#IndiaAtCannes 2021: Taking Indian Content to Global Markets in the age of Digital Platforms

India at Cannes 2021 is organised by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt of India, jointly with FICCI. This session discusses how Indian content is travelling beyond national boundaries through OTT platforms and is being widely watched by a global audience.

Ms Dhanpreet Kaur, MD, NFDC India, expressed hope in the fact that the reach of Indian content has been enriched by OTT platforms, and at the same time, there is a change in orientation in Indian creators’ attempt to bring about good content.

“Film and entertainment industry is a vehicle for showcasing our soft power,” Ms Manisha Verma, MD, Maharashtra Film, Stage & Cultural Development observed.

Mr Shibasish Sarkar, Group CEO, Reliance Entertainment said that due to digitisation of content, language is no longer a barrier. As a result, Indian stories have gone global in the last couple of years. However, he rightly pointed out, that the one thing that hasn’t changed is that a lot of effort is put in by storytellers and marketeers to convince the audience, and therefore audience continues to be the key.

The Indian film industry has typically been a star-driven system, but the last decade has witnessed rich content working and attracting crowds Ms Kranti Gada, COO, Shemaroo Entertainment said.

“In the OTT world, the actor and director are in equal demand,”, she added.

Filmmaker Mikhil Musale and Mr. Vishnu Mohta, co-founder Hoichoi TV, and Executive Director, SVF, agreed that uniquely Indian stories will appeal to a universal audience.

Mr. Mohta also added that it is an encouraging sign that in the last 5 years, arthouse or parallel cinema content is being made available on streaming platforms, therefore widening the range of content available to audiences of varying sensibilities.

For more insights on the matter, view the video above.

#IndiaAtCannes 2021: Film Production: Challenges faced & lessons learnt in making global films

The Virtual India Pavilion, as part of India at Cannes 2021, is organised by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in association with FICCI.


This session, moderated by Nitin Tej Ahuja of the Producers’ Guild of India, addresses the challenges producers face in making global films, in other words, projects of scale or of a certain aesthetic appeal. The session also aims to discover the challenges producers face in getting together the elements that make a film’s appeal truly global.


Smt. Neerja Sekhar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of I&B, in her keynote address said that while the entertainment that Indian cinema generates across all languages is extremely unique, there are many unexplored locations within India that are yet unexplored and can enhance the experience of Indian cinema.


Ms Sreyashi Sen, Founder and Managing Director of Darpan Global, observed that audiences have moved away from following big-budget films and are getting more and more interested in good content, while being language agnostic. “The plethora of stories that India has, gives us strength to explore this opportunity of language agnostic audiences that are evolving. There is immense power in exploring local stories about real people, but with a global edge,” she added.


“The last year at the box office has shown the world that Story is the real hero. A bridge exists between global and local cinema, but it is very fluid right now. It is in our hands to make the foundation of this bridge stronger with the quality of our stories.” Ms Sunita Tati, Founder and CEO, Guru Films said.


When it comes to budgets, producer Samudrika Arora said, “There is a lot more scope in terms of faith, trust, and interest from the financier’s side now and therefore a lot more money gets poured in. In light of these dynamic changes, there is a wonderful opportunity for producers to be bold.”


Mr. Samir Sarkar, CEO of Magic Hour Films, said that Indian studios have at their hands, the task of developing the taste of Indian audiences with changing times.


For more insights on the matter, view the video above.

#IndiaAtCannes 2021: Co-productions: New markets, New possibilities

India at Cannes 2021 is organised by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt of India in association with FICCI. This session, moderated by Mr. Vikramjit Roy, Head, FFO, is about the experiences of filmmakers with co-productions and how institutions are promoting co-productions, and also understand the nuances of stitching together international co-productions.


Ms. Dhanpreet Kaur, Director (Films) and MD, NFDC said that the long-awaited incentives for international productions shooting in India are on the verge of being finalized.


“NFDC has a very close and active coordination with Cannes Film Market. This year, NFDC has collaborated with Cannes on seven co-production projects and we are hopeful that these co-production projects will open up new opportunities for co-productions with international producers and storytellers,” she added.


On the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Simon Perry, Best Practice Exchange (BPX) Initiative under ACE Producers Network Europe, said, “The pandemic wiped out international co-production for really quite some time because of the extremely territorialized nature of funding nowadays.”


