Goa: The third day of the 13th Film Bazaar continued with participants enthused with energy and vigour running around the market, engaging in meetings, discussions, and workshops on state and future of the film industry in general and their projects in specific.
The day got off to a great start with the visit of Shri Thiru Kadambur Raju (Minister of Information and Publicity, Government of Tamil Nadu) to the Film Bazaar. He spoke about the steps Tamil Nadu has taken to become more film-friendly. The discussion happened in the presence of Smt. T.C.A. Kalyani (MD of NFDC India) and Mr. Vikramjit Roy (Head of Film Facilitation Office – NFDC).
Shri Thiru Kadambur Raju said, “We will make all the necessary efforts to take FFO to Tamil Nadu. I will make sure that there is maximum participation from the state. The idea is to see more of the films from Tamil Nadu here at the Film Bazaar therefore we will begin with the entire process six months prior. To facilitate the same, we are going to implement the online ticketing process for people to get it done easily and in cost effective manner.”
Responding to the Minister’s comments T.C.A. Kalyani (MD, NFDC) said, “The NFDC is with the entire film fraternity of Tamil Nadu. We will ensure that every possible effort is made to encourage the film guild”.
The other high point of Film Bazaar today was the celebration of the 50th year of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) with a discussion between Shri Chaitanya Prasad (Director IFFI, Additional Director General, Directorate of Film Festival) and veteran filmmaker Rahul Rawail which was moderated by Mr. Vikramjit Roy (Head of FFO, NFDC).
Shri Chaitanya Prasad reflected on the journey of 50 years of the festival and how it has shaped up over the period. “It’s been a tough but long journey for IFFI. We have 90 India premieres and that speaks for the value filmmakers from across the world place on the festival.”
Workshops on Skill Development, a new addition this year, continued on the third day of the Film Bazaar. The workshop of the day was with filmmaker Meghna Gulzar in a session moderated by Mr. Sunit Tandon (Director, India Habitat Centre). Asked about the most important quality of a filmmaker, she responded with ‘conviction’.
Meghna Gulzar said, “You need to have conviction. Be gracious with criticism and failure and rejection should be accepted but one should have conviction and stand by your vision.”
Other sessions in the day included a workshop by acclaimed filmmaker and cinematographer Rajiv Menon (Bombay, Guru, Kadal) who took the students in his skill development workshop on a tour of the evolution of visual design in Indian cinema and a session by filmmaker Subhash Ghai on his journey from being a student to an entrepreneur.
Sessions in the Knowledge Series started with an insightful panel moderated by Journalist Naman Ramachandran on the things that make co-productions successful. Filmmaker Anup Singh (Writer & Director, The Wandering Film Company) explained the reason his experience with co-productions has been good. “I never lie to my producers. I tell them from the beginning what my vision is and how I want to make the film. I never tell them it’s going to be a hit. I listen to them. These are the things needed for successful co-productions.”
Another panel on navigating film festivals included eminent programmers representing festivals like the Sydney Film Festival, New Zealand International Film Festival, Red Sea International Film Festival and the Indian Film Festival OF Los Angeles. All of them shared their excitement for Indian films and how they were keen to program them in their festivals. They also shared their advice for Indian filmmakers looking to break through into international film festivals.
“Don’t just focus on the big festivals. Look at what the taste of each festival is, how the different sections at these festivals program differently, what they’ve programmed over the years”, said Mr. Marten Rabarts (Festival Director – New Zealand International Film Festival).
The final panel of the day saw an intense discussion between screenwriter Atika Chohan, and writer-directors Sharat Katariya and Bikas Mishra. This panel, moderated by journalist Udita Jhunjhunwala, saw the writers share their insights on the changing role of a screenwriter with the emergence of OTT platforms and long format episodic shows.
Ms. Atika Chohan was not enamoured with the large amount of work happening in the OTT space. “There is a lot of development work happening but I don’t know if it’s fulfilling for writers because people are in a tearing hurry to develop shows.”
The Filmmaker’s Pitch started with an initiative designed to increase visibility of films which are present at the Bazaar. It was not a curated section and is open to filmmakers in the Viewing Room for a price. It was started last year at Film Bazaar based on the feedback from filmmakers eager to showcase their films to buyers and distributors. Out of the 213 films in the Viewing Room, 18 films presented their first looks to the roomful of distributors, buyers and programmers. While some of these films were completed, others were in various stages of work-in-progress. Almost all the films were looking for distribution and festival premieres.
The Producers’ Workshop had a gamut of insightful sessions today that exposed the participating producers to various topics that will surely help their journey in the future.
Mr. Vikramjit Roy (Head of Film Facilitation Office, NFDC) shared an overview of the work that NFDC has done in co-ordination with the various state FFO’s to make it easier for producers to shoot their films in the various parts of India. This rounded off the day for the producers in the workshop.
Veteran journalist, casting director, and film programmer Ms. Uma Da Cunha also spoke at the Producer’s Workshop on casting. She used a few clips from auditions she’s taken for Deepa Mehta’s latest film as example to highlight her approach towards casting with international filmmakers who are based outside of India. The producers asked pertinent questions on how to identify the right talent and fit for roles in films, especially if the actors haven’t yet worked in films and Ms. Da Cunha answered them in detail referencing case studies from her vast experience in the space.
Other sessions in the workshop included those by experienced industry professional Aviva Silver, who started the day with a session on how independent producers can collaborate with co-producers in Europe and a session by Nadia Dresti (Member, Federal Commission of Cinema and Head of Locarno Pro, Locarno Film Festival) who took a session on how to ‘navigate the film festival’ circuit and laid bare the odds that independent producers have to contend with.