Indian cinema is striving to establish itself in the international market for quite some time now. Aiding the process is Francois Bertrand from HQ Vancouver: A Home For Global Business, who has to offer a great many things for Indian companies. He talks about his company, the advantages of a presence abroad, and much more.

Francois Bertrand

Francois Bertrand

What brings you to the Film Bazaar?

I am here at the Film Bazaar to represent my organization HP Vancouver in India. I am also here to find opportunities for my organization. We were established through the partnership between public and private sectors and the government in British Columbia in Canada to promote Vancouver as a hub for local businesses and to provide support to companies in establishing an office in our jurisdiction.

Why Vancouver for Indian companies?

Vancouver offers a soft landing for Indian companies in North America. We have a thriving film cluster with lots of capacity for production and more so, on the post production side. We were recently named the largest VFX cluster in North America. The reason we have such a good cluster is that Sony Pictures Imageworks moved their headquarters to Vancouver last year. Here we focus on the three T’s, the first ‘T’ being TIME since Vancouver offers great access to California. The second one being TAX incentives, in which the government provides some very intense tax incentives to keep the cost down. Lastly, the third one is the TALENT, a very deep talent pool in British Columbia, which companies within the film sector can leverage.

When you say talent, does it incorporate talent from all over the world?

Yes, we have a country that is built on integration. Every year we accept over 250 thousand immigrants and so the city is very diverse. We actually have a very big Indian Diaspora in Vancouver of about 300 thousand Indians. There are people from Asian and European communities as well. There is also homegrown talent, partly with our institution, the Vancouver Film School. In fact, all these great institutions are pumping up some good talent. The other reason people are coming to Vancouver is because the city offers a very good lifestyle. This has made Vancouver a hub for people, which the companies can take advantage of.

Could you share some insightful experience about Prime Focus Company?

Prime Focus has an operation in Vancouver for a number of years and it’s our understanding that the footprint is only growing. They have had a very good experience and again, it relates back to the three T’s. They are growing and hiring. This also tells us that there is potential for more connection to take place between India and Canada and establishing a presence in Vancouver.

Cost effective, talent, and immigration could be the major reasons for some hesitancy to move abroad for companies, which are smaller than Prime focus. Is it easier to solve those issues?

Yes, Canada’s immigration system is very assertive of investments and therefore, the companies that are establishing office and creating jobs are welcomed. It is often easier to move senior staff from the head office, here in India, for example to Vancouver, whether it is temporary or permanent. Moves at senior levels are something that our system supports quite effectively and in a more streamlined way. So, absolutely we have the right tools in place to facilitate these transitions.

Are there any specific companies that you are looking for collaboration? 

We are looking for companies that have ambitions to internationalize, companies like Tata Elxsi Studio that is growing very fast. They are also doing business with Hollywood. These are the types of company we think would benefit more from Vancouver’s presence.

How has your experience been in Film Bazaar?

The Film Bazaar has been great and it is a great forum to build network with the key players within the film industry. We are certainly taking a lot back with us. We have a better knowledge of the key players along with some better strategies on what angles may interest companies in relation to what we are trying to do in HP Vancouver.

Can you share something about your company?

Basically, what we offer is a priority platform of federal government, the provisional government, and the private sector. The main thing that we can do for the companies is to be their single window to government programs, whether it is immigration related or getting a business license. We have all the right contacts.

We can also help introducing potential patterns to the company. We can provide with excellent information on local opportunities along with the local way of doing things. Simply put, we would become a strategic pattern for companies and help them along their journey to establish and expand in Vancouver.

Our interest in supporting the company doesn’t end once they have established a presence. We are certainly available to help them grow and our patterns, especially the Ministry of International Trade at the British Columbia Government can offer some support in terms of pushing these Indian companies to do business in other markets across Canada and North America and also in Europe.

-Transcribed by Aarti Sukhija