BRICS Film and Technology Symposium – Day 2

Day 2 of the BRICS Film and Technology Symposium was conducted as part of #AzadiKaAmritMahotsav. The first of its kind symposium was organized by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, GoI, in association with the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

The first session of the day, Enhancing film viewing experience using recent technologies, focused on Virtual and Augmented Reality content creation: how innovators are creating compelling VR and AR content, and how technology is enhancing the viewing experience. Below are a few takeaways from the session:

“In Russia, Research is focused on screening quality and augmented reality,” Mr Alexander Zenin, Member, Union of Cinematographers of the Russian Federation, Chief Researcher of the NIKFI (Research Film and Photo Institute), Russia.

“In China, VR technology is very very fast. We are using VR technologies not in big cities but in small cities as well,” Mr Lei Zhenyu, Chief Engineer, China Film Group Corporation.

“Augumented Reality and Virtual Reality or ‘Extended Reality’ as it is now often referred to, is the next chapter in this revolution brought about by technological advancements,” Ab Moosa, CEO, Avlon Group, South Africa.

“20 years ago, VFX was not used in India as it was used abroad. But today things have changed to the extent that VFX has become an integral part of filmmaking and storytelling. Earlier in Bollywood the kind of jobs VFX technicians would do were cable erasing, etc. but now the entire shot is created in VFX, including some characters,” Naveen Paul, Co-founder, NY VFXwala, India.

The second session of the day, Tomorrow’s Strategies – Understanding Animation Globally with a Spotlight on the BRICS Market, discussed how animation remained relatively resilient to COVID-19 and successfully catered to the rising OTT demand despite pandemic restrictions. A few takeaways from the session:

Mr Vladimir Nikolaev, General Producer & Co-founder, Wizart Animation, Russia said, “My dream is to create some local story, like fairy tale from India, as India is a diverse nation.”

We have a huge responsibility as BRICS countries. We need to see what is good for our children,” Ms Firdoze Bulbulia, CEO, African Animation Studio, South Africa.

“In linear platforms like TV, the content is skewed towards boys: it’s a ratio of 65:45. However, when it comes to OTT platforms, there is a demand for content targeted towards girls, and it is being delivered to them as well,” Uttampal Singh, Head, Discovery Kids India.

“This whole deal of spoon-feeding children in the name of entertainment, making it contrived and sloppy is something that I feel one should avoid as kids would outright reject it,” Suresh Eriyat, Founder and CEO, Studio Eeksaurus, India.

For more insights, view the video above.

BRICS Film and Technology Symposium – Day 1

As part of #AzadiKaAmritMahotsav, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has organized the first ever 2-day BRICS Film and Technology Symposium.

Here are a few key takeaways from the inaugural address, chaired by Mr. Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI.

“The relevance of audio-visual cooperation between BRICS countries is one of the possibilities of market exploration and cultural diffusion,” Mr. Mario Frias, Special Secretary for Culture, Federal Government of Brazil.

“This symposium is the beginning of a new journey in cinematic partnership, and India is proud to have initiated the first step. Through this event, we hope to explore the various possibilities of enhanced collaborations, including formal mechanisms for student exchange programs among the leading film institutes of our country,” Apurva Chandra, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

“During the chairmanship of India, we aim to promote institutional building to further deepen, sustain and institutionalize BRICS cooperation. It is important to win the hearts & minds of the people from all BRICS nations & a film symposium is an event that brings together one & all through the medium of cinema technology,” Mr. Anurag Thakur, Minister of I&B, Sports & Youth Affairs, GoI.

In the first session, titled Leveraging Opportunities between BRICS Nations, the panelists discussed how BRICS nations can create a new framework for co-production, exchange of talent pool resources, creativity, funding and tech collaboration. A few takeaways:

“In order to really have authentic content, there is nothing more important than this BRICS partnership & harnessing that,” Mr Nick Daryanani, Producer, Frame 24, Hongkong.

“Although the BRICS Film Festival is held annually, there is a need to take it to Tier-2 cities,” Ms Arunaraje Patil, FTII Alumni, Member of FTII Academic Council and Eminent filmmaker.

“Creating a common space would mean an increase in the amount of content that would travel among BRICS countries,”Ms Ekaterina Pshenitsyna, Head of the International Department, Central Partnership, Russia.

“The BRICS Film Festival is low-hanging fruit. We need to leverage in the BRICS agreements. In 40 years, BRICS is going to have a larger GDP than the G6 countries,” Ms Xoliswa Sithole, Producer and Director, South Africa.

“India produces 3 times more films than Hollywood. There is a unique opportunity for the entertainment sector to get together and produce across the board,” Ms Lindalias Reis, Co-Founder, Riowood & VP, Chamber of Foreign Commerce, Brazil.

