2nd Indo-French Professional Meetings of the Film & Television Industry [fr]

French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian conferred French honour on renowned producer Ashok Amritraj at the 2nd Indo-French Professional Meetings of the Film and Television Industry.

Mumbai, 14 December 2018

Following its successful launch at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, the Embassy of France in India organised the second round of Indo-French professional meetings for the Film and Television Industry on 13 - 14 December, 2018, in Mumbai.

In a boost to Indo-French ties in this sector, the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, on a two-day visit to India, presided over the closing ceremony of the meetings. He announced the institution of a special fund to encourage Indo-French co-productions and exchanges.

On this occasion, Minister Le Drian conferred the French honour of Knight of the National Order of Merit on renowned producer Ashok Amritraj, Chairman and CEO - Hyde Park Entertainment Group, during a reception on Friday, 14th December 2018.

Noted personalities from the industry, including Kangana Ranaut, Kalki Koechlin, Kajal Agrawal, Diana Penty, Esha Gupta, Parul Yadav, Elli Aviram and Shibani Dandekar, were present at the event.

Over two days, French entities specialising in television, film and tourism promotion, Unifrance, TV France International, Film France and Atout France, as well as twelve prominent French studios and production companies met with their Indian counterparts in Mumbai. Major Indian channels and Video-on-Demand platforms took part in the film and TV programme market during this professional event. The French side presented its wide-ranging catalogue of products in a variety of formats – including animation, documentary and fiction – to be broadcast or adapted for the Indian audience.

Further, Indian producers had the opportunity to discuss with major French stakeholders who facilitate foreign film shoots in France. They were informed about France’s unique variety of locales, the cutting-edge technological skills available in France, as well as the financial benefits of filming there. The meets are expected to lead to concrete projects and step up co-production initiatives between France and India.

France and India are key global players in the film and television industry: while India is ranked first for film production, France is ranked second in terms of the highest audiovisual programme export rate.

The French Media and Entertainment Sector: some facts and figures

  • France offers a 30% Tax Rebate for foreign productions on its territory
  • France hosted 13667 days of film shoots last year
  • 2764 French film were released all over the world in 2017
  • 2017 international box office earnings were 547 million USD
  • France is ranked a global 2nd as content exporter
  • International sales of TV programmes doubled in 10 years to 205 million euros in 2017
  • Animation, the leading genre abroad, garnered 76 million euros in sales
  • Sale in fiction amounted to 64 million euros, a 28% rise
  • Documentary sale rose to 36 million euros

Ordre national du Mérite (National Order of Merit)

This French government distinction was instituted in 1963 by General Charles de Gaulle. It is awarded for distinguished services rendered in public, civil, military posts, or a private profession in France and across the world.

2nd Indo-French Professional Meetings of the Film & Television Industry - Closing Address of H.E. Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs

(Check against delivery)

Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra,
Mr Ambassador,
Madam Consul General,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Mr Federator of French Cultural and Creative Industry Exports, dear Jean-Noël Tronc,
Mr President of TVFI [dear Hervé Michel],
Madam Director General of Unifrance [dear Isabelle Giordano],
Madam Director General of Film France [dear Valérie Lépine-Karnik],
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends,

I am delighted to be amongst you this evening and see such a great turnout. It is a sign that the Second Indo-French Professional Meetings of the Film, Television and Tourism Industries have been crowned with the success they deserve.

Our two great nations share a very long history. Few are aware of this, but cinema forms part of it: on 7th July 1896, the people of Mumbai discovered the first films of the Lumière brothers with great fascination. Since then, your city has ceaselessly brought the magic of the seventh art to life, becoming the cradle of the Hindi film industry and fascinating, in turn, the French public. In the language of the Lumière brothers, I think this is called, “the sprinkler sprayed”!

The Indian and French film industries have often crossed paths, and sometimes fused together. The great artistic collaboration between Satyajit Ray and Jean Renoir from 1949; the successful screening of Devdas at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002, which helped France discover your immense talent, dear Mrs Rai Bachchan; the numerous films that are inspired from each other’s countries, such as Queen, Tamasha, Befikre, Un plus Une and Maya – to name but a few – are all highlights of this shared history.

If our two countries are recognized across the world as two chosen lands for cinema, it is because France and India have the same generosity of sharing these rich and open cultures that are our pride. I think that this very generosity is the key of the miracle through which our respective film industries are able to combine artistic excellence with box office success.

India, the world’s top producer of films, France, the world’s second highest exporter, have everything required to succeed together.

Over the past two days, this dedicated Indo-French film and television market has enabled holding particularly fruitful meetings and discussions. I saw this for myself earlier in the afternoon. I therefore warmly thank Unifrance and TVFI, the two French organisations that promote motion picture exports, for having brought together the professionals of our two countries and made these meetings a showcase of opportunities available to us.

I firmly believe that today, if we join forces, we have everything needed to gain greater visibility while respecting our identities, which give our films their richness. I believe that the time has come for us to cross yet another landmark in our film ties. It is the very reason for my presence in Mumbai.

I would like suggest a few avenues to boost our collaboration and ensure that we have the requisite resources for meeting our ambitions.

