NEW DELHI: The India Pavilion at the 67th Cannes Film Festival saw an unprecedented presence this year.
Organised by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry in association with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the packed pavilion was inaugurated on 15 May by Indian Ambassador to France Arun K. Singh, I&B secretary Bimal Julka and Indian cinema legend Kamal Haasan.
Others present were veteran filmmaker and producer Ramesh Sippy; renowned filmmaker Sudhir Mishra; YRF Entertainment CEO, actor and producer Uday Chopra; screenwriter Arash Amel; Cannes Film Market executive director Jerome Paillard,; FICCI secretary general A. Didar Singh and filmmaker and producer Bobby Bedi.
The Indian presence at the India Pavilion also included film industry stalwarts such as Film Federation of India president Ravi Kottarakara, T.P. Aggarwal who is the first Indian vice president of FIAPF – the International Federation of Film Producers Associations, and Film and TV Producers Guild of India CEO Kulmeet Makkar.
The pavilion saw a lot of interesting activity with hoards of people jostling for space as they watched the interactive sessions. The first day saw a session on 'The Making of Grace of Monaco' - featuring Uday Chopra and Jonathan Reiman from YRF Entertainment - one of the producers of the opening film at the festival - and Arash Amel, the writer of the film. Anchored by Patrick Frater, Asia Bureau Chief of Variety, the discussion hinted at interesting growth and expansion for Indian cinema in the international space by means of collaboration and co-production.
A very special session, 'The Journey to Cannes', was organised at the pavilion for 'Titli', India's official entry in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival. (The festival's Critics Week section had also selected another Indian film, Gitanjali Rao's 'TrueLoveStory'.)
The cast and crew of 'Titli' - director Kanu Behl; actors Ranvir Shorey and Shashank Arora; writer Sharat Katariya; editor Namrata Rao; Yash Raj Films VP international operations Avtar Panesar; Sikhya Entertainment founder Guneet Monga and CEO Anurag Kashyap Films were felicitated by the Ministry of I&B, and also spoke about their experience of making the film and being selected to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival.
A feature of the activities at this year's India Pavilion at the Cannes Film Market was exclusive networking receptions co-hosted by the Ministry and film bodies, producers and filmmakers from three countries: New Zealand, Australia and Germany.
The New Zealand event was organised in coordination with the New Zealand Film Commission; the delegation was led by NZFC CEO Dave Gibson, and comprised filmmakers and producers from the country; Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason led the Australia contingent; and German Films organised the third event.
The Indian guest list saw representation from filmmakers, producers and industry body members at Cannes this year. This new initiative is aimed at promoting and forging ties for co-production and partnerships between India and these countries.
On the sidelines of these events were structured B2B meetings between Indian delegates and international stakeholders in order to facilitate business promotion and explore opportunities for partnership between the Indian film community and the global one.
Sessions were also held on co-production with representatives from India and six other countries, and a discussion on Single Window Clearance for promoting hassle-free film shooting for the global film community in India.
Kamal Haasan was interviewed by critic and anchor Anupama Chopra; filmmakers Ramesh Sippy, Sudhir Mishra and Bobby Bedi were seen in conversation about Indian cinema today and going forward, and Indian films at Cannes over the years.