NFDC Film Bazaar 2015 had an eventful start. The ninth edition of Film Bazaar witnessed many firsts; and day one was attended by many Indian and International filmmakers. The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, India along with NFDC launched a Film Facilitation Office at the Film Bazaar on November 21st. Apart from that, Film Bazaar 2015 had interesting sessions in the Knowledge Series by filmmakers like Shoojit Sircar, Anurag Basu, Sudhir Mishra, Theatre Artist- Vani Tripathi Tikoo, Satya Raghavan- Head of Content Operations YouTube India and more.

The Film Facilitation Office (FFO) will be housed in NFDC and will facilitate according permissions for feature films, TV series and advertisement films to be shot in India by filmmakers. The FFO will be additionally charged with facilitating obtaining of clearances from various Government agencies and help in creating on-the-ground support crew for film and ancillary services through standardized vocational training programs.

(L - R) Vinayak, Parvesh Sahni, Prakash Jha, Sanjay Suri

(L – R) Vinayak, Parvesh Sahni, Prakash Jha, Sanjay Suri

Post the Ministry of I&B’s initiative to set up the Film Facilitation Office, the Ministry of Tourism in association with the Ministry of I&B and the NFDC began a four-day Symposium on Film Tourism with the objective to explore current challenges facing filmmakers to film in India and the steps that can be taken to facilitate greater ease of shooting / producing a feature /non-feature film.

The Symposium began with an interactive session between the Ministry of I&B, the Ministry of Tourism and members of the film fraternity from India and abroad led by Shri Sunil Arora, Secretary, Ministry of I&B and Shri Vinod Zutshi, Secretary of Tourism. The deliberations centered on how a single window clearance could effectively deal with the facilitation of an eco-system that would be sensitive to the needs of both the filmmakers and the administration.

The session saw the participation of leading filmmakers like Shyam Benegal, Ramesh Sippy, Prakash Jha, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Anubhav Sinha, Sudhir Mishra, Kabir Khan, Sanjay Suri, Bharat Bala, amongst others.  James Weyman, Manager of Industry Initiatives, Ontario Media Development Corporation and Ruth Harley, Former CEO Screen Australia and New Zealand Film Commission shared their experiences at the session while leading line producers like Parvesh Sahni, Iqbal Kidwai, Deborah Benattar spoke of the on-ground challenges of shooting a film.

(L-R) Sudhir Mishra, Anurag Basu, Vani Tripathi Tikoo, Namrata Joshi

(L-R) Sudhir Mishra, Anurag Basu, Vani Tripathi Tikoo, Namrata Joshi

The NFDC Knowledge Series had an interesting lineup with enchanting speakers covering various aspects of filmmaking. In the first session by Shoojit Sircar, he spoke about his experience filming in Gujarat with Khyati Nayak, Manager – Film Cell, Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd.“Gujarat is one of the few States in India which actually has a single window clearance for permissions to shoot”, he added.

Sircar also had another very interesting session titled; Shoojit Sircar – A Journey in Storytelling. Talking about his mentor and his journey, Shoojit said, “As a child when my father took me for the film, Pather Panchali, I slept through it. Now every time I’m low, I watch this film. Satyajit Ray has been my biggest inspiration and my journey began by watching and learning from his films.” He is a man of stories – the filmmaker who has a very strong sense of narrative. Talking about the same, he adds, “If your research is right, you will never go wrong.”

Filmmakers Anurag Basu, Sudhir Mishra and Theatre Artist- Vani Tripathi Tikoo covered a very interesting topic in the session- Female protagonists in Bollywood today – how real is the discourse?Talking about the reprisal of women – centric roles in Indian cinema, Sudhir Mishra said, “The kind of stardom that actresses like Nargisji, Meena Kumari, Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit have had, none of the new actresses have had. The problem with films and cinema today is parallel cinema is being ignored. It’s like people are saying that Shyam Benegal’s cinema, Shabana Azmi and Deepti Naval’s work did not exist. Women are objectified in our films. There are so many songs on female beauty but none on male beauty.”

Anurag Basu

Anurag Basu

Director Anurag Basu said that women centric films have always been around. “I feel that you make movies according to the kind of person you are. Shoojit Sircar has made Piku, Vikas Bahl made Queen but Rohit Shetty does not make these kinds of movies. I have nothing against him, I’m just mentioning this. Women centric films have always been around because the ending of Queen is the same like that of Arth.The problem is that women filmmakers want to make masala blockbusters like men do. We need Juhi Chaturvedi and others like her to give us more characters and films like Piku,” says Anurag.

Television and theatre actress Vani Tripathi Tikoo said that portrayal of women in television is regressive. “I have worked on strong and memorable characters in shows directed by AnuragBasu. After that, there was a wave of shows directed by women, written by women, and even produced by women, which were very regressive and seen by generations of women all over. Earlier in films, we had the vamp and the heroine. Today, we have anti -heroine characters but there’s a long way to go for liberalization”, says Vani.

In the Television in Digital India session, Gayatri Yadav, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Communications, STAR India spoke about the rise of Internet usage in India. The session gave a roadmap to people for the future of content making, delivery and consumption and how content makers must challenge the status quo and push the envelope.

Nandita Das

Nandita Das

Satya Raghavan- Head of Content Operations YouTube India discussed Emergence of Content Destinations. Google and YouTube are one of the most prominent tools today at a filmmaker’s disposal for marketing a film, especially as they offer amazing monetizing solutions as well.

This year, the Investor’s Pitch consists of three pitching sessions that provides investors a platform to connect with film projects from different genres and in various stages of completion. The Three Investor Pitches include; 19 Co-Production Market projects selected across genres with a special focus on South Asian stories from across the globe, 16 Screenwriters’ Lab scripts with a focus on Romance and Children’s stories. These projects have been mentored by national and international industry experts and 18 Film Bazaar Recommends projects from the Viewing Room and Work in Progress Lab. This is the first time the projects under the Screenwriters’ Lab had an opportunity to participate in the pitches.

There are nine Film Offices set up at this year’s bazaar. The following have  participated; Chhattisgarh Tourism, Madhya Pradesh Tourism, Gujarat Tourism, Maharashtra – Film City, West Bengal Tourism, Tamil Nadu Tourism, Daman & Diu Tourism, Puducherry Tourism and Incredible India.

NFDC India’s Managing Director, Nina Lath Gupta says“It has been a great start to the bazaar this year. It has been our endeavour over the years to facilitate the ease of shooting films in India, with the launch of FFO, it will only get better. Change will not happen overnight but under the guidance of Ministry of I&B and Ministry of Tourism, we will have tangible outcomes in the months forward.”

At the Film Bazaar 2015, the opening evening networking event on November 20thwas organized by; lunch on November 21st was co-hosted by Madhya Pradesh Tourism and Gujarat Tourism. The evening networking event on November 21st was organized by Incredible India.