MPAA's Chris Dodd addresses Indian conference

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Senator Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), delivered the keynote address at India’s 2012 FICCI Frames (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) in Mumbai, India, on March 14.

During a glittering occasion attended by Bollywood celebrities, CEOs of entertainment companies, senior government dignitaries and the media, Dodd emphasized the need for collaboration and cross-pollination of knowledge, technology and talent between two of the world’s largest film communities, Hollywood and India.

“I am honored to be here to celebrate with all of you something else that unites our two countries: movies. Like America, India is a nation where movies matter. And as in America, movies matter not only to the richness of your culture but to the vibrancy of your economy and the prosperity of the Indian middle class,” Dodd observed.

Commending India for the rapid evolution of its cinema industry, he added, “Two years ago, the Indian film industry was a US$3.2 billion industry. Two years from now, in 2014, it is estimated to exceed US$5 billion, which is incredible. The industry contributes an estimated US$645 million to the Indian economy each year and supports an estimated 1.8 million jobs. As the trade body for the Hollywood entertainment industry, MPAA could not be more delighted.”

Also in attendance at FICCI Frames were members of the governing body of the L.A. India Film Council, which was set up in 2010 as part of a declaration between the city of Los Angeles and the Indian film industry. The initiative aims to explore mutual opportunities in fostering and encouraging partnerships between the two influential film industries.

"Without a body like this, people may get connected with the wrong people. A body like this can help and support those who seek guidance," says actor and producer Anil Kapoor.
The Council focuses on developing and strengthening motion picture production, distribution, technology, content protection and commercial cooperation between the two filmmaking communities. Members of the Council’s governing body are comprised of powerful film guilds, government organizations, industry experts and leading companies in the areas of visual effects, animation and post-production from both Los Angeles and India.

In his address, Senator Dodd also drew attention to the threat of content theft to the industry. “Content theft threatens the health of both of our industries and the prospects for future success. According to a report by Ernst & Young, movie theft costs the Indian film industry nearly a billion dollars each year and threatens more than half a million Indian jobs. I bring this up not to cast a shadow on your success, but rather to invite you to join us in common purpose. Content theft is a global problem and we must have a global commitment to solving it.”

Dodd continued, "This is an important opportunity for the Indian government to move forward with strong protections against online theft. We encourage the Indian film industry to reject as we have the false argument that you cannot be pro-technology and pro-copyright at the same time and we applaud India's aggressive plans for broadband and cable TV digitization.”

In recent years, the Indian film industry has globalized its reach as producers have improved the international marketability of their films by building partnerships with international domain experts. More producers in India are considering foreign locales to shoot their films. Previous big-budget Indian productions filmed in Los Angeles include Kites (2010), My Name Is Khan (2010), Kambakkht Ishq (2009), Kaante (2002) and Pardes (1997).

"Hollywood has pretty brave filmmakers who have consistently raised the bar. The intermingling of both countries could be a fantastic opportunity to learn and grow," said filmmaker and producer Mahesh Bhatt.

Indian investment in Hollywood has also been steadily increasing, most notably with Indian entertainment conglomerate Reliance Entertainment’s (ADAG) acquisition of DreamWorks and the launch of YRF Entertainment in Los Angeles.

Golden Screen Introduces GSC Lite
Golden Screen Cinemas Sdn Bhd (GSC), the leading cinema exhibitor and distributor in Malaysia, introduced a new GSC brand, GSC Lite, with the opening of its first six-screen cinema in the Mentakab Star Mall in Star City, Mentakab on March 15.

GSC Lite embodies GSC’s cinema experience in smaller market centers without compromising the effects of big-screen and digital sound halls similar to those available in larger GSC multiplex cinemas. This approach allows GSC Lite’s customers to enjoy the cinema-going experience at competitive pricing.

Presently, GSC has 24 cinemas with 197 screens, including 60 digital screens throughout Malaysia. As part of GSC’s 25th-anniversary celebrations this year, an additional six multiplexes are planned to open by the end of 2012.

Indonesian Reality Show Comes to Korea

Here is an unusual story; An Indonesian TV reality program is shooting in South Korea. “Galaxy Superstar” started filming in Seoul around March 16.

The “survival audition” program was co-developed by Indonesia’s YS-Media and Korean content group CNW1. The show’s goal is to select talented Indonesians dreaming to become future stars of I-Pop (Indonesian Pop) and send them to Korea, where they have to go through the K-Pop star-training system.

Casting for the program began on Feb. 19 and traveled to five cities all over Indonesia. Eleven candidates out of 10,000 participants were selected to participate in the series. Candidates will go though six months of vocal and choreography training K-Pop-style as their numbers narrow each week.

K-Pop celebrities' composer/producer Do Hoon Kim from Korea’s largest music talent agency Rainbow Bridge and music producer Shinsadong Tiger (aka Ho Yang Lee) will mentor the contestants.

The show, broadcast on Indonesia’s major private broadcaster Indosiar, will finish up in Indonesia with the release of an album by the surviving candidate.

The Seoul Film Commission is providing cash incentives to the Indonesian production during their shoot in Korea. This is the first time an Indonesian production company has used Korea as an off-shore location.

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