Magazine article Screen International

India's International Horizons

Magazine article Screen International

India's International Horizons

Article excerpt

Now in its sixth year, Goa's Film Bazaar co-production market (Nov 21-24) has become a key plank in the National Film Development Corporation's strategy to revitalise Indian cinema. Liz Shackleton reports

It has been a whirlwind year for India's independent cinema. After three films screened in various sections at Cannes - Miss Lovely, Gangs Of Wasseypur and Peddlers - Toronto devoted this year's City To City programme to Mumbai, screening 10 films from the city's vibrant indie sector.

Among these, Anand Gandhi's Ship Of Theseus went on to win prizes and special mentions in London, Tokyo and Mumbai, while Manjeet Singh's Mumbai Cha Raja scooped a special jury award at the Mumbai Film Festival and found a sales agent in Paris and Hong Kong-based All Rights Entertainment.

Other international sales agents are homing in on Indian content. Over the past year, Fortissimo Films has picked up Ship Of Theseus, Miss Lovely and Amit Kumar's Monsoon Shootout; Elle Driver took on Vasan Bala's Peddlers and Anurag Kashyap's Gangs Of Wasseypur and The Match Factory is selling Anup Singh's upcoming Punjabi-language drama Qissa.

'We are increasingly seeing projects that have international viability'Nina Lath Gupta, National Film Development Corporation

Much of this international exposure can be traced back to the Film Bazaar co-production market, which has been held annually in Goa since 2007. At its inception its organisers, the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), hoped the event would stimulate a diverse range of production across multiple languages - through interaction with local and international producers, sales agents, financiers and film festivals - in the same way events such as Rotterdam's CineMart has done for European cinema.

After six years, it appears the hard work has really started to bear fruit. A large proportion of the Indian films currently playing at festivals and finding sales agents have made their way through the various strands of Film Bazaar - which in addition to the co-production market, also includes a Screenwriters' Lab, Work-in-Progress Lab and Indo-European workshop Primexchange.

As producer Guneet Monga of Anurag Kashyap Films explains, Film Bazaar turns the world's attention towards Indian cinema in a way that is difficult to achieve at bigger events: "We travel to all the big festivals, but how do you have a focused meeting or bring the focus of a certain set of people to Indian cinema when you're in Berlin, Toronto or Cannes?" asks Monga, who is currently setting up Ritesh Batra's The Lunchbox as an international co-production.

She continues: "We find that everything culminates in Film Bazaar - it filters down to everybody who is interested in Indian content - all the major sales agents, programmers and buyers are there."

This year's projects also look likely to attract international attention with a line-up including Partho Sen-Gupta's Sunrise (Arunoday), set to star Adil Hussain and Tannishtha Chatterjee; Gillies MacKinnon's Jharkhand-set Quiver, scripted by Anjali Raghbeer; Opium from Peepli [Live] director Anusha Rizvi; and Shivajee Chandrabhushan's The Untold Tale, which took part in Cannes' Cinéfondation programme this year.

Film Bazaar also selects projects from other South Asian countries and this year's line-up includes Biscuit Race from Bangladesh's Mostofa S Farooki, whose Television (a Film Bazaar project in 2010) recently closed the Busan International Film Festival; and Kabuliwala, to be directed by French-Afghan film-maker Atiq Rahimi, whose The Patience Stone recently took the best actress award in Abu Dhabi. …

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