  • 1) First, I would urge you to opt for Indo-French co-productions, a path that many amongst you have already taken.

I firmly believe that this is the best way to consolidate the ties that link our respective film industries. I am therefore thrilled to announce the launch of the first Indo-French Fund for developing co-productions. Thanks to the support of CinéFrance – whose Director General, Julien Déris, I would like to greet – and Mr Ashok Amritraj, this fund will enable French and Indian scriptwriters to produce four-handed screenplays. The names of the winners will be announced during the next Cannes Film Festival.

  • 2) What I have also come to say this evening is that France, a country of cinema, is also a country where you can shoot your films. Dear Indian friends, I would encourage you to do so.

This is a subject that is particularly close to my heart, as landscapes, language and culture are shown through a film. These discoveries can kindle the desire to travel, to learn and explore things firsthand, to build new bridges between our two countries. Our ambition, through cinema, is to enhance the attractiveness of our capital as well as other regions in the eyes of Indian tourists. Each year, they come in greater numbers to visit our country. We would like to cross the million mark.

As you know, over the last few years, France has made significant efforts to highlight its assets, from the beauty of its landscapes to the excellence of its film technicians. Significant progress has already been made: we have eased people’s circulation and hiked the film tax rebate. This is already a lot. But I feel that we should do even better, by making you a clear and comprehensive offer to come and film your movies in France.

In very concrete terms: with this new prospect, we wish to slash costs for Indian productions in France. This is clearly a very important criterion. Atout France will incentivize our tourism industry professionals, who know that they all stand to gain if France hosts more film shoots on its territories, in offering you attractive rates, even complete partnerships for the transport, accommodation and meals of your crews. Film France, for its part, will place its expertise at your disposal by facilitating your exchanges with the French film industry and selecting the technical crew you need. The issue, you understand, is to bring together the film and tourism industries closer to offer you integrated solutions. And in this regard, I am delighted that the two organisations I have just mentioned, Atout France and Film France, are working on finalizing an ambitious agreement to this end.

The French Institute will remain your special point of contact in India. But once the project is initiated, Atout France will select the French partners for the film, whether they are local government bodies or private partners. Thus, for each project we will be able to recreate the synergy that enabled us to host the filming of Befikre in the best conditions in 2016. Atout France, the City of Paris and the major French tourism organisations had then worked hand in hand for the project.

To translate this new ambition into reality, I am delighted to announce to you the establishment of a “French Committee for Indian Cinema”, which will gather all the stakeholders concerned: Atout France, Film France, as well as Unifrance, TVI and Business France. Thanks to this Committee, which will be constituted in the coming weeks, we expect to double the number of Indian film shootings in France by 2022. It will organise another trip to France for Indian cinema professionals in 2019.

  • Lastly, I am very pleased to announce another important measure in our policy for promoting filming in France. An “Observatory for economic outcomes of filming in France” will be set up in the spring of 2019. This Observatory, which will be supported by Atout France and Film France in coordination with my Ministry, will carry out impact assessments, namely on visits to the locales showcased by films or serials, which will objectively present the beneficial effects of filming in our cities and countryside.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

Cinema has always brought France and India closer. This soirée shows that we share the desire to be even more closely associated! Together, we can do it!

And to paraphrase filmmakers, “Action!”

Thank you.

Ashok Amritraj conferred Knight of the National Order of Merit - Address of H.E. Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs

(Check against delivery)

Dear Ashok Amritraj,

We have gathered here this evening to express how grateful France is for your work on cinema and culture for over 30 years. Everyone here should take a moment to think about this mind-boggling statistics: thanks to you, more than a 100 films have seen the light of day.

Yet, your early years presaged a quite different career, because you became world-famous by dint of your talent as a tennis player. But it was your love of cinema that won out and very swiftly you became a producer.

As the Chairman and CEO of Hyde Park Entertainment Group, you produce, finance and distribute feature films as well as television programmes and digital content. With numerous box office hits and critically acclaimed productions under your belt, including “99 Homes” and many others, you were named “Producer of the Decade” by the Spirit of India Foundation.

What is extremely precious in our eyes is your passionate commitment to bringing together the Indian and French film industries. Your contribution to our reflection on the challenges to and tools needed for developing Indo-French projects is invaluable. Through your aid, along with French investors, to instituting a Fund supporting scriptwriting for Indo-French productions, you will foster the nurture of talents that will tomorrow fly the flags of our respective film industries, which, thanks to them – and, therefore, you – will sometimes be one and the same.

In your remarkable career, which has led you from Wimbledon to the Oscars Academy, there is much to amazed and impressed by.

But what has truly compelled our respect is your attachment to promoting equal access to the global public goods of humankind, particularly, education. You have done so, to begin with, as a producer of the programme, “Chance of a Lifetime”, in which you pitted aspiring filmmakers from across the world against each other for making short films on the major challenges of our times. You continue to do this in your capacity as a UN Goodwill Ambassador in India for attaining sustainable development goals (SDGs)

Dear Ashok Amritaj,

For all these achievements, which you have used as levers to make the world a better place, I am delighted and proud to name you Knight in the National Order of Merit.

Last modified on 15/12/2018

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