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India, Hollywood working on ways to collaborate

MUMBAI: The ball has started rolling for more collaboration and cross pollination of knowledge, technology and talent between two of the world’s largest film communities - Hollywood and India.


The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) chairman, CEO Senator Chris Dodd participated in an event of the LA India Film Council during the 2012 Ficci Frames Convention to discuss how to push this partnership forward.


The event included the announcement of the Council’s governing body, the premiere of a “sizzle” video highlighting the initiative, and a presentation of the Council’s enhanced website. A special Council publication commissioned from Ernst & Young providing further information about the LA and Indian industries was released and plans for upcoming activities, including film premieres and conference events, were discussed.


Dodd said, “The LA India Film Council is a natural corollary to the rapidly increasing creative, technological and location partnerships developing between the two countries and promises to set new benchmarks in the world of cinema. On the behalf of the MPAA, and as a big fan of Indian cinema, I wish the Council great success in the future”.


The LA India Film Council was set up in 2010, as part of a declaration between the city of Los Angeles and the Indian film industry. The initiative aims to explore mutual opportunities in fostering and encouraging partnerships between the two influential film industries.


Filmmaker and producer Ramesh Sippy said, "We can learn from schools in LA. We should learn from each other. Create and enrich each other‘s knowledge, strengths and experiences. I feel the council can only take us forward. One thing is for sure, it will bring people of two cultures closer together."


Hollywood is looking at the growing Indian market even as its threatical revenues from overseas have overtaken that of US. A flood of 3D movies has also made the products popular in tough markets like China.


"India is a preferred destination for a lot of films, and I think the LA India film council will hugely benefit both countries. We could co-create film schools and schools of technology. The mingling and merging of the two cultures is essentially the desire behind a co-production", said filmmaker Shekhar Kapur.


The Council focuses on developing and strengthening motion picture production, distribution, technology, content protection and commercial cooperation between the two filmmaking communities. Members of the Council’s governing body comprise powerful film guilds, government organisations, industry experts and leading companies in the areas of VFX, animation and post production from both Los Angeles and India.


Actor Anil Kapoor said, "Without a body like this people may get connected with wrong people. A body like this can help and support those who seek guidance".


In recent years, the Indian film industry has globalised its reach as producers have improved the international marketability of their films by building partnerships with international domain experts. More and more producers in India are considering foreign locales to shoot their films. Previous big budget Indian productions filmed in Los Angeles include: Kites (2010), My Name Is Khan (2010), Kambakkht Ishq (2009), Kaante (2002) and Pardes (1997)


Other joint ventures and co-productions between individual Hollywood studios and Indian production houses over the past two years alone include: Ek Deewana Tha (2012), Dum Maro Dum (2011), Stanley ka Dabba (2011), Force (2011) and Engeyum Eppothum – Tamil (2011).


Indian investment in Hollywood has also been steadily increasing, most notably with Indian entertainment conglomerate Reliance Entertainment’s (A.DAG) acquisition of DreamWorks SKG and the launch of YRF Entertainment in Los Angeles.

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