The 70th edition of Cannes Film Festival is set for a curtain raiser in less than 48 hours; the stories that would keep an Indian film aficionado hooked are few but relevant.
India’s presence in the upcoming Cannes Film Festival is more influential in terms of the delegation than official participation, to say the least. As the 70th edition opens on May 17, the India Pavilion at the French Riviera will once again come under the National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC).
Indian cinema forces presence at Cannes
There are no Indian films in the official selection and even the parallel sections such as the Director’s Fortnight or the Critic’s Week have shown no interest in Indian films this year. No Indian is on the festival’s jury panel as well. Payal Kapadia’s short film, Afternoon Clouds remains the only respite as an entry to the Cinefondation section.
Led by Information and Broadcasting minister, M Venkaiah Naidu a delegation from India was expected to be present at the India Pavilion and the Cannes Film Market. Albeit the consecutive bad run of Indian cinema at the Cannes Film Festival, the Indian film industry seems to be targeting the world’s biggest film industry meet to capitalise on whatever is left in terms of glory and glamour.
With a sheer intent to get a proper visibility in the Film Market, the Indian film producers, directors and actors flying to France are targeting potential buyers while they screen their works in the Market in presence of national and international media.
Poor run continues – but why?
While a few would argue the dearth of content in Indian cinema that keeps it away from the official selection categories, the Indian delegation perceives the Market screening effective.
Cannes Film Festival has always been identified for the human emotional content coming from small places that brings quintessential stories live on screen. While Indian films in the past have established its signature mark, the present scheme of things in the Indian film industry portrays an unfair image of the competence that an Indian storyteller might command.
In 2016, there were no films from the country in the official selection. The documentary film, The Cinema Travellers filled a slot in the Cannes Classics section, which celebrated film heritage, while Anurag Kashyap’s Raman Raghav 2.0 was screened as part of the Directors’ Fortnight section. The last time an Indian feature film was part of the official selection at Cannes was in 2015 when Chauthi Koot by Gurvinder Singh and Masaan by Neeraj Ghaywan were part of Un Certain Regard.
Business at Cannes has always been a struggling affair for independent filmmakers from India. While some of them delved into their personal resources, the few lucky ones have found favour by lobbying with the influencers and yet others come here due to the enlightened establishment within the region.
Rima Das will be there at Cannes this year and her second film Village Rockstars; will be part of the ‘Hong Kong goes to Cannes’ collection. Earlier, in November 2016 Rima’s film was selected for mentoring at the NFDC Film Bazaar, in Goa. She was at Cannes in 2016 with her maiden film Antardrishti (Man with Binoculars) which she is all set to release back home in India when she returns.
While the theory of subjective cinema fit for Cannes takes a quick rest, the absence of entries from India as well as China is perceived as ‘abnormal’. In a press statement cited by a national daily, French critic Jean-Michel Frodon said, “I can’t believe there was nothing from the two leading film-making countries worthy to be screened at Cannes.” Calling it “exaggerated presence” of French films and co-productions, Frodon thinks that Cannes might lose its international outlook by concentrating too much on films that compulsively have a French connect.
FICCI meet at Cannes
The Federation of Indian chambers of commerce & industry (FICCI) announced that in a joint effort with the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India and Service Export Promotion Council (SEPC) is organising a Buyer Seller meet, to be held during May 18-22, 2017 at J W Marriott, Cannes, France.
The main objective of organising this participation is to provide a platform for Indian media and entertainment industry to showcase their products and services, strength and capabilities. Moreover, the participation will also help to further the image of ‘Brand India’. The idea is to showcase the strength of Indian Media and Entertainment sector at such a big platform through everybody’s efforts.
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