Mr. Neil Peplow, Director of Industry & International Affairs at British Film Institute (BFI), Peplow discussed the International Co-production strand of the fund, which can allocate a non-repayable grant of up to £300,000 ($413,000) per project. It is targeted at minority feature film co-productions in any language, including Indian languages, and any genre, which are co-produced with international partners, as well as minority or majority television co-productions in the animation and documentary genres only, in any language, which are co-produced with international partners.


The strand is open to experienced independent U.K. producers whose project must have raised at least 60% of the overall finance, and which needs to secure, or have already secured, at least one other source of U.K. funding.


Mr Peplow further said that the fund has flexibility built in in order to take opportunities where they exist. It is currently looking at projects and welcomes Indian “minority” projects on a reciprocity basis with the understanding that projects with majority funding from India will also take place. A co-production treaty between the U.K. and India has been in place since 2008.


For more insights on the matter, view the video above.


#IndiaAtCannes 2021: Showcasing International Film festival of India (IFFI)

The International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which is one of Asia’s oldest and India’s biggest film festivals, rose beyond the challenges posed by the pandemic to curate the best of Indian and world cinema from January 16– January 24, 2021, in Goa.


In this session, Smt. Dhanpreet Kaur, Director (Films), Ministry of I&B, Government of India and Shri Chaitanya Prasad, Director, IFFI and Addl. Director General, Directorate of Film Festivals, Government of India discuss the forthcoming 52nd edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI). Mr Prasad also gave an informative and detailed presentation about IFFI, including the various segments conducted and awards presented within the festival


Mr Chaitanya Prasad said that the 52nd edition of IFFI, organized by the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), in collaboration with the Goa government, will be held in a hybrid format considering the success of the 51st edition in January 2021.


Mr Prasad further revealed that this year at IFFI, the focus countries will be the BRICS nations: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.


“The BRICS nations will also constitute a very critical component as far as our programming is concerned as this would be a new form of storytelling, a new innovation where we are trying to integrate two diverse segments.”


On the occasion of the birth centenary of the maestro of Indian cinema Satyajit Ray, the Directorate of Films Festivals will pay a tribute through a Special Retrospective at the IFFI. Also, in recognition of the auteur’s legacy, the “Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Cinema” has been instituted from this year to be given at IFFI every year starting this year.


Former I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar had on July 5 unveiled the new poster for this year’s festival to be held from November 20-28 in Goa.


For more insights on the matter, view the video above.

#IndiaAtCannes 2021: Official Inauguration of ‘India Pavilion’


The official opening of the virtual India Pavilion at the 74th Cannes Film Festival was organised by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt of India, jointly with FICCI. Mr Uday Singh, Co-Chair, FICCI Film Forum & MD, MPA-India, who moderated the session, thanked the Indian government for organising ‘India Pavilion’ for the benefit of the Indian filmmaking community, especially in the middle of the Covid-19 health crisis.


Ms Neerja Sekhar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of I&B, GoI, in her opening remarks, said the Cannes Film Festival is a great opportunity for Indian filmmakers to share Indian talent and content with the world, and that cinema has been a triumph of courage in these difficult times.


Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar, in his inaugural address, said that though participation in the Cannes Film festival is virtual these last two years, the business being generated is real.


Speaking of India’s increasing contribution to world cinema, the minister said that India’s diverse locales are regularly utilised by various international productions to carry out shoots, while India’s VFX industry has played a huge role in Hollywood films such as Lion King, Jungle Book, Life of Pi, X-Men, and Avatar – to name a few.


He also added that in order to attract more international filmmakers to India, the government of India has opened a Film Facilitation Office, “We have now opened up a facilitation office which guarantees that all permissions are given in one go,” he said.


Further, expressing hope in the future of world cinema, Mr Javadekar said that he is sure films will do huge business once the pandemic is over.


This year the Indian delegation to Cannes will be led by His Excellency Mr Jawed Ashraf, Ambassador of India to the Republic of France and Principality of Monaco, GoI. Mr Jawed, in his address, expressed joy to be able to attend the festival – albeit in virtual mode. He further said that after the isolation of Covid-19, the festival will be a wonderful platform to reconnect and discuss the exciting developments taking place within Indian as well as world cinema.


Mr Amit Khare, Secretary, I&B Ministry, GoI, said, “This year marks the 75th year of Indian Independence, and also the centenary year of the legendary filmmaker Late Shri Satyajit Ray. I’m very happy that our delegation and all our well-wishers will be showcasing India at 75 and also the rich heritage of Satyajit Ray [at the Cannes Film Festival].”


The 2021 edition of the Cannes Film Festival will be held between July 6-17.


For the entire session, view the video above.