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FPFAC organises 1st ever global film marketing convention

MUMBAI: The Indian media industry turned up in full force at the India International Film Convention 2003 (IIFC 2003) which was held at Intercontinental The Grand, Mumbai on 16-17 August 2003. This first of its kind event organised by the Foundation for Promotion of Film Arts and Crafts (FPFAC) and supported by Association of Motion Pictures and TV (AMPTV) producers attempted to market Indian entertainment globally.

During the interactive sessions, several eminent personalities from the Indian entertainment sector presented their views on issues such as co -productions; infrastructure and locations; Digital filmmaking and evolving technologies; Internet marketing; and the menace of music remixing. The list of speakers included Nimbus CEO Dr Akash Khurana

The convention was inaugurated on 16 August by Bollywood actress Raveena Tandon accompanied by chief guest Kabir Bedi and guest of honour Kiran Shantaram. Director Mahesh Bhatt gave the keynote address and Reliance Entertainment chairman Amit Khanna gave the inaugural address on behalf of the Foundation for Promotion of Film Arts and Crafts which had organised the convention. The Foundation's V-P Supran Sen welcomed the delegates and guests and its president Anil Nagrath president of the Foundation delivered the vote of thanks.

Kabir Bedi, the chief guest in his inaugural address reiterated the need to have a brand name to collectively and constructively market our films abroad. Bedi said: "We should aggressively promote our films globally and try to expand our market especially since over 60 per cent of our revenue comes from abroad. I think Bollywood is the right brand name for Indian cinema."

In his special address, Amit Khanna said that the mushrooming of multiplexes all over the country has created newer avenues for marginal cinema. "The art of story telling isn't going to be overwhelmed by technology .We should cross fertilise our minds and come up with better stories because it is basically through story telling that we end up attracting and engaging the minds of people. If we fail to reinvent ourselves again and again, we will only end up boring the audience to death," Khanna stated.

In his usual inimitable frank and forthright style, Mahesh Bhatt warned the people present that nothing comes out without anguish and pain. He added that bad times can often prove to be the best teachers and advised the industry to learn from its mistakes and take rapid strides.

Sushil Kumar Agrawal of Ultra Video said that though he had the overseas rights of the children's film Makdee, which was nominated for participation in six International film festivals and won an award at the Chicago International Film Festival, he could not attract concrete overseas buyers for the film because of lack of information.

Dr Khurana was the moderator of the first session on film markets in India. He said that if the customer is the king then content ought to be the queen. He added that the mission of the film industry ought to be to make cost effective films in a reasonable time frame and the best way to predict the future is to invent the same.

Maharashtra government bureaucrat Govind Swarup warned that it is high time that the fraternity stopped taking the average filmgoer for granted because today the filmgoer has several alternative choices for getting entertainment. He said though one may know why a film is a success it is very difficult to pinpoint why a film has failed at the box office.

Film distributor Shravan Shroff said that the Internet was the cheapest way of advertising a film abroad and the simplest cost effective way to reach the youth. "Every movie has to be treated as an individual product and marketed individually," he said and added that the time has now come for filmmakers to experiment with their contents and come up with new ideas and new genres of films like Lagaan, Bhooth, Chota Jadugar, Darna Mana Hai, Boom, Koi Mil Gaya.

Surjit Singh of Friday Marketing said that the one man show attitude will no longer work in the industry because one needs specialists in every area including marketing. He opined: "Films should be treated as brands, not products and thanks to exposure to global cinema, we should ensure control and consistency as far as dissemination of information is concerned to see to it that a film is properly promoted in the global arena."

Uday Singh of Tristar Columbia said that the need of the hour is to take the film to the audiences, wherever they might be and whenever they would like to see it because there is increased playing ability in a cluttered market.

Comparing a film to a parachute in a philosophical vein, Singh said that one is dead if a film does not open properly at the box office when it is released. "The biggest problem, which the filmmakers face today is that what works in Coimbatore, does not necessarily work even in Madurai, which is also a part of Tamil Nadu," Singh added.

