Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Only Two Indian Films Make It To Cannes, But Joint Agreements Create A Buzz


Mon may 19, 2014

Only two films from India may have made it to Cannes official screens this year but the country’s vibrant film industry hits the news every day. The festival has several news dailies in French and English which cover leading world and festival news along with listings of the festival’s screenings and events of each day.

On Sunday, the front page of all three English dailies, Variety, Screen and Hollywood Reporter, headlined one lead story: the joint venture between Los Angeles-based Relativity Media and Mumbai’s  film/television network B4U’s on wide-ranging film,  TV and sports agreement to produce entertainment and sports content to be distributed across myriad platforms.

The announcement was made at an elegant and packed lunch co-hosted by entertainment journal Variety to celebrate Relativity Media’s 10th anniversary held at the exclusive Hotel du Cap in Antibe , a 20 minute drive from Cannes.

Relativity Media is a studio engaged in multiple aspects of entertainment, including film and television production and distribution, the co-financing of major studio film slates, music publishing, sports management and digital media.

B4U is backed by steel industry tycoon Lakshmi Mittal and Kishore Lulla (head of Bollywood distributor Eros International) and Gokul Binani. The joint venture, with B4U CEO Ishan Saksena in charge, will co-produce a slate of Hollywood films including  The Best of Me, due to release on October 17.  The production investment, said to be some $100 million, will co-finance, co-produce and distribute Indian language films and television shows as well as acquire projects in the US and South Asian markets, and distribute third-party content in India and selected Bollywood films in the US.  A new pay channel in India will focus on Hollywood content, in both English and Hindi, and launch “RelaTV” – a digital streaming technology platform to deliver compelling short and long form content to Indian consumers.

India’s stars arrive second half 

The huge number of  Indians attending Cannes this year are mostly young, promising hopefuls who are seeking to learn the international mantra to movie-making. There are hardly any big and known directors to be seen  – besides Sudhir Mishra, that is. The usual suspects such as Anurag Kashyap, Shekhar Kapoor and others in their wake are not around.

Also absent in Cannes from the word go is India’s glamour quotient, which in recent years has been high profile.  The festival’s major sponsor L’Oreal  chose Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as their Brand Ambassador some ten years ago. The product made Aishwarya a known name in Cannes and all of  France. This year it has added three celebrated names from India – Sonam Kapoor, Freida Pinto and Katrina Kaif.  All of them will be in  Cannes this year – except for Katrina who has work commitments.

Aishwarya was to arrive in the first week but an airline strike led to the cancellation of her flight. Now all three Indian celebs will be packed into the second week, which is sure to bring a strong oriental sizzle to the red carpet.

Meanwhile, Freida Pinto is in a new film -  Desert  Dancer  – which has market screenings in Cannes. The film will open the Italy’s Ischea Global Film and Music Festival in July.
Courtesy: http://thecitizen.in/ - India's first independent on-line daily which was launched on January 27, 2014.reproducing Uma da Cunha's column


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