FICCI Frames 2011 (Days 1 and 2)

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Over a period of three days, March 23-25, the FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) FRAMES 2011 convention took place. Held annually in Mumbai to give a common platform for the industry bigwigs from various strata’s of cinema, television, radio, print, gaming, to come together and examine the good, bad and ugly of the Media and Entertainment (M&E) sector. Touted as the best place to network, meet, share ideas with industry veterans of national as well as international acclaim, the conference also serves as an induction programme for young students and those who wish to get started in the field. It is a fabulous opportunity for those just starting out because of the invaluable lessons and all the amazing discussions they get to be a part of during various sessions held throughout the convention.

Yash Chopra, chairman of the FICCI entertainment committee, and co-chairman, Karan Johar, were at the top of proceedings, guiding the speakers, being amicable hosts to invitees, moderating sessions and being in attendance through most part of the event. The event also saw ample support from Bollywood stars, technical experts who were invited to be part of panel in some sessions or were seen mingling among the audiences in some others. All three days were packed to the brim with seminars, discussions and workshops that began as early as 9am and went on till 5pm. As Bollyspice writers, we were invited to be part of media representation. Since the three days is so packed with choices of fabulous sessions we had to pick and choose what we were able to cover. Here’s a summary of the key points from the sessions that we attended as well as our overall experience at the event.

Day 1 commenced with a welcome address by Yash Chopra, speech by Karan Johar, lighting of the lamp by actress Anushka Sharma and keynote addresses by other dignitaries South-Indian superstar Kamal Hassan, James Murdoch (Chairman and Chief Executive- News Corporation, Europe and Asia), Harsh Mariwala (President – FICCI), Stewart Beck (High Commission of Canada to India and Bhutan), Aroon Purie (India Today), Sachin Pilot (Union Minister of State for Communications and IT), Charles Darby (founder of visual effects house, EyeQube Studios, Mumbai). The key discussions on Day 1 revolved around the need for digitization of content to ensure rise in size of India’s M&E sector.

The session of ‘Film Marketing’ comprised of a panel of Siddharth Roy Kapur (CEO, Motion Pictures, UTV) Shailesh Rao (head, media and platform, Japan and Asia-Pacific, Google) and Michael E Ward (film producer). Colin Burrows (MD, Specialtreats Production Company) moderated the session. Siddharth raised concern of an unorganized module of international distribution beyond South Asian regions. The panel also discussed the immense usage of, internet piracy and promotion of content online.

Day 2 began with a session on ‘Innovative Ways to Fund the Entertainment Business’ in an attempt to dissect the financing issues faced by the M&E sector, which is currently the biggest concern of individual and small-budget filmmakers.

In the next session on ‘The Business of Film-Making’, Filmmaker Shyam Benegal, screenplay writer Shibani Bathija (My Name is Khan), Anjum Rajabali (Raajneeti), Ramesh Sippy shed light on the blend of factors that were required to make a good film. The panel was of a unanimous opinion that there was no formula to it, but a good screenplay backed by a good director and cast, is half the battle won.

Another engaging session of the day on ‘Market Research for Indian Cinema: Gut feel vs Market Realities’ also saw a packed house. Moderated by Vivek Krishnani (Head- Distribution, Marketing and Syndication at Fox Star Studios) the panel had Siddharth Roy Kapur (CEO- UTV Motion Pictures), Sidhartha M Jain (CEO, iRock), Jaideep Sahni (writer Chak De India, Khosla Ka Ghosla), filmmaker Sudhir Mishra, Ram Mirchandani (Chief Creative Officer- Eros International) and Mr. Farshad Family (MD of Nielsen Media, India). The main points from the discussion were that though market research wasn’t a new trend, it does not always work. Jaideep added that he did not believe audiences could decide how a film is based on a rough draft. Farshad asserted that though research doesn’t give definitive solutions, it does provide guidance.

However, the winner of the day was David Freeman’s scriptwriting workshop and workshop on ’11 techniques that make Pixar films successful’, which delegates that were in on the session said was a great interactive learning experience. The Day concluded with Best Animated Frame (BAF) Awards where Indian animation, gaming and VFX companies carried back home the lion’s share of 10 of the 16 BAF’s. Unfortunately, the day that did begin with a great jumpstart didn’t see a huge turnout towards the end due to the India-Australia quarter-finals being played on the day.

Be sure and also check out our report on day 3, plus all the photos and videos!

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