New Delhi: Mr. Prakash Javadekar, Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, on Monday said that the Venice Film festival has stood as a symbol of recognition of cinematic excellence at an international platform. “Participation of India in Venice Film Festival 2020 as a focus country has brought India and Italy closer by opening immense possibilities of co-production in film making and further bolstering the historical ties the two cultural superpowers have enjoyed for centuries,” he said.
In his address at the Venice Film Festival 2020, where India is the focus country this year, Mr. Javadekar said, “It is with great pleasure, I announce that India and Italy have agreed on the Rules of Procedure for Co-production Treaty and it is hoped that it will take our joint collaboration to a new level.”
The Minister stressed that “Cinema not only showcases cultural mores but also brings countries closer.” Mr Javadekar said that cinema is a soft power that helps to forge international ties. Inviting Italian filmmakers for filming in India, he said, “Filming in India is an experience by itself and I invite everybody to come and shoot and to do pre-production as we have experienced crew members and facilities and very scenic spots. This year we are participating in the Venice Film market to showcase what India has to offer.”
This year two Indian feature films and one short film are being screened at the Venice Film Festival. India is also screening a film as market screening in Venice Production Bridge named ‘In the land of Poisoned Woman’ by Manu Bohra.
Speaking at the event, Mr Manlio Di Stefano, Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Italian Government, said, “The relationship of India and Italy in film production is in line with the great work the two countries are doing to strengthen the bilateral collaboration, which is very advantageous for Italy given that India is a cultural giant, which is a great resource for other countries that can go beyond commercial exchanges.”
Acknowledging the growing Indian film market with one of the largest cinema industries in the world, Mr Di Stefano said, “India will be one of the most important global powers in 10 years from now despite the difficulties posed by COVID.” He added that India and Italy share a strong bilateral relationship marked by several meetings that have “widened our collaboration in many fields”, including culture and cinema.
“We have two major pillars on which we would like to develop our collaboration- Co-productions and shooting locations” to develop products for both Indian and Italian people as “it is not easy to define identity in cinema,” Mr Di Stefano said. He also added that “we should aim at productions that can tell about a territory through a story and not through documentaries that how good we are here in Italy”.
Italy, Mr Di Stefano said, has “included India among our target countries both for productions and to attract tourists. So, India is at the centre of our campaign one of which is ‘Living in Italian Style’”. He also added that Italy has an integrated package for coproduction, and funds (more than 60 million Euros) are made available by Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to its embassies across the world in order to promote sectors like cinema.
Addressing the film festival via video conferencing, H.E. Vincenzo De Luca, the Ambassador of Italy to India said Italy participated at FIICI Frames 2020 as a virtual partner and “we presented the possibilities of co-productions in Italy and India”. He added that “today we can take a further step forward by creating a partnership that is not limited to isolated events, but which creates a permanent collaboration between Italian and Indian cinema”.
Citing historical relationships when noted filmmaker Satyajit Ray won a Golden Lion award in 1957 and the movie ‘Monsoon Wedding’ in 2001, he said that we should let the new Indian cinema be known in Italy. “Starting with FICCI Frames in June this year, we have to build a common partnership, a long-lasting partnership to exchange productions,” the Ambassador added.
Ms TCA Kalyani, Joint Secretary (Films), Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India & MD, NFDC, said, “The rules of procedures that we were to announce at FICCI Frames have finally been made,” which will give incentives to filmmakers choosing to shoot in India, she said. She also added that India will soon be announcing the rules of procedures for champion sectors and “we have also announced the SOPs and guidelines for filming in India”.
Ms Kalyani also said that Media and Entertainment is a sunrise sector in India. She invited the overseas filmmakers to come and shoot in India “once the aviation restrictions are lifted”.
Mr Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI, said, “Italy participated in the 21st edition of the FICCI Frames this year as a partner country and I was truly amazed by their content and production capabilities, which I am sure enabled many Indian filmmakers and people in India to realize and see at first hand the opportunity that Italy presents and the possibilities of collaboration between India and Italy.”
He further added that FICCI is delighted to partner with ANICA and the Embassy of Italy in India to organize a session focusing on India at Venice Film Festival. “This is the first time that such a platform has been set at the prestigious Venice Film Festival to discuss and promote relations between India and Italy in the area of filmmaking which needs to be continued in the future. This platform has provided an opportunity for India to connect with a global audience and reach out for further film production partnerships.”
A session on ‘Challenges and Opportunities between India and Italy in Film Making was moderated by Mr Bobby Bedy, Filmmaker and Managing Director, Kaleidoscope Entertainment. The participants in this session included Ms TCA Kalyani, Joint Secretary (Films), Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India & MD, NFDC (TBC); Mr Ritesh Batra, Indian Filmmaker; Mr Goutam Ghose, Indian Filmmaker; Sergio Scapagnini, Italian Filmmaker; and Mr Ashish Pherwani, Partner, Media & Entertainment, EY.
The panel discussed various emerging trends in the Indian Media and Entertainment sector and the opportunities and challenges for cinema in the post-COVID-19 world, including SOPs that have been put in place to start film productions after a gap of several months.