Brand Ambassador Vidya Balan at the Indian Film Festival of Melburne Conference (IFFM)

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vidyabalaiffm1The Victorian Coalition Government will extend its support for the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne by one year, reinforcing the strong bond that exists between the Victorian and Indian screen industries. Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business Louise Asher announced in Mumbai that Mind Blowing Films would be engaged to continue delivery of the festival until 2015.

“I am pleased to announce, on the Victorian Government’s fifth large scale trade mission to India, that the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne will again offer Victorian audiences the diversity and breadth of culture of Indian cinema in 2014 and 2015,” Ms Asher said.

“I am delighted to also announce that Indian film star Vidya Balan will return as the Festival’s Ambassador”, Ms Asher said.

Ms Balan said she was delighted to be back as the Brand Ambassador for the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne. “The festival is close to my heart as it provides a perfect platform for young upcoming film makers and showcases the best of films not only from India but also our neighbouring countries.

“I am very excited about the festival now having a competitive edge with the 4 awards that have been announced. It is always very gratifying to get recognition and appreciation for our work and to have that from a foreign audience in a foreign country makes it all the more special,” Ms Balan said.

Festival Director, Mitu Bhowmick Lange welcomed the appointment. “We are delighted to welcome the transcendent Vidya Balan back as our Festival Ambassador for IFFM 2014. With IFFM becoming a competitive festival from next year, we look forward to widening the scope and reach of the festival, and showcasing a vibrant program for 2014,” Ms Lange said.

Ms Asher said the Festival hosts prominent Indian filmmakers and screen professionals and provides an interactive program of master classes. “This promotes Victoria as an international screen production destination and creates great opportunities for Victorian screen practitioners. As well, the Festival will also see the introduction of four new awards: People’s Choice; Best Direction; Best Performance; and Best Film – as a way to acknowledge the Festival’s standout films.

“I congratulate Mind Blowing Films on their great work with the Festival and I am sure the next two years of the Festival will continue to delight Victorian lovers of Indian culture and cinema.

“Victoria has long been at the forefront of Australia’s screen industry, both creatively and technically, while India’s vibrant film industry – the biggest in the world – captures the energy, diversity and size of the nation.

“The trade missions we have brought to India, including two Super Trade Missions and one led by a Victorian Premier, highlight Victoria’s commitment to our India Engagement Strategy.

“The Strategy aims to strengthen existing links with India and build new ones at the business level, the institutional level and the cultural level. One effective way of doing that is through film.

“Beyond the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, the Victorian Government looks forward to the future realisation of film and television production currently being developed through the Government’s Victoria-India Co-production initiative.

“Such projects play a big part in both cultural and business connections, which is why the Victorian Government is committed to growing our screen industry and growing the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne,” Ms Asher said.

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