Film marketing consultant Shonjoy Bhattacharjii said that the emergence of the multiplexes is changing the landscape of the film industry slowly and steadily. He said he was happy that though earlier there was no provision for insurance or completion bond, now both are available albeit at a selective pace for the producers.

Moderating the session on Film market-overseas, which discussed at length topics like market trends and opportunities; new and emerging markets and marketing films overseas, producer-actor Viveck Vaswani said that the Indian theatrical revenue is only a small part of the revenue, which a producer gets.

Vaswani added: "The term overseas has a million connotations. The demand for Indian films has burgeoned in the US after the British theatres started playing Indian movies bowing down to the public response." He cautioned producers that instead of blindly selling the overseas rights of their films, they should personally go around knocking the doors of the buyers from various parts of the overseas territories such as Greenland, Iceland, Cuba, Brazil, Antarctica, like he did because overseas is just not just the US.

Journalist Arijit Dutta said that 90 per cent of film business today is in the interiors and hence at the end of the day what you earn from the interiors forms your backbone. K. Vijay Anand of Sulekha.com said that money has to be made only in the week end because a film hardly runs after the first three or four days because by then the reviews appear in The New York Times. He said that his dotcom makes money by selling tickets on line in USA where 20 per cent of the NRIs watch at least ten films a year.

Nitin Keni said that Indian Cinema has its own identity and hence does not have to depend on the ups and downs of the Hollywood film industry. He said that producers should tap revenues by selling the telecast rights to thousands of television networks, which pay from $1000 to $10000 per telecast in non-traditional areas.

The second day (17 August) of the convention started with the session - international facilities.

The topics discussed were international locations; pre and post productions; infrastructure benefits, incentives and co productions. The second session post lunch- new Technologies tackles topics like 3D animation; responsibilities and challenges; Digital technologies, exhibition, Internet marketing; software and IT in film making; technology in filmmaking. Raj Tilak was the moderator. 

Namit Malhotra said that the biggest advantage of the digital cinema was the elimination of the need to process the film. Digital cinema has made a large contribution in the field of visual effects, he added.

Sushil Kumar Agrawal said that around 35 theatres in India have already installed the digital technology, which is going to be the in thing in the near future as far as cinema is concerned. He said that by the end of this year as many as 150 digital theatres will mushroom all over the country out of which Maharashtra will have as many as 75.

Munjal Shroff reiterated that 3D Animation is going to be the common content base for film, TV, Internet as well as gaming. He said that the box office trends of the last three years indicate the demise of 2D animation films.

Ramesh Meer said that the idea behind the digital cinema is not to find an alternative but to fill up the gap of cinema houses all over the country He said that the digital cinema has come as a big boon for filmmakers.

The final session music remixing was moderated by Hasan Kamaal who began the session with his telling comment on remixes. "I do not refer to the remixes as remixes. I call them parodies." The speakers were Atul Churamani of SaRe GaMa Pa, music director Anandjibhai, director Harry Baweja and Viveck Vaswani.

Harry Baweja said that today though the original copyright holders are alive, royalties do not reach 95 per cent of them. "Royalties are just an eye wash and most of the music companies themselves pirate their own music."

Atul Chudamani defended his music company's right to remix since it fell under the purview of Sec 52 1 J of the Copyright Act which stipulates that 5 per cent of the proceeds from the first print order has to be sent as royalty to the copyright owner, without even asking his permission before one sets out to make a remix album.

Anandjibhai deplored the fact that today the people who slogged on the music 50 years ago are being deprived of their dues because 80 per cent of the producers had sold their music rights outright to the music companies and it is the music companies which are the owners of the copyright today.

The Foundation for Promotion of Film Arts and Crafts has organised achiever of the year award to honour those individuals who had achieved significant achievement in their respective fields and for the year 2003. This awards were given to Yash Chopra, Subhash Ghai, Bharat Shah, Pritish Nandy, Mukesh Bhatt, Mahesh Bhatt, Ashish Bhatnagar, Manmohan Shetty which awards were presented by Kabir Bedi, sheriff of Mumbai Kiran Shantaram, Vinod Pandey, Anil Nagrath, Supran Sen and Vinod Kumar of the Foundation.

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