MEA ties up with YouTube for a global short film contest

MUMBAI: The Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of India and video-sharing website YouTube have launched a short film contest titled "India Is...a visual Journey", celebrating India and its diversity.

The contest will be open to users across the globe for a period of three months, with the last day of submission on 9 February, 2013. All the entries will be featured on the channel

The company says it has 33 million users in India.

As part of the initiative, YouTube has partnered with renowned film director and script writer Anurag Kashyap and his directors to produce five short showcase films under the three themes of the contest ‘India is incredible,‘ ‘India is unforgettable,‘ and ‘India is wherever you are.‘

The showcase films will be used to inspire filmmakers, students, and video enthusiasts to create their own five-minute films on any of the three themes. These five films will be produced in association with Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Anurag Kashyap Films.

All the entries will be judged by a panel of judges from the film industry and will be rated on storytelling, creativity, originality, screenplay, performances and technical execution. The jury will select a total of ten winners with three winners in each category and the first place winners will get EOS Canon Mark II Camera + Lens, along with weekend getaway across exotic locations in India courtesy Taj Holidays. There will also be a special prize for the most voted and watched film. MEA and YouTube will announce and celebrate the winners at a jointly-hosted gala event.

"The aim of this initiative is to get young people to show India from their point of view. ‘India is‘ which we started last year was the first web based campaign initiative by the public Diplomacy division of MEA to connect and interact with people from all over the world and make them think about India. In the first year we received over 250 entries on India from 42 countries. Now we decided to tie up with Google and YouTube. Our partners are Google, Taj, Conde Nast Traveler and Incredible India," said MEA‘s Public diplomacy Division joint secretary, head Riva Ganguly Das.

Film market Kashyap noted that the Internet has reduced the amount of time that he spends on doing research for a film. "People are growing up watching films online.

My daughter shows me stuff online which I did not know existed. Short films are growing in popularity. Today people have reduced attention spans. Earlier you could make a three hour movie. Today the viewer wants a two hour film. Their patience has reduced. The key to a short film is having the maximum impact within a short period of time," Kashyap said.

Google Asia Pacific director content partnerships Gautam Anand said that connected devices are creating opportunities for content creators. The first content deal done in India by YouTube was with Eros in 2007 which now boasts of partners like Sony, Star Plus, Zee, Colors, and T Series among others.

"We have over 10,000 Indian movies, over 20,000 hours of Indian television content. We have showcased events like the IPL and Sunburn. About 60 per cent of Indian content is seen abroad. T series has worked with us for 18 months and they have 600,000 subscribers on YouTube. Similarly, Sony which has 475,000 subscribers keeps adding fresh content. They have digitised old shows like Boogie Woogie," Anand said.

YouTube Director of Product Management Asia Pacific Adam Smith said, "YouTube is the ultimate democratic platform. Every minute 72 hours of video is uploaded from amateurs to musicians. People get a share in ad revenue that their videos generate. Our aim is to make Indian culture more discoverable on YouTube. For instance IIT has a YouTube channel that has got 77 million views."

He cited example of PSY a South Korean star who became popular globally with his song ‘Gangnam Style‘ courtesy YouTube. It has become the second most watched video on video-sharing platform with many Indian Gangnam Style videos sprouting up.

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