India Pavilion opens at Cannes Market

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Cannes, May 16 (UNI) The India Pavilion at the Cannes Market had a low key opening on the second day of the 61st Cannes Film festival here last evening.

In the absence of Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, the official delegation was led by Additional Secretary Uday Kumar Varma.

Unlike last year, no stars attended the ribbon cutting to mark the inauguration of the pavilion. Film producers led by L Suresh from Film Federation of India and Amit Khanna from Anil Ambani's Reliance Big Entertainment were present. The NRI producers were represented by Jug Mundra whose new film 'Shoot on Sight ' starring Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Greta Sacchi and Brain Cox is being screened in the Market.

Announcing a number of initiatives taken by the Ministry with the objective of facilitating the growth of Indian Film Industry and strengthening the participation in the International Film Festival of India, Mr Varma said the cash award for the Golden Peacock would be increased from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 40 lakh and the two Silver Peacocks from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 15 lakh.

This would bring the IFFI monetary awards at par with the other prestigious international film festivals of the world. The festival would also be introducing the critics FIPRESCI award from this year. India now has co-production agreements in place with Italy, Germany, Brazil and the UK, he added. Similar agreements with China and France are on the anvil.

Some other initiatives mentioned included setting up of a national centre of excellence in animation, gaming and visual effects; setting up a museum of moving images; expanding the Film and Television Institute of India to include a curriculum that would have global relevance and demand; and an export council exclusively for film export.

With no Indian films screening in the Official sections at Cannes, it is left to Market screenings to make India's presence felt. The market buzz is that Indian companies, especially TV companies, have become aggressive buyers of foreign language titles in the last year making India the new Mecca for sales agents.

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