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Film Bazaar in Goa to unveil South Asian stories

By Saroj Mohanty, New Delhi, Nov 19 : Film Bazaar, the National Film Development Corporation's co-production and distribution market for South Asia, will open Wednesday alongside the International Film Festival of India in Goa with a new segment, Producers' Lab, amidst the buzz that the government is considering an enhanced role for the organisation in film financing, and it has also inched closer to inking co-production agreements with Canada and Australia.


This is the seventh edition of the Bazaar, the first in South Asia, which offers an opportunity for filmmakers from the region to connect and get their projects financed as well as artistic support.

It is like a "one-stop shop" where film makers from across South Asia "pitch scripts and seek funding from the international fraternity," says NFDC Managing Director Nina Lath Gupta.

The Co-Production Market showcases new projects and this year it includes films from Afghanistan (Roya Sadat's Warm Bread and the Nipple's Circle), Pakistan (Sabiha Sumar's Dawaat Nama) and Sri Lanka (Prasanna Jayakody).

In 2012, the Co-Production Market had unspooled 26 South Asian projects.

The Film Bazaar will run events like the Screenwriters Lab, Work-In-Progress Lab, and Primexchange, the Indo-European producers' forum.

Six projects from the Screenwriters' Lab shall also be part of the Co-production Market this year.

The Producers' Lab to be launched at the Bazaar aims to provide training and networking opportunities to upcoming producers from across the country.

The Lab will consist of workshop sessions, case studies and one-on-one meetings spread over three days, which will be conducted by domestic and international producers/sales agents/buyers/festival directors/programmers.

As a "development organisation" NFDC has been financing independent first time film makers in the country and offers co-financing and other forms of collaboration.

During 2007-12, it has commissioned 28 productions and introduced 18 filmmakers.

It has gone into co-producing projects through public-private partnerships and is facilitating production services of shooting in India and animation services of overseas clients.

The Indian government's financing schemes for films are minimal, to say the least. Of late, however, there has been talk that the government is considering new funding initiatives through the NFDC in its bid to help the industry.

It is also said that the government has moved closer in negotiations on the texts on co-production treaties with Canada and Australia.

The two countries have strong Indian diasporic communities and growing bilateral relationships.

Co-productions are formal arrangements that enable access to production finance, international reach and creative opportunities.

James Moore, Canada's federal minister of industries, has said that Ottawa is negotiating a co-production agreement with India because of its populous market. "They see Canada as a great export market, and we see Canada as a source of great talent that can be a part of the production of some great films."

Canadians also look at Indian media firms like Reliance Entertainment for partnerships.

An email sent by IANS to Information and Broadcasting Secretary Bimal Julka seeking confirmation on the developments went unanswered.

NFDC is now trying to develop a market, expanding into video-on-demand with the cinemasofindia.com portal and releasing its own films on DVD under the Cinemas of India label. It is also in a partnership with multiplex chain PVR.

"Now is the time for us to start helping our films by better serving the distribution sector. That means helping our filmmakers to deliver better P and A (prints and advertising) assets, collaterals and publicity materials and making short films as previews. Next we'll be looking at P and A funding for non-NFDC films," Vikramjit Roy, NFDC general manager and head of film production and marketing, told American entertainment-trade magazine Variety earlier this month.

(Saroj Mohanty can be contacted at saroj.m@ians.in)

--IANS (Posted on 19-11-2013)

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