Siddharth Roy Kapur says on day 1 of NFDC Bazaar 2018, It’s such an exciting time for content.

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By K Ashwin Mobile: 09920183006 Email:indianshowbusiness@gmail.com

Siddharth Roy Kapur- The custom Pitch

The first day at the 12th Film Bazaar saw a flurry of activities, aimed at understanding the fast-evolving world of filmmaking and technology associated with it and figuring out new ways of creating and distributing world-class content.

Iiann Girard & Miriam Joseph

Amit Khare, Secretary I&B, Govt of India

The Co-Production Market (CPM) kick-started the day with a slate of interesting projects that reflected the ‘diversity of narratives’ the region is home to. The room was abuzz with excitement as the 19 filmmakers took to the podium and presented their projects to a selected audience of industry professionals including national and international producers, distributors, sales agents and financiers.

The pitches blended genres that ranged from social comedy to period dramas to family satires to coming of age stories. The films explored a wide array of themes including religion, spirituality, sexuality, morality, politics of oppression, death and loss and loneliness. The diversity was reflected not just in the languages the films are to be made in but also in the settings they encompass. From a small village in the remote east of India to one set in old Goa, from a tale set in bustling Dhaka to another set in a small mining on the outskirts of a mine in Central India, the projects pretty much covered the entire landscape.

Post the pitching session the filmmakers immediately got to business and could be seen moving from one table to another discussing their projects with interested parties.

The Knowledge Series started with a couple of very informative sessions on the Film Facilitation Office.

The first session saw Mr. Sri Shishir, Member Secretary, Film Bandhu/Director, Information, UP Government share his vision on easing the process of filming in his state. UP has probably the most favourable film policies of all states and has a regular stream of films been shot in the state. Mr. Shishir spoke about the process of getting subsidies on projects as well as discussed the script approval process for the same. He also allayed concerns of the producers in the audience regarding the delay in disbursal of these funds. Producers in the audience urged him to consider making the subsidies available to films that release directly on digital platforms. He promised to work towards making it easier for filmmakers to shoot their films in Uttar Pradesh.

In another session later in the day, Mr. Vikramjit Roy (Head of FFO of M/O, I & B, NFDC), took the audience through the recently launched Film Facilitation Office web portal alongside Sanjay Suri (Producer and Actor).

Speaking about the web portal, Mr. Roy said, “The portal takes forward our goal of ‘easing filming in India’. We want international filmmakers to ‘come film in India’ and weave India into their narratives. This portal will provide detailed information on not just the locations to shoot in but also the remarkable depth of talent in our country. Alongside this information, the portal will also facilitate the process of getting approvals for filming in India’.

Since Cinema is a state subject, some audience members raised concerns about the challenge of integrating all the steps involved in the process of filming. Allaying these concerns, Mr. Roy spoke about the ‘enthusiasm and proactiveness’ with which states have responded to the initiatives of the FFO. In its next phase of evolution, the FFO will also help filmmakers in their efforts to get co-production on their films.

Perhaps the most insightful session on Day one of the Knowledge series was the one on ‘decoding block chain for films’ which was focused on how IPR can be secured for those creating content. The panel saw Orlando Pedregosa (Co-Founder, Babeika) and Simran Mulchandani (Co-Founder & CEO, Mach One) in a conversation moderated by filmmaker Rohan Sippy.

The panelists broke down the jargon around the complex technology and helped the roomful of eager listeners understand how it can be leveraged by independent content creators to collaborate with strangers without the fear of piracy as well as maintain control over the monetization of their content.

Explaining the value of block chain to independent filmmakers, Mr. Mulchandani said that, ‘Block chain is a global notary service that can be used to create trust between two strangers so they can work with each other in a completely peer-to-peer basis. Any asset of service can become a token of payment.’

Mr. Pedregosa further added that, “There are two key issues that block chain can help remove. One is the concern of privacy and the second is that of control over pricing. There’s now a possibility that we can build a truly peer-to-peer network of content creators and user and can do away with centralized organizations as gatekeepers who control the revenue. The content creators can themselves become gatekeepers and exercise visibility and control over what happens with their content.”

Producer Siddharth Roy Kapur (Producer & Founder, Roy Kapur Films) was busy through the day, first engaging the young bunch of eager producers participating in the Producers’ Workshop and then with Liz Shackleton (Asia Editor of Screen International) in a session of the Knowledge Series talking with her about his journey from over the last couple of decades ‘crafting a brave new world’ of content.

Speaking about the Good Pitch in the Producers Workshop, Mr Kapur urged the group to keep their pitches focused and tight. “You need to be convinced and passionate about what you are pitching”, was his mantra to the audience. He also fielded a volley of questions from the producers who wanted to know more about how he sifts through ideas, what excites him in a pitch, how to respond to feedback amongst a host of other queries.

Speaking later to Ms. Shackleton, he elaborated on his journey from UTV to Disney to finally launching Roy Kapur Films and what he’s learnt along the way.

Responding to a question about his style of producing and his relationship with directors’, he said, “It’s important to know when to be involved and when to step back. You have to be the yin to the director’s yang. The job of the producer is to stay a few steps removed from the film and be objective.”

When asked what his rule for producing a film is he said, “We just have a simple question to answer. We ask ourselves ‘Can we imagine not making this movie?’ If the answer is no, we make it.”

Mr. Roy Kapur also spoke about the exciting slate of films and series he’s currently producing. Probed on the challenges today, he said “These are exciting times to be a content creator. 2018 has seen the highest theatre footfalls even though platforms are proliferating. It has got much more brutal but if the content is good, it works. Everyone wants good content. Even the small town audience today is exposed to international content and their benchmarks have changed. It’s important that we don’t miss out on this opportunity to make great content. We have an obligation to do so”.

Alongside that the day also saw insightful sessions in the Producers’ Workshop with Meg Thomson (SVP, Worldwide Content, Globalgate Entertainment) talking about the process of getting ‘remakes done’.

The day saw many luminaries visit the Bazaar amongst whom was Mr. Amit Khare, (Secretary I & B, GoI). Speaking about the importance of the Film Bazaar he said, “The Film Bazaar is bringing together creative people who are making films, the distributors, the producers, both within the country and from outside. So it is a great platform to showcase Indian films. It’s also a great opportunity to showcase Indian locales which are also becoming popular for film shooting.”

The day also saw the beginning of other sections of the Film Bazaar like the Viewing Room and Industry Screenings. The Viewing Room is screening a record 217 films from all over South Asia including 160 World Premieres that are seeking finishing funds, world sales, distribution partners and film festivals to film programmers, distributors, world sales agents and investors.

In parallel to this, Industry Screenings also took place at the Bazaar through the day. This year there are 34 films screening in this section along with 5 Work-in-Progress (WIP) films. Filmmakers were busy talking to industry participants before and after the screenings.

The Film Bazaar began at the Goa Marriott Resort on 20th Nov and will continue till Nov 24th.

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