Film Bazaar: Saregama plans 100 films in five yrs; FB assures bigger role

NEW DELHI: Kanwal Sethi’s Once Again (Work-In-Progress Lab) and Kabir Mehta’s (Film Bazaar Recommends) won Facebook Credits (ad coupons) worth US$ 10,000 (Rs 6.85 lakh) at the Film Bazaar at the 47th International Film Festival of India in Panaji.

This was FB's first collaboration with the National Film Development Corporation for its Film Bazaar which concluded on 24 November, although the Festival will conclude on 27 November.

The Prasad Digital Intermediate award by Prasad Labs went to Ridham Janve's Pahadi language film The Gold-Laden Sheep and the Sacred Mountain (Work-In-Progress Lab) and Sanal Kumar Sasidharan's Malayalam film Sexy Durga (Film Bazaar Recommends).

Facebook Head of Growth and Partnerships Kinshu Sinha said: "NFDC and Film Bazaar are emerging, both as a very powerful and strong forum for filmmakers and we are really proud to be associated with them. This is the first time we are sponsoring these awards but we would want to continue this and come again in a much bigger way the next year to support Film Bazaar and the filmmakers."

The winners were decided by the mentors of the Work In Progress Lab and the jury of Film Bazaar Recommends, which included Charles Tesson, Benjamin Illos, Paolo Bertolin, and Renata Santoro.

WIP Lab Mentor Marco Muller who is Artistic Director of the International Film Festival and Awards, Macao said, "The first thing that I want to say on behalf of the jury is - Dear Nina Lath Gupta, please be well soon because your vision has been enhanced once again in this wonderful mission of Film Bazaar."

The Bazaar saw Sa Re Ga Ma announcing that it was planning to produce 100 films in the next five years, and Richie Mehta was planning to shoot two projects in Delhi (Film Office).

Dina Dattani is to work on A Foolish Man (Co-Production Market) as executive producer

Abhay Deol picked three Film Bazaar titles, Leeches, Labour of Love and Kaagaz Ki Kashti for digital release.

Over 1300 delegates including 954 Indian delegates and 212 International delegates and press attended the four-day Film Bazaar which had 134 buyers present this year from over 34 countries. The Producers' Lab saw over 50 entries and the Viewing Room had the maximum number of entries so far with 202 films, 'Film Bazaar Recommends' featured 32 films, Industry Screenings saw 40 films and Virtual Reality emerged as one of the major attractions at the Film Bazaar.

Elated over the outcome of the Bazaar, NFDC MD Nina Lath Gupta said: “I would attribute the success of Film Bazaar to the fact that it does not simply present projects for investment and films for sale, but puts in a great deal of effort into the development of projects and training of filmmakers - developing scripts in labs, pitching and presentation training in the Co-Production Market, Work-in-Progress Labs that look at the first cut of a film and not only advise on its strengths and flaws but even assist in editing, advising on possible reshoots etc, and finally presenting them in the Viewing Room where every distributor, buyer and festival programmer can view these films, contact the filmmaker and make a deal. We believe it is this approach that has contributed to the success of the Film Bazaar. The event is not simply a market - it is a complex amalgamation of training, development, promotion and curating a selection of good films for the consideration of the domestic and international market."

The ‘Open Pitch’ in the Co-Production Market (which was introduced in 2015) upped the ante with the introduction of ‘Video Presentations’ while pitching the CPM projects, with NFDC Film Bazaar probably being the only platform for filmmakers to do this.

"I don't think I have ever seen a video pitch like this happening in any other film market in the world," German Producer Michael Henrichs said.

Venice International Film Festival programmer Paolo Bertolin said, “Open Pitch is an important addition to the structuring of Film Bazaar; in particular, a very good way of creating interest in the projects in the Co-Production Market. Especially because it highlights what really the projects are representing, and what the directors and producers are looking for. It is easier for the decision-makers who are attending the Co-Production Market to decide on which projects they really need to meet or they are really interested in. They can get an immediate feel or vibe of how the people are dealing with their subjects with their way of making the projects first and then hopefully turning into a film, it should definitely become a permanent feature in the future.”

Actor Renuka Shahane, whose debut directorial venture Tribhanga (Three Curve Bent) participated in the Open Pitch, said, “The video pitch at the NFDC Co-Production Market was a very useful tool for writers/directors because it not only gave the participating producers an exact idea of the tone and type of script we were pitching. It also gave it in a succinct spanner. It saved us a lot of trouble in trying to explain our work.”

The Knowledge Series sessions at NFDC Film Bazaar 2016 culminated with a Masterclass by Producer Philip Lee, who spoke on ‘Mounting and Positioning the Epic Across Cultures’ In a freewheeling discussion spanning his work on critically acclaimed and box office hit films such as The Dark Knight, The Revenant, Cloud Atlas, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and most recently for Assassin’s Creed as executive producer, to be released 2016.

Michel Reilhac, former Head of Film Acquisitions at Arte France who curated the VR NEXT sidebar at Cannes and Venice International Film Festival 2016 and has also directed 6 VR shorts did an engaging presentation on ‘Busting Myths, Immersive Technology and its role in Future Cinema Narratives’.

Facebook Head of Media partnerships Saurabh Doshi’s session on ‘The Facebook Workshop, Facebook’s Guide to Filmmaking’ was another enlightening session, especially with the boom in online content being generated, and then promoted on Facebook.

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