Funding models need to change for growth of film industry

MUMBAI: Corporate activity was growing in the entertainment sector in India and this would help in getting finance more easily in the years to come.

Filmmaker Bobby Bedi and some other speakers in a session moderated by KPMG Executive Director (M & E) Jehil Thakkar on ’Legal and Financial Framework to Boost the Entertainment Industry’ at Ficci Frames were unanimous that getting finance today was much easier than before but felt that there was still very little institutional funding for films.

Dina Dattani who is a consultant said the new trend in Hollywood was that it was reaching out to India as people wanted change.

Patricia Mayer who is a leading lawyer in the field of entertainment and media in the United States, said it was interesting that American filmmakers were running out of ideas and taking licences of films from other countries particularly in Europe to remake them in English. What was needed was new stories. Answering a question, she said Indian films that appealed to the diaspora succeeded overseas.

Bedi said the business model has to change if Indian films have to get funds. The main problem was that Indian films tended to recover their money over a large period and most banks including the Industrial Development Bank of India refused to give money for such long periods.

He said in answer to a question that there was no impediment to foreign money coming into India for funding films.

YES Bank Executive Vice President and Country Head for Media and Entertainment Karan Ahluwalia said banks were already introducing new forms of funding, such as a fund of infrastructure. He felt that the Government should support the National Films Development Corporation to help private filmmakers who could not seek help from studios.

Legal Consultant Ashni Parekh said amendments were needed in the Copyright Act to protect the copyright holder. Unfortunately, there was little implementation of this Act.

She said new forms of financial arrangements such as Completion Bonding had come in but were not very practical in a situation where films took so long to make. She regretted that most filmmakers taking finance did not do any documentation primarily because of relationships.

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