India has scant presence at Berlin film festival

February 9th, 2009 - 3:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Berlin, Feb 9 (DPA) Indian filmmaker Sudipto Sen’s documentary “Wagah” won a prize at the ongoing Berlin International Film Festival, but the world’s biggest moviemaking nation doesn’t have a single feature film vying for the Golden Bear trophy.

India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has sent one of its top officials, Sushma Singh, to help promote Indian films at the Berlinale that started Feb 4.

“The film industry in India is very important for us. We produce the largest amount of films in the world - close on 1,000 movies every year - and in 2006 for instance had about 3.7 billion tickets sold in India,” she said at the opening of the India Film Pavilion near the festival’s headquarters.

“There is a huge audience for films in our country,” she continued, noting that the movie industry in India was solidly embedded in the private sector, with the government role being solely that of a “facilitator and catalyst”.

An Indian-German film cooperation agreement was signed at last year’s Berlinale and subsequently approved by the German parliament, she said.

She added there was a need to popularise that agreement and to tell the film industry on both sides what was on offer.

After the treaty’s ratification there have been “some inquiries” but “nothing concrete has emerged so far”, she said, emphasising that Germany and India both had lots to offer in terms of talent, locations and shooting facilities.

“We are keen to see Indo-German film co-productions take off,” said Singh, adding she would like to see India as a partner in the Festival’s Talent Campus section, promoting young and aspiring filmmakers.

Some 350 filmmakers participated in this year’s Talent Campus.

Apart from Sen other Indian filmmakers who participated in the Talent Campus are Abhyuday Khaitan (New Delhi), Geetha J. (Thiruvananthapuram), Nitin Baid and Sudip Kumar Chattopadhyaya (Kolkata) and Siddharth Pillai (Bangalore).

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