Anand is an R K Narayan story,” he says.

The need of the hour is to have actors who can portray any character on screen. “We need people like Leonardo Dicaprio and Brad Pitt who can play any character. Except for Aamir, stars play themselves.

Alluding to Aamir’s portrayal of a middle-aged father in ‘Dangal’, Bobby says that with Aamir it is very difficult for the audience to understand that it is not Aamir, rather this is this girl’s father. That is why the film did so much better in China than India. Even though it has done very well in India, in China at least they don’t know that they are watching this film for Aamir. There is a damn good actor who is playing father’s role.”

Speaking on the potential challenges of OTT platforms, Bobby says that going forward the biggest challenges would be to maintain profitability and creativity. “Today we are just starting. Series like ‘Sacred Games’ or ‘Made in Heaven’ have wowed audience. But once there are hundreds of series like ‘Sacred Games’ and ‘Made in Heavens’ then you will be fighting for the eyeball. They will also be competing with the rest of the world.”

Bobby is already thinking ahead of competition in terms of content. “I am not even thinking of competing with ‘Sacred Games’. ‘Curse of the Kohinoor’ is about telling the history of gems in India from Independence till today through a fictional story. Hopefully, I line up with a very big star for it. Today one thing that Netflix and Amazon have done is that they have made the world language blend.”

But despite the opportunities OTT space has created, Bobby is of the opinion that it has limited the revenue flow for people like him. “One of the biggest drawbacks of the OTT space is that people like me, people like Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar, Subhash Ghai, or Raj Kapoor’s family—anybody who had successful slew of important films and has lived of owning those properties and the flow of revenues from them—will be at the receiving end in the long term. OTT is getting more and more into the buyout space.”

“While we create the IP and we make money out of it, we don’t own it and it does not become a returning IP and that to my mind is going to be the biggest problem in film financing in the future. I think that if I have a choice I would fund them… to earn for myself and license them rather than sell them out because I wish to own some of my properties,” he adds.

However, far from being ungrateful, Bobby sees it as an opportunity to convince Indian directors to start creating films with wider global audience in mind. “Indian stories have travelled across the world in the past. Is ‘Gandhi’ not an Indian story? It is an entirely Indian story. Except for one sequence the entire film was shot in India. Likewise, ‘Jungle Book’ and ‘Slumdog (Millionaire)’ are Indian stories. We just need directors to start thinking in that direction.”

“India is home to some of the world’s greatest stories. It’s been thrilling to watch these amazing storytellers embrace the artistic freedom possible at Netflix to create entertaining stories.”
Bela Bajaria,
VP International originals, Netflix

Content-driven cinema

As an insider who has seen the Indian Media and Entertainment space transform from close quarters, Bobby has some more insights to share. To ride the new wave of content-driven cinema, he says that it is imperative that “we have to become less greedy”.

“Presently, if this money is flowing the industry has the habit of putting all the money in the bag. But we need to change and find ways as to how we can put the money back to derive more value out of it.”

“The reason that we are behind in the game is that India never needed scripted dramas. But now when we need scripted dramas, we don’t have good writers. A lot of platforms including Hotstar have introduced big writers programme; Yashraj has a writers programme; Reliance has a writers programme; and Zee is also trying to create one.”

Bobby can clearly see the existing gaps and is ready to fill them up by building strong partnerships with the international M&E community. He believes that his efforts will pay once India gets used to large format proper scripted dramas. “Then there is no going back. People will never go back to Saas Bahu dramas.”

Having set high standards in the Indian M&E space through his work, Bobby’s eyes sparkle with anticipation when he talks about the future. He’s as ready as he’ll ever be to take Indian stories to global audience, transcending the barriers of geography, language and culture, to communicate with the world, and bring the humanity closer using the universal language of cinema.


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Made in Afghan Film ‘Hava, Maryam, Ayesha’ To Compete at Venice Festival

admin   August 20, 2019

Afghan film “Hava, Maryam, Ayesha” produced by filmmaker Sahraa Karimi has made its way to the 76th Venice International Film Festival in the Orizzonti section (Horizons) is a section of the Venice Film Festival’s official selection

Filmmaker Karimi said “Hava, Maryam, Ayesha” tells the story of Afghan women suffering from different incidents, including explosions and bombings, in the country. “As a female filmmaker from Afghanistan, I promised myself to be the storyteller of my fellow countrywomen who seek to change their lives in a traditional society. By travelling to many Afghan cities and villages, I found real stories from inside my country about women such as Hava, Maryam, and Ayesha,” says director Sahraa Karimi, as she talks about her venture Hava, Maryam Ayesha.

The first independent Afghan film entirely shot in Kabul with director, actors, and actresses living in Afghanistan is about three Afghan women from different social background.

Born in 1985, Sahraa Karimi comes from the second generation of Afghan refugees in Iran. At the age of fifteen, she played as an actress in two Iranian films which brought her to study cinema in Slovakia and graduated with a PHD of directing. During these years, she has made more than 30 short fictions and documentaries, some of which won numerous awards in International film festivals.

After 10 years of making many shorts and documentaries, she returned to Kabul. She made two documentaries there which were successful internationally and were broadcasted through ARTE France and BBC. Hava, Maryam, Ayesha is her first feature film which was shot entirely in Kabul with Afghan actors.

