Day 2 of activities at the India Pavilion - organized by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, in association with FICCI - at the Cannes Film Market 2014 started at 10 a.m. with structured B2B meetings between Indian and international delegates – with the aim of allowing Indian participants at the Cannes Film Festival to be able to promote and facilitate their business goals. Shri Bimal Julka, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Govt. of India, met with Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director, Toronto International Film Festival; Jerome Paillard, Executive Director, Marche du Film Festival de Cannes; and Amanda Nevill, Chief Executive, British Film Institute.
Post lunch, at 2.30 p.m., was the hugely awaited interactive session on 'Co-Production: Merging Resources to Create Magic'. Starting with a keynote address by Shri Julka, this session, with speakers from six countries, focused on the how co-production makes filmmaking viable and lucrative by providing access to public or subsidized funds to filmmakers and increases sales and chances of syndication in the international space. According to Shri Julka, co-production agreements not only enrich bilateral exchanges towards substantial cultural benefits, but also bring in foreign exchange to a country's exchequer, and contribute to actual economic growth. This power-packed session saw insights from Dave Gibson, CEO, New Zealand Film Commission; Carolle Brabant, Executive Director, Telefilm Canada; Franck Priot, Deputy Director, Film France; Nina Lath Gupta, Managing Director, NFDC; Cindy Shyu, CEO, Light House Productions, China; Pierre Assouline, Owner, Producer, Only Films, Paris, and Westeast Films, Mumbai; and Mr T.P. Aggarwal, the first Indian Vice President of FIAPF. Weighing in on the creative concerns of co-produced filmmaking were Indian film veterans Dr Kamal Haasan and Mr Ramesh Sippy. The session was anchored by veteran filmmaker and producer Bobby Bedi. Two important announcements were made at the session – that the first India-New Zealand co-production, Beyond the Known World, is on the verge of being finalized; and that an India-China audiovisual co-production agreement – it will be India's 10th audio-visual co-production agreement with other countries – is in the offing.
This session was followed by fascinating conversation wherein legendary filmmaker, actor, producer and writer Dr Kamal Haasan was interviewed by critic and anchor Ms Anupama Chopra. Dr Haasan captivated the tightly packed audience with his candid answers on all things film and his experience as an actor for fifty-plus years. On being asked why we have not yet cracked the competition section at Cannes and won the Palme D'Or yet, Kamal Haasan said 'The problem is that we are a self-sufficient nation!' He stressed that Indian filmmakers need to stop being satisfied with the familiarity and safety of local markets and start taking risks – so that India can constantly produce truly global content that is appreciated across the world.
Shri Julka also met with the artistic team of the upcoming Indo-French coproduction based on Rabindranath Tagore's short story 'Kabuliwallah' – the film will be directed by renowned Afghan filmmaker Atiq Rahimi. Shri Julka expressed that the Government of India is keen to collaborate on the project, which would provide a boost to Indo-Afghan ties.
The evening saw an exclusive networking evening co-hosted by the I & B Ministry of India and the New Zealand Film Commission. An intimate interaction between filmmakers, producers and commissions from New Zealand and India, the event was the first of a kind Indian initiative aimed at promoting and forging ties for co-production and other partnerships between the two countries.