The next session, titled Managing cross-border talents, content licensing and dubbing in local languages, talked about the need to build an ecosystem that enables effective collaborations across BRICS countries. Below are a few takeaways:


“5G will be a game-changing move that will drive video consumption to another level and increase broadband penetration in India,” Mr. Karan Taurani, SVP, Elara Capital.

“TV platforms have increased their TRPs with dubbed content and it helped television to reach a wider audience,” Mr. Manish Dutt, Managing Director, VR Films and Studio.

“OTT and traditional television are both equally important means of consumption. There is demand for good quality content and always be,” Ms. Anna Avdeeva, Producer and the Dubbing Director, Russia.

“A lot of tax incentives have been offered in South Africa, and as a result a lot of foreign players have come in. However, Covid-19 had impacted foreign production, and since costs have gone up, it remains to be seen if the tax incentives will suffice,” Nirvana Singh, Head, Industry Development, SABC, South Africa.

In the last session of Day 1 of the BRICS Film and Technology Symposium, Technological Collaboration – Preproduction, Postproduction and VFX, the panelists discussed the prospects of the VFX sector in terms of innovation, growth and contribution to filmed entertainment. Here are a few takeaways from the session:


“We are in a position to create a BRICS Creative cluster using our respective talents, and competencies. We can create a virtual clout in the industry,” Mr Biren Ghose, Country Head, Technicolor.

Russia is going global, we are working with global OTT platforms. We have moved from service sector to producing our own shows for OTT platform,” Mr Arman Yahin, CEO- Cofounder, Main Road Post, Russia.

For more insights, please view the video above.

Creative Industries – Catalyst to Revive Economic Growth

The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) and Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC) organised the 2nd Indo-US Services Summit in association with Creative First.

For insights from the session ‘Creative Industries – Catalyst to Revive Economic Growth’, view the video.

Through The Lens


On the occasion of World IP Day 2021, ‘Through the Lens – A discussion on Piracy and Copyright Issues’, was presented by Lex Witness, in association with K&S Partners, The Motion Pictures Association – India, CreativeFirst, and The Producers Guild of India.


Setting the context for the webinar, Mr Jyoti Sagar, Managing Partner, K&S Partners, focused the panel’s attention on how technological advancements like digital, robotics, IoT, AI, and machine learning have given rise to an age of economic disruption.


Mr Sagar demonstrated his point by highlighting the scale of said dramatic changes: close to 60% of the world’s population has access to the internet now, with 4.6bn active users – out of which over 3.8bn use social media.


Further, he shared an interesting insight on what happens every minute on the internet: Netflix reports 400,000 hours of video streaming, while Youtube sees 500 hours of video uploaded; on Whatsapp, almost 42mn messages are shared; and on Instagram, approximately 35,00,00 stories are posted every minute. With 700mn internet users, 450mn of which are active social media users, quite a lot of the above figures happens in India.


In keeping with said technological advances, he pressed on the need for IP laws to be more helpful to right owners, especially when internet-based piracy of digital goods is unrestrained by any physical borders or distance.


Expressing his eagerness to discuss what the future holds for IP law in the face of these enormous challenges, he invited Justice Manmohan to present his remarks.


Justice Manmohan, in his opening remarks said that the rationale or the intent behind the copyright law is to promote human ingenuity and human creativity. Copyright Acts world over, including India, he said, promote the creation of artistic works by conferring a bundle of rights on owners and creators, and providing remedies in case the rights are infringed.


Sharing his thoughts on the online world, he argued that supporting the blocking of websites or sites dedicated to piracy does not make one an opponent of free and open internet, but a protector of cyberspace. Advocating limits on accessing illegal content does not violate open internet principles, he added.


Speaking of measures taken by various governments, he said that countries dealing with the protection of IP rights have employed working with internet intermediaries as the main solution, while the concept of dynamic injunctions has been found to be an effective deterrent to mirror websites.


Citing challenges like the interplay between AI art and IP laws, the territorial nature of IP laws which strike at the very concept of copyright, he said that it is time for a neutral agency like the UN or WIPO to prepare a model IPR law for the entire world.


Commenting on the abolishment of IPAB and FCAT, Justice Manmohan pointed out that the power which a High Court judge enjoys is far better than any tribunal. It is therefore important, he continued, to keep aside the desire for speedy justice via tribunals and focus on bettering the High Court’s ability to provide justice. This can be done by appointing a specialised judge in the High Court dealing with IP jurisdiction, he offered.


In conclusion, Justice Manmohan said though the Copyright Act is very important, at the moment, “it whirls through the maze of a glamorous hall”. He emphasised the need to keep pace with the fast-changing ground level reality, soon to be a major challenge to many fundamental concepts in the coming years.


