May 1, 2010
By Kamlu Rupani
“The creation of digital distribution networks such as video on demand services, satellite airing, and the launch of technologies such as Apple’s iPad, which offer high-definition video viewing experiences, would create potential for films beyond theatrical releases”, said Neeraj Roy, MD and CEO of Hungama Digital Media Entertainment. Roy was speaking on a panel session entitled ‘The Future Of Film Marketing: Growing Ancillary Revenues’ as part of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Frames 2010 in Mumbai. FICCI Frames is the annual convention which features three days of debates and discussions on various issues faced by the media and entertainment industry in India. “This isn’t the far future; this is a reality now, which is likely to change the entertainment landscape,” Roy said. “Digital devices can allow for interactive content and scrollers, which impart tidbits on the movie being watched – services for which a consumer is likely to pay a little extra.” The panellists included Kapil Agarwal, joint managing director, UFO Moviez India; Sanjeev Lamba, CEO, Reliance Big Pictures; Siddharth Roy Kapur, CEO, UTV Motion Pictures; and Sandeep Bhargava, CEO, Studio18. Going digital would also provide a solution against the problems of piracy. “Digitising movies not only counters piracy, but also helps achieve a widespread movie release, without print and other related costs,” Roy added. Bhargava of Studio18 agreed, citing an example where the digital world helped enhance entertainment. “We have realised in our experience that even if movies with smaller budgets don’t have theatrical releases overseas, people want to see them on DVDs. This often leads to piracy,” he said. To address this challengefor the release of the film Striker, Bhargava and his team tied up with YouTube to make the film available on its platform in markets other than India. As YouTube was officially partnering this initiative, no pirated links to the movie were allowed on its platform, thereby ensuring minimal piracy. While Roy and Bhargava were enthusiastic about the growing importance of digital in contributing to a film’s revenue, Lamba talked about some of the key problems plaguing the film industry in India, in particular, the issue of rights management. “The rest of the world works on ‘all rights’ releases, which means tying up with one company for all these rights,” he said, “but in India, the tendency is to break up the selling of rights by tying up with different partners. This has its limitations, as opposed to obtaining everything under one roof/banner.” The success of film marketing begins by managing its rights successfully. As a prediction, Lamba said that just like in Hollywood, consolidation would soon enter the currently fragmented production industry in India; and a handful of studios would soon command 60 per cent of the market share, much like in Hollywood. This year’s edition of FICCI Frames highlighted various issues such as piracy, proliferation of Indian fi lms to new avenues, better collaboration with foreign films, new formats, and more. India’s media and entertainment industry has gone through tough times in the last two years as its mainstay advertising industry suffered due to the global financial slowdown. The industry as a whole registered a modest growth of around 1.3 percent in 2009 compared to 12 percent in 2008. A session that attracted a lot of interest at FICCI Frames 2010 was one that examined the topic of censorship. Babu Ramasami, the regional officer of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) revealed that a proposal has been made for a separate certification of digital movies, which could be different from theatrical releases. Ramasami explained that the CBFC kept guidelines vague to keep creativity alive and to allow fi lmmakers to explore progressive ideas. Moderator, Kamal Hassan who is also the chairman of FICCI Media & Entertainment Business Conclave, suggested filmmakers could submit their scripts for review to enable CBFC to foresee if films would be cleared at the final stage. The convention culminated with the FICCI-Frames Excellence awards. Rajkumar Hirani`s Three Idiots was awarded Most Successful Film of the Year with Hirani receiving the award for the Best Director of the Year. R Balki`s Paa swept the Best Actor categories with Amitabh Bachchan winning the Best Actor of the Year – Male award for his portrayal of a 12-year-old Auro, afflicted by progeria (rapid ageing in children). Actress Vidya Balan, was named Best Actor of the Year – Female for her role as Auro`s mother. Shah Rukh Khan was named as Global Entertainer of the Year while composer A R Rahman was presented with the Global Icon of the Year award in recognition of his musical creations. Ranbir Kapoor won the Best Entertainer award; Pritam Chakraborty was presented the Best Music Director award for his work in Love Aaj Kal. The television industry had its share of accolades with Colors recognized as the Most Successful TV Channel of the Year and Zee TV reality dance show Dance India Dance declared the Most Successful Non-Fiction Show of the Year. Daily soap Uttaran was named the Most Successful Drama Series of the Year, actor Ayub Khan scored the Best Actor of the Year, TV, Male and Ulka Gupta of Jhansi Ki Rani received the Best Actor of the Year, TV, Female. —————————————————————— FICCI BEST ANIMATION FRAMES AWARDS 2010 One of the largest and most technically advanced visual effects facilities in Asia, Prime Focus, took two awards at the prestigious FICCI Best Animation Frames Awards 2010. Prime Focus was awarded the Special Jury Award for Chandani Chowk to China (CC2C) and VFX Shot of the Year for Tum Mile. Merzin Tavaria, chief creative director, Prime Focus and VFX supervisor on CC2C and Tum Mile said, ”We are extremely honoured to have been associated and to have contributed to the success of Chandani Chowk to China and Tum Mile with our visual effects. I would like to thank FICCI BAF and the makers of the film for trusting our creative expertise. In the years to come, we will continue to strive to push the boundaries of visual entertainment.” For the fi lm Chandani Chowk to China, Prime Focus delivered an array of post services and over 1,000 visual effects shots. Co-produced by Warner Bros, the fi lm notched some notable firsts including the first Bollywood fi lm to be distributed by Warner Bros and the first Indian production to be shot in China. In fact, Chandani Chowk to China is the biggest internationally distributed film in the history of Indian cinema. The movie was worked on by a team of 150 artists led by VFX supervisor, Reupal Rawal under the creative supervision of Tavaria. The project was spread across India over a two month time frame, with shots and sequences delivered simultaneously by Prime Focus artists at facilities in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Goa. “Chandani Chowk to China required a lot of planning to achieve the quality of visual effects within the time frame. It feels good to be appreciated for ones effort,” said Rawal. Prime Focus team for Tum Mile comprised of 79 creative professionals, led by VFX supervisor Ritesh (Ricky) Aggarwal, also under the creative guidance of Tavaria. The film required Prime Focus to recreate the July 2005 Mumbai floods and realistically project it with effective live-action effects, complete CG shots, compositing, matte painting, etc. “We are thrilled to receive not one but two awards at this year’s FICCI BAF. It was quite a challenge for us to create the infamous Mumbai floods scenario for Tum Mile. This recognition is a result of the joint effort of the entire Prime Focus team and the makers of Tum Mile,” said Aggarwal. Prime Focus was also nominated under VFX in a Commercial category for its work on the Coffy Bite commercial.