The Minister of Information & Broadcasting, Venkaiah Naidu, has announced that the I&B Ministry will allocate funds to promote films selected as India’s entry to the Academy Awards under the ‘Foreign Film’ category. Funds will also be made available to films selected for major international festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival, the Venice Film Festival, and the Busan Film Festival, among others. The government will constitute a panel of experts to determine which films will be assigned funds.
Naidu announced this at a press conference ahead of the IFFI in Goa recently. The news has been welcomed by Indian filmmakers, who in the past have highlighted the importance of marketing films at festivals like the Oscars, in order to win awards. India has a dismal record at the Oscars, although Indians have won Oscars in the past.
Visaaranai is India’s official entry to the Oscars for 2016, and is likely to benefit from this initiative. When contacted, Vetrimaaran’s representative said that they were “glad” that the Government was making an effort to help boost Indian cinema abroad.
The proposed value of the fund for promoting Indian films at the Oscars ranges between Rs 50,00,000 – to Rs 1,00,00,000.
The maximum amount available to a film selected for the Cannes Film Festival’s competition section is Rs 20,00,000. For categories ‘Un Certain Regard’ and ‘Director’s Fortnight’, the amount will be Rs 15,00,000 each.
If a filmmaker makes it to the ‘In Competition’ section at the Venice Film Festival, they will be aligible to avail of Rs 15,00,000.
For the Toronto International Film Festival and Busan’s ‘New Currents’ section, the amount allocated is Rs 10,00,000. For the ‘Window of Asian Cinema’ section at the Busan International Film Festival and the Locarno International Film Festival the amount is Rs 7,50,000. Films going to festivals like Sundance, Rotterdam, and Berlin also qualify for funding.
The step is a part of the Government’s efforts to promote Indian cinema in the the international arena. It is also aimed at helping independent filmmaker promote their work.
The initiative will focus on expenses like engaging a publicist, the director’s travel costs, funding cast and director appearances at red carpet events and press meets, and accommodation, screening, advertising, and networking costs.
The Directorate of Film Festivals has been designated as the nodal agency for implementing this initiative.
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