Giving interesting details about the lead characters, she says, “Hava is the example of an Afghan housewife, Maryam is an intellectual and well-educated woman, and Ayesha is a teenager from the middle class. They are trying not to give in to the imposed patriarchal society. Their decision is a form of resistance to their predetermined life. My goal is to narrate the lives of the women who haven’t had a voice for many years, and they are now ready to change their fate. “

The film’s synopsis goes like this: “Three Afghan women from different social background, living in Kabul, are facing a big challenge in their lives. Hava, a traditional pregnant woman whom no one cares about, is living with her father and mother in law. Her only joy is talking to the baby in her belly. Maryam, an educated TV news reporter, is about to get a divorce from her unfaithful husband, but finds out she is pregnant. Ayesha, an 18-year old girl accepts to marry her cousin because she is pregnant from her boyfriend who disappears after hearing the news. Each of them has to solve her problem by herself for the first time.”

According to the film’s producer Katayoon Shahabi, “Through my frequent participations in festivals around the world, I’ve noticed an emergence of a new generation of talented Afghan filmmakers to which Sahraa, the director of this movie, belongs. After ten years of studying cinema and working on different movies, she moved back to her hometown, Kabul in order to offer an insight into Afghan society.

When I met Sahraa for the first time and saw her documentaries in Antalya 2016, what grabbed my attention was that she had managed to bring together western techniques of cinema (she has a PhD of cinema from Slovakia) and her Afghan identity that made her film authentic and honest.
She was determined to make her first feature film in Kabul with the money that she had been saving during many years of work, by using local actors and despite security risks that could put her life in danger.

Witnessing her dedication as well as her crew’s to make this first independent film, I was determined to do what I can to finish this film and help it to be seen worldwide by as many people as possible.”


Shooting Locales in India – Mizoram

admin   August 1, 2019

Mizoram in North-East India is inhabited by numerous tribes practising a wide range of religious customs. Blessed with a diverse range of geographical features, this small state offers excellent opportunities for film makers to explore its splendour. The landscape of Phawngpui Hills, Vantawang Falls and Palak Lake are just waiting to be captured by camera. Mizoram recently organised a three-day Indian Film Festival at Vanapa Hall in Aizawl. The state government is ready to provide any assistance in terms of infrastructure or logistics support if interested filmmakers would venture in this picturesque state.

For More Information Contact
Lallianpuii,
Joint Director, I&PR Department,
State Nodal Officer for Visual Arts,
Mizoram Information Service, Directorate of Information & Public Relations Department
Tel: 9436158348
Email: lallianpuiiapril@gmail.com
State Website: http://mizoram.nic.in/


Shooting Locales in India – Lakshadweep

admin   August 1, 2019

Beautiful Lakshadweep was in limelight after Sinjar, a feature film by Malayalam short film director Sandeep Pampally won big at the 65th National Film Awards recently. The Union Territory is a paradise in itself and the simplicity of life here is what can make it a wonderful backdrop of some of the unique stories that need to be told. This tiniest Union Territory of India is situated in Arabian Sea and is considered to be among the most beautiful beach destinations of the country. There are 27 islands in total and each is about 220 to 440 km away from the coast of Kerala. The Department of Tourism Development, UT Administration of Lakshadweep is engaged in the development of Film Tourism in the UT of Lakshadweep. Though till recently Lakshadweep was out of reach for the film industry, considering the importance of film tourism, it has been declared as one of the key elements.

For More Information Contact
Asker Ali,
IAS, Director of Tourism, Department of Tourism,
Near BSNL Exchange, Secretariat – Press Junction Cross road, Kavaratti- 682555
Tel: +91 4896262250
Email: adtourism.lk@gmail.com


Shooting Locales in India – Daman and Diu

admin   August 1, 2019

Daman and Diu is a union territory in Western India. With an area of 112 sq km, it is the smallest federal division of India on the mainland. The territory comprises two distinct regions Daman and Diu, geographically separated by the Gulf of Khambhat. The state of Gujarat and the Arabian Sea border the territory. A Portuguese colony since the 1500s, the territories were amalgamated in India in 1961 through a military conquest.

For More Information Contact
Harshit Jain (Daman),
Apurva Sharma (Diu),
Deputy Director,Tourism,Department of Tourism
Tel: 9899932435 (Daman), 8010038183 (Diu)
Email: damantourism2013@gmail.com
State Website: https://daman.nic.in/


Shooting Locales in India – West Bengal

admin   July 31, 2019

The British are long gone but the colonial influence still remains, in the look of its buildings and monuments. Interiors and mindsets that haven’t morphed with the time yet co-exist happily with the present. West Bengal offers a remarkable range of destinations and experiences within a single state. It is a land of contrasts- in climate, vegetation, scenery and landscape and has a rich diversity of ethnicity, culture, languages and religion. It is a truly unique state because it stretches all the way from the seas to the Himalayas

Incentives offered by West Bengal

  • West Bengal offers number of incentives which film makers and producer can get under different under industrial, tourism and MSME policies.
  • Maximum incentive of Rs. 30 million in the form of subsidy for film makers executing post production processing at the Cine Laboratory Complex.
  • Extension of government subsidy scheme to Nepali, Assamese, Oriya, Manipuri, Bhojpuri, Santhali and Chhattisgarhi films that are processed in West Bengal.
  • For new and renovated cinema halls, entertainment tax exemption for three years.

Initiatives taken

  • The West Bengal government is aiming to launch a single window to process requests to shoot movies in the state.
  • The Tourism Department is framing a film tourism policy which would promote West Bengal as a film tourism destination.
  • The Tourism Department is focusing on upgrading infrastructure in the shooting sites.
  • The government has issued a notification for setting up West Bengal Film Academy (WBFA), which will act as an umbrella body for all issues relating to the film industry.
  • Organisation of film events and festivals like Kolkata International Film Festival, Bengal International Short Film Festival, Kolkata Shorts International Film Festival and UNICEF International Children’s Film Festival.

Shooting Locales

Kolkata

Darjeeling

Digha

Sundarbans

Duars

For More Information Contact
State Website: https://wb.gov.in/portal/web/guest/home