Where Indian cinema meets unconventional buyers

October 19th, 2011 - 3:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Shah Rukh Khan Mumbai, Oct 19 (IANS) India is one of the largest film producing nations in the world, but is yet to explore important markets like South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. The Mumbai Film Mart (MFM) has tried to bridge the gap by bringing together Indian filmmakers and unconventional foreign buyers.

Rashmi Lamba, manager of MFM, told IANS that “the mountain has come to Mohammed through the three-day event”. It is “a collective initiative by the industry, for the industry, in the industry hub”, she said.

MFM, which is part of the 13th Mumbai Film Festival organised by MAMI, saw first time buyers like Novo Films from France, Nikkatsu Corporation from Japan, Top Film Distribution from Ukraine and Zeus International Production Ltd from Taiwan participating and meeting big production houses like Yash Raj Films, Eros International, Reliance Entertainment and Balaji Motion Pictures.

“They were mainly here for commercial movies but they also met independent Indian filmmakers. The best part is that last year only international sellers came, but this year we had only buyers,” said Lamba who felt that a buyer could find a gem in the independent filmmaker.

“Amit Khanna (chairman Reliance Entertainment) said when they go to big markets, they are vying for 10 minutes, that they may not get those 10 minutes in the market where Hollywood and other world cinema is also bought and sold. Here, we had them captive and only attentive to Indian films. International buyers found the platform productive, very accessible, useful, informal and informative,” she said.

Lamba, who is an independent filmmaker and has worked at the festivals in Toronto, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, said IP issues surrounding films and film production were discussed too.

“We also provided information on how to contract, what rights to sell and what rights to keep while buying a film,” said Lamba.

Stephan Holl of Rapid Eye Films - he made Shah Rukh Khan a household name in Germany - said he has been coming to India since 2004 but the information he managed to collect in two days at the Mart was something he couldn’t get in the last seven years.

Shah Rukh’s forthcoming films “RA.One” and “Don 2″, Vidya Balan starrer “Dirty Pictures”, Yash Raj Films’ “Ladies Vs Ricky Behl” are among over 50 films tabled at the Mart. Independent and regional filmmakers too got a platform to present their films.

Indian films have a viewership in the US, Britain and the Middle East. But there are other places waiting to be explored.

Said Sanjeev Lamba, CEO Reliance Entertainment: “I believe Brazil, Mexico, Western European markets like Germany, Italy, Spain, France and Northern Asian markets like South Korea, China, Taiwan and Japan are very large markets, but don’t get a regular supply of Hindi films and even if they do, it’s only big commercial films.

“They have no idea how big or small is a film or how big an actor is in India - they are interested in a story. The attempt here is to make a place for the Mumbai film market, which should get on to the calendar of buyers in a year - major buyers take time to travel - and have a series of meetings and negotiations so that international sales of Indian films can grow.”

The Mumbai Film Festival is a Reliance Entertainment initiative. The eight-day fest, which got an overwhelming response from movie buffs, will end Thursday.

(Arpana can be contacted at arpana.s@ians.in)

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