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Expanding Horizons

imtiaz-aliThe 10th edition of NFDC’s Film Bazaar, held from November 21 to 24 in Goa, concluded on a positive note. Soumita Sengupta brings the highlights of the four-day market that saw an array of international and domestic film industry folks attending

The Film Bazaar – a part of the National Film Development Corporation’s (NFDC) promotional arm and South Asia’s Global Film Market – saw many significant acquisitions, funding and distribution deals being struck this year. A prominent trade event for film industry professionals, the extravagant event garnered an impressive response. Following are some of the highlights of the four-day market:

 Virtual Reality Lounge

AR Rahman discussed the process of creating the Live-In-VR Experience of his performance of Vande Mataram being screened at the Virtual Reality Lounge powered by Samsung GearVR in the Knowledge Series, as well as the experience of virtual reality as a whole.

Rahman concluded the interactive session and said, “NFDC Film Bazaar is a very interesting place. I felt very good attending the Bazaar last time, and so we decided to premiere the experience here.”

The Virtual Reality Lounge received overwhelming attention with Chris Milk’s films enjoying special popularity, including his animated film Evolution of Verse.

Stories Told In Vernacular & Small Town India

kanu-behl_deepti-dcunhaRegional films found a special focus, with filmmakers Nagraj Manjule (Marathi), Bhaskar Hazarika (Assamese) and Raam Reddy (Kannada) engaging in a discussion about depicting stories set in small towns in an authentic way.

Sairat director Nagraj Manjule said, “When I came to the Bazaar a few years ago with Fandry, it opened up so many avenues for me. Shyam Benegal and many other filmmakers watched my film, which created so many opportunities. It’s a very important platform.”

Spicing Up the Urbanscape in Mainstream Films

Director Aanand L Rai, who attended Film Bazaar for the first time this year, discussed vernacular and small-town India and their connect. Rai said, “What is very promising about Film Bazaar is that it has given a platform to original voices. For me, Film Bazaar is one of the most important initiatives for filmmakers, and I am very sure this is the place where we will find our future filmmakers.”

Last year, Rai’s company picked up Nil Battey Sannata, which was at Film Bazaar Recommends and Work In Progress Lab. And this year he got another production Nimmo, which was at the same segments at the Bazaar. Some of the other highlights were Investors’ Pitch, which screened many trailers and also discussed ownership of films: the chain of documents that a completed film must have.

Building Communities and Icons

Head of Content Operations, YouTube India, Satya Raghavan conducted an engrossing session to a jam-packed audience, about the burgeoning digital space and the platform that YouTube has provided filmmakers.

On monetisation of a YouTube channel, he said, “Once you turn on the section called ‘monetisation’ in your backend control centre, only then will it serve you ads. You also have to think about whether you’re sending the right signals through your content, which is by giving good descriptions that help to identify the content and helps us match it with viewers on the other side.” 

On piracy in the digital space, he said, “When you upload that film on YouTube, a fingerprint of that film is created. If somebody else is uploading that film, there are certain proofs by which you come to know about this. YouTube is perhaps the only platform where you can actually know that someone has put up your content but you need to put your content up first, because about 500 hours of content is being uploaded every minute. This is a great system that allows the content owner to understand if their content is being pirated.”

mahesh-manjrekarUnique Distribution Models – Reaching Out With Independent Films

Moderated by filmmaker Rohan Sippy, panelists on this discussion included filmmakers Sandeep Mohan, director of Love, Wrinkle-Free and Hola Venky!; Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, who started ‘Cinema Cab’, a movement to screen films across the length and breadth of Kerala; and co-founder and CEO of Reelmonk, Vivek Paul.

Some of the interesting Knowledge Series sessions were:

Open Pitch

In the second edition of Open Pitch, the concept of having filmmakers present their ideas and requirements to an audience of film industry members proved just how effective it was. Introduced and moderated by Urmi Juvekar, filmmakers had the opportunity to screen video presentations depicting their ideas, followed by a question-answer session with the audience.

Public Funding For Indie Films

Producer Miriam Joseph, Managing Director, OLFFI, Ilann Girard and Producer, Pallas Films, Thanassis Karathanos, discussed the importance and challenges of public funding, and a clear emphasis emerged on developing a project thoroughly before looking for funding.

 Redefining Love With Imtiaz Ali

Clippings from several of Imtiaz Ali’s films, including Socha Na Tha, Jab We Met and Highway, were screened to a packed audience, interspersing a freewheeling discussion about his influences, process and past collaborations.

Other Highlights

kiran-rao_film-bazaar-2016Kiran Rao too attended Film Bazaar and she spent her day watching South Asian films at Viewing Room. She said, “Next year, Aamir Khan Productions will have its film here. It has changed the landscape of how films are made and distributed.

Another interesting Knowledge Series was by Shabana Azmi and Tannishtha Chatterjee on How to Pitch To An Actor. Azmi, who was at Film Bazaar with her film Idgah in the Film Bazaar Recommends section, said, “Being at Film Bazaar for the first time really introduced me to the fact that there is a formal way in which film business can be conducted. I think it’s important because I’m very interested in the work of first-time filmmakers and I think, if given a platform like this, where you can learn different aspects about the business rather than just sort of learn it as you go along, it is a very important and valuable contribution that is being made.”

Abhay Deol acquired three NFDC Film Bazaar titles – Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s Labour of Love, Payal Sethi’s Leeches and Brahmanand’s Kaagaz Ki Kashti.  

Soumita Sengupta
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