Foreigners' mantra: Build contacts, create awareness

MUMBAI: Apart from getting 'gyan' at the various sessions at Frames 2005, the event also provides an opportunity for overseas firms to build contacts and learn about the Indian market. Companies from Australia, Canada, Wales, Germany and the US have set up stalls at Frames.

There is an Australian Enclave which is an initiative of the South Australia government. Mason Films' Mason Curtis tells that the aim is to educate the Indian film industry about the facilities that South Australia provides.

"We want to capitalise on the fact that Indian locales and European ones have been exhausted. The response has been mixed. So our aim is to educate them. Frames is a great forum for reaching outgun South Australia we design cash paybacks and rebates for firms whose shooting generates employment," he said.

Wales is another country that has a stall with the purpose of enticing filmmakers to shoot in the country. A representative of Wales Film says that Frames has helped provide valuable contacts, which can be developed for the future.

The hope is that when a filmmakers' schedule is free and production will start on a new film, Wales should be a top of the mind recall locale.

Another factor that attracts visitors to Frames is intimacy. That is not the case with, say, MipTV in Cannes where there are 10,000 visitors. So if you get even half an hour with a client you are lucky.

Imax, meanwhile, sees Frames as an opportunity to network and meet clients. Last month the company had announced plans to set up shop in Chennai. So Frames serves as a vehicle to create awareness about the service Imax provides.

Six months ago Vancouver Film School set up a place in Mumbai. The aim is to provide an avenue for media students who are interested in studying abroad. International admissions advisor Dorothy Mathias says that at Frames the response has been fantastic from both students and working professionals who wish to upgrade their skills. In particular, there have been enquiries about the animation and sound designing courses as well as scriptwriting.

Then there are companies who are looking to study the Indian market and learning. This will give them an idea of what Indian firms are looking for as well as what India can provide for the international market.

A case in point is World Wide Entertainment. This is an Australian firm that makes and distributes TV content. It sells around 400 hours of content globally. In India, its clients include India TV, DD and NDTV. It is using Frames to increase the number of Indian clients. According to World Wide Entertainment international business manager Rana Vassi, "At Frames you get to meet key local players that are not listed in guides. We have lined up several meetings.

"We also look at shows in India that might work for clients overseas. We have been talking to Sony about this. India is coming out with lifestyle shows and travel shows. So we want to see if any of these will be of interest to clients abroad. It is a two way process." He added, "We also represent other producers of TV content. We sell films, documentaries and animation. So, at Frames we learn about what the local Indian players require. We will form alliances with other foreign producers to distribute their content depending on what Indian firms need. The bottomline is that it is always good to interact with players in their backyard."

Goto Bavaria, a German government organisation, is here to learn about the Indian market. The aim is to identify opportunities for German companies in the Indian market such as in the post-production arena. This is in the short term is the strategy for Goto Bavaria. In the long term, Indian companies like Zee and Star will go global. So, they will do some of their shooting abroad. Then the interactions between Bavaria and the Indian entertainment industry will pay off.

The one firm that showed some disappointment is Filmpur. This is an online destination for Indian filmmakers. It helps producers and directors scout for suitable locations globally as well as to help them secure financing. However, the big guns were in short supply at Frames.

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