India a strong film market: French studio

Mumbai, Oct 28 (IANS) A leading French production house, Studio Canal, sees India as a potential hub for international films and believes it is essential to create awareness about Indian films abroad.

‘It’s actually a very nice discovery. I decided to travel to India because the Mumbai film festival (MAMI International Film Festival) invited us,’ Rodolphe Buet, executive vice president, international distribution and new business of Studio Canal, told IANS.

‘I thought it’s a great idea to combine both film festival and film market to allow people to meet each other and create some business link,’ said Rodolphe, who is here for the the first time.

He is highly optimistic about the relationship developing between India and European production companies and hopes Indian companies would soon start investing in Hollywood productions.

‘I think Europe, France and India are very strong film markets and have film lovers. Companies like Reliance have invested a lot. I think their international production will create substantial revenue in the future.

‘So, considering the level of relationship we are developing, in the coming weeks some huge Indian companies will invest in European or Hollywood productions that we are investing in,’ said Rodolphe.

‘The other reason of my trip was trying to understand the growth of this market and meet the executives involved with the movie and television industry as we are considering, from the European point of view, that India would be one of the major and leading markets in the coming year,’ he added.

MAMI is an initiative of Reliance Big Entertainment that is also investing in Hollywood projects.

Studio Canal, based in France, is a production and distribution company that owns one of the third-largest film libraries in the world. Started in 1988, it is now a $600-million company.

‘At this stage buying or selling doesn’t mean a lot. At this moment, we are trying to make people understand our library, our production and to make a relation. The market of Indian movies in rural Europe is limited, except in the UK because in the UK there is a huge Indian community. So the main target is to identify the movies that will match the liking of the European audience. We made an agreement with Reliance to distribute some of their movies,’ Rodolphe said.

He maintains he tried to understand the production of Indian films before striking any deal with Indian production houses.

‘I met several. I tried to understand the production level – what kind of film will make sense for a European audience.

‘I think what we really need to achieve first is some kind of awareness about Indian films and create some success to make the exhibitor and the press understand India has a very big film industry that produces good movies. They have to discover this thing. We will try to go step by step to secure some success,’ said the 47-year-old.

Asked if he could zero in on any potential deal, he said: ‘I met global networks and they are going to open a section for international movies. They are a potential deal for us.’

Some offerings from Studio Canal include ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’, ‘Basic Instinct’, ‘Cliffhanger’, Under Siege’ and ‘Free Willy’.

Talking about the company, he said: ‘We started Studio Canal 22 years ago in France and now we operate in the UK and Germany as well. Over the years, we have got a very strong library dealing with major production companies. It’s a $600 million company and producing all over the world,’ said Rodolphe.

‘Our company is investing not only in Europe but also in Hollywood projects. We invested in the remake of ‘Cliff Hanger’ and other thrillers and comedies. Studio Canal is involved with local and international productions and because of our production level we can find potential partners in huge markets such as India,’ he added.

(Dibyojyoti Baksi can be contacted at

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