Mr Rajendra Kumar, Counsel & Senior Advisor, K&S Partners, turned the attention of the participants to the panel discussion.


Speaking of the value the M&E industry brings to the economy, Ms Lohita Sujith, Sr. Director – Copyright & Digital Economy, Motion Pictures Association, informed the panel that the gross output of the M&E industry was 349000 Cr rupees, while it supported 26.6 Lakh jobs. The significant role of IP in the growth of creative industries, therefore, is absolutely crucial, she added.


Further, she said that given the right impetus from a policy point of view, the M&E industry has the potential to support at least 1.1mn jobs and add at least 2,33,000 Cr of total gross output to the economy in the next 5 years.


However, she continued, in the process of providing an internet-based service, sometimes copyright is infringed – inadvertently or with intent. There needs to be clarity in the law whether there is a secondary liability if such service providers do have knowledge on copyright being infringed. Further, there is also a need for urgency in taking down the content from an infringing website, she added.


On the subject of theatres being exempt from paying royalties as exploiters, Mr Zameer Nathani, Sr. VP and General Counsel, UFO Moviez I. Ltd., said that the argument in favour of the theatres was that out of the 1000-1500 films that release per year in India, 60% make losses. The rest manage to barely cover their costs and make minimal profit. Further, he said, that coupled with the cost of running a theatre, if theatre owners were made to pay royalty as exploiters, the argument was that theatres would cease to exist. In light of these facts, the government, in its wisdom, rightly decided to exempt theatres from paying royalty as exploiters, he concluded.


Staying on the subject of royalties, the panel unanimously agreed that the Copyright Amendment Act of 2012 needs clarity, and that ironically, the act itself is the biggest hurdle in the collection of royalties. “Confusions created in Sections 17, 18, and 19 are standing in the way of collecting royalties. There is no clarity between who collects from whom and how much has to be collected. This debate itself is the biggest challenge in the collection of royalties,” Anil Lale, General Counsel, Viacom18 Media Private Ltd. said.


Further Mr Lale pointed out that even the most effective model, a private-public partnership like the Maharashtra Cyber Digital Crime Unit (MCDCU), has its limitations as a state agency in terms of jurisdiction. Further, dynamic injunctions and erstwhile John Doe orders directing ISPs to block pirate websites have also proved to be effective. However, this too is akin to treating a symptom as it doesn’t stop the pirate in his tracks. And considering that a fight against a pirate website is difficult for corporates to undertake as well, the question of what happens to the individual IP owner in such a fight remains unresolved, Mr Lale explained.


The only way forward, Mr Lale said, is a private-public partnership like the MCDCU as a central nodal agency with jurisdiction across India. Similarly, an agency for cooperation between nations is also the need of the hour, he concluded.












Film School Friday: Our Future Storytellers


Childnet International and the Motion Picture Association host a special edition of our “Film School Friday” series, highlighting the exciting career opportunities in the film and TV sector, and the skills it takes to become one of our future great storytellers.

Our conversation explores what skills are needed to kickstart a career in the audiovisual industry, what programmes are already available to budding actors, producers and directors, and top tips for making the next hit blockbuster.

#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.


Film School Friday: Inclusive Preschool Programming

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As part of the Motion Picture Association’s “Film School Friday” series, this panel highlights the expansive landscape of inclusive preschool programming.

Our conversation explores how diverse storytelling from a young age impacts childhood development through the normalization of inclusive characters, and showcases examples of current programming from participating MPA member companies (Netflix, ViacomCBS, Warner Bros., NBCUniversal, and Disney).

Film School Friday: Godfather of Harlem

The Motion Picture Association and EPIX co-hosted this edition of Film School Friday featuring creators and actors from Godfather of Harlem — the acclaimed series inspired by infamous Harlem crime boss Bumpy Johnson.

The discussion features two of the show’s leading actors — Giancarlo Esposito and Ilfenesh Hadera — as well as executive producers Chris Brancato and Paul Eckstein.

MPA’s Vice President of External and Multicultural Affairs John Gibson moderates.

Not All About Glamour: Asian Americans Working in Hollywood



This panel from the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) Legislative Leadership Summit presented the voices of AAPI leaders in Hollywood.

The participants represent a variety of roles within the broader entertainment industry who are working to ensure that there is more diversity in America. This discussion followed how they ended up in this industry, challenges they have faced in roles where there are few other AAPIs, and their thoughts on increasing diversity in these spaces. They also shared their respective media companies’ plans to elevate Asian American stories, both in front and behind the camera.

Featured speakers:

• Ashley Chang, Hulu
• Mariecar MendozaSan Francisco Chronicle
• Patricia Ratulangi, Nielsen