Utpal Borpujari

May 29, 2009

UK eyes India to launch path-breaking project to promote British films

By Utpal Borpujari in Cannes

“From Blighty With Love”. Well, that’s not the title of the latest James Bond film, but a path-breaking project by Agent 007’s home nation to promote British films in India and the rest of Asia.

The UK Film Council is conceptualizing what could be a pathbreaking project, with “FBWL” as the working title, under which a selection of classic British films will be shown through satellite digital projection in various Indian cities soon as a major push to promote that county in a nation obsessed with Bollywood and Hollywood.

If the project takes off successfully in India, it will also be replicated in Japan, Russia and China at a later stage.

“What we are planning to do is to tie up with Indian multiplex chains having facilities for 2K satellite digital projection and simultaneously show selected British films in several Indian cities,” UKFC’s senior executive export development (international) Sarah McKenzie told Deccan Herald here.

The project idea has come from a successful event called “Summer of British Films” organized jointly by UKFC and BBC across Britain in 2007, under which classic British films were shown through 2K digital projection.

“What makes the India project unique is that we are planning to do it through the satellite distribution mode, unlike in Britain where we did it through hard discs since we don’t yet have the satellite distribution mode,” says McKenzie.

UKFC, she says, is already talking with more than one multiplex operator in India to make the project a reality.

“What has helped is the recent India-UK film co-production treaty, which has opened up various new avenues for collaboration in promotion of our mutual cinemas and working together,” she says.

The project is an experiment to explore the possibility of regular commercial release of British films in India in the future. “Digital distribution is a much cheaper mode to try out newer things, and while we have done any specific market study to find what kind of films from the UK could interest Indian viewers, we will offer a mix of various tastes so that they get to know what kind of cinema is being made in the UK,” says McKenzie.

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 22-05-2009)



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