Million-dollar shine on Indo-Australian film ties
From zero to a multimillion-dollar industry annually over six years - that's the success being claimed by Indian-Australian film links.
It started with just a few major Indian films shooting at Australian locations. But industry sources say by now more than 130 Indian feature films, TV series and TV commercials have used Australian locations and facilities.
"Key Australian film crews are regularly being commissioned to work on projects in India as well," said Anupam Sharma, chairman of the Australia India Films Arts Media and Entertainment (FAME) Council.
After taking part in the just concluded 35th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa, Sharma said the main reason for growing film links was the "near perfect organisational support" provided by the Australian government through a number of its agencies.
Australia sees itself as being "very proactive in promoting film links with other countries".
In 2003 film ties got a boost with the setting up of the Australia-India FAME Council as a branch of the Australia India Business Council.
Ten Australian projects relating to India - documentaries, live shows and feature films - were announced that would get financial support from government agencies.
Indian audiences have encountered Australian cinema through a film package in 2002 that was screened in four Indian cities.
At the latest IFFI, two films from Australia featured in the Cinema Of The World section, while the FAME Council also supported five more films in the Raw Edge-Australia section.
FACT (Film and Casting Temple), an international production, casting and consultancy firm based at Fox Studios in Sydney, is working to network film interests in many cities of Australia and in Mumbai.
FACT says it has become a leading player in the international film industry, having completed "more than 100 projects between India and Australia" over the past six years.
FACT announced at the just-concluded IFFI in Goa that its clients include Yash Raj Films, Rakesh Roshan, Feroz Khan, Harry Baweja, Vikram Bhatt, Sony, Excel Entertainment, Arts Gallery of New South Wales, Channel 7, Sidney City and other government bodies in Australia.
"Utilising the success of documentaries internationally in recent years, these projects narrate Australian and Indian stories that travel globally," said a FACT statement.
FACT-linked work includes "Bollywood Downunder", "Almost Famous-Deon's Story", and "Bollywood Bazaar", which is currently in development with financial assistance from the NSW Film and Television Office.
Feature films it is involved with include a cross-cultural feature entitled "The Film", and "An Indian Summer", the story of an Australian boy in India in 1975.