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IFFI 2016: India to encourage film co-production with other countries

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NEW DELHI: The Government will encourage film co-production agreements with other countries, information and broadcasting minister M Venkaiah Nadu said while speaking at Film Bazaar set up by the National Films Development Corporation that coincides with International Film Festival of India at Panaji in Goa that opened today.

He said, "Films are important because they are the cheapest form of entertainment. People need some relief; some sort of happiness. Secondly, films can portray our culture, our heritage. Films also can take the message of India to other places. We have entered into a co-production agreement with different countries as we seek collaboration. The government will definitely encourage this."

Going around the Bazaar, he said, "I am very impressed by the Film Bazaar. It is like a film supermarket. You have everything -- from incredible locations to screening of the films, along with opportunities to interact with producers. One can also experience seeing films in 3D. Everything required for filmmaking is available here. This will help go a long way in producing films in India and films, in turn, will also encourage tourism and culture of the country."

Accompanying the minister were NFDC director - finance N J Shaikh and NFDC director Raja Chhinal, and they spent over an hour going through the Viewing Room, the Knowledge Series session, Producers' Lab and Co-Production Market, Film Offices.

Apart from inaugurating a Multimedia Exhibition on 'Azaadi 70 Saal', Naidu also held a discussion on the co-production agreement and attendant issues with the delegation from South Korea, which is the focus country this year.

The NFDC Film Bazaar Virtual Reality lounge in particular was of special interest to him and he spent some time trying out the VR gear powered by Samsung Gear VR, after which he went on to launch the National Film Heritage Mission calendar and website.

Shaikh later said: “The minister’s walk was very inspiring and morale-boosting for the entire NFDC team. He took a keen interest in the various segments of the Bazaar and interacted with the officials in-charge of different segments, which was very encouraging.”

Celebrating its tenth edition this year, the annual NFDC Film Bazaar held from 20 to 24 November 2016 has become a beacon for budding filmmakers from South Asia. The platform has been tirelessly evolving into a one-stop shop that encourages collaboration between South Asian and international film fraternities; a confluence point for screenwriters, filmmakers, sales agents, distributors, film festival programmers and financiers from around the world.

The Bazaar is a platform exclusively created to encourage collaboration between the international and South Asian film fraternities. The market aims at facilitating the sales of world cinema in the region.

Naidu said cinema should reflect larger social concerns besides focusing on entertainment only. It should focus on promoting national consciousness and social integration as cinema is religion without boundaries. Films should illuminate the mind and heart, engaging audience both intellectually and emotionally. It should expose the people to ideas, problems and developments happening in the society and make them think critically and look for alternate solutions and actions. In a country like India, with its several social problems, a case could be made for social realism in our films. Cinema was a work of art and there has to be a certain ‘take away’ for the audience who gave over two hours of their valuable time for watching a film.

Speaking at the event held at the newly-constructed Shyama Prasad Mukherjee stadium, he said cinema needed to coexist with reality. It was necessary to pass the test of the ‘2Rs’ - Reason and Reality. Many of the commercial films were crashing because of lack of creative content.
Giving the example of the movie ‘Sholay’ (as its director Ramesh Sippy was the chief guest at the inauguration), he said the film was a huge success because it was not formulaic in the strict sense though it was a commercial production. The minister added that certain relationships and values were so finely woven into the theme that people across the country made it a landmark film.

About the role of cinema as a powerful mass communication medium, the minister said cinema spoke with the language of universality rising beyond the limitations of social and geographical boundaries. It promoted rapid diffusion of ideas which manifested themselves consciously or otherwise in the relaxing environments of cinema halls or homes, when the audiences were more susceptible.

The minister also spoke about the Government initiatives to support the film industry in the form of a single window Film Facilitation Office in National Film Development Corporation and a National Film Heritage Mission to restore and digitise film archives.

Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, union defence minister Manohar Parikkar, Goa chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar, Korean ambassador Cho Hyun, and I and B secretary Ajay Mittal were also present.

Parsekar said IFFI provided a common platform to cinematography of the world. The movie selection at IFFI reflected the diversity of world cultures.

Mittal said that films were one of the most powerful mediums to reach out to society today. IFFI was one of the most prominent film festivals in India and Asia endeavoring to encourage and uphold an exceptional film culture in India.

The opening film of the festival was the grand masterpiece, After-Image by the late writer and directo Andrzej Wajda from Poland. This movie is a passionate biopic about avant-garde painter Wladyslaw Strzeminski. The closing film or 47th IFFI would be the South Korean official entry for the Academy Awards, The Age of Shadows directed by Kim Jee Woon.

Apart from other awards, IFFI 2016 in collaboration with the International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication (ICFT), Paris and UNESCO would also present the “ICFT- UNESCO Gandhi Medal” to a film, which reflects the ideals of peace, tolerance and non-violence.

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