Hollywood & Bollywood ink cooperation pact to encourage joint film production

MUMBAI: After several years of co-productions and joint investment, the two most prominent global film industries came together late last night for the signing of an historic declaration between the city of Los Angeles and the Indian film industry at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, CA.

As part of the declaration, the city of Los Angeles and the Indian film industry, represented by the Film and Television Producers Guild of India and the Film Federation of India, agree to develop and strengthen motion picture production, distribution, technology, content protection and commercial cooperation between the two filmmaking communities. The two parties also support the creation of the Los Angeles-India Film Council to increase Indian film production in Los Angeles.

Speaking at the event, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said, “This declaration reinforces our city’s commitment to attracting international production. In the past year, we have already seen Hindi movies such as My Name Is Khan and Kites filmed in Los Angeles, and we enthusiastically welcome further Indian production in Los Angeles.”

Mayor Villaraigosa was joined by California Film Commissioner Amy Lemisch, Paramount Pictures CEO Brad Grey, Motion Picture Association Asia Pacific president Mike Ellis, and Motion Picture Association India managing director Rajiv Dalal, along with filmmaker Bobby Bedi, Tamil producer and Film Federation of India President L. Suresh, and representatives from Reliance BIG Entertainment and UTV Motion Pictures.

Dalal said, “More than 2.4 million people in America and 1.8 million people in India work in the motion picture and television industry. We look forward to continued commercial cooperation with the U.S. film industry on joint investment and co-productions, which will only increase economic development and job growth in both nations.”

Ellis added, “Both India and America have a shared love for film, and both are known for their prominent film industries. Over the past several years, collaboration with the Indian film industry has become increasingly prominent. Numerous co-productions and joint investment in both film and television demonstrate a shared commitment to expand commercially and culturally.”

Paramount Pictures’ Grey said, “Paramount is honored to host these important discussions, which usher in a new era of strategic partnership. We hope this groundbreaking collaboration will yield more co-productions and alliances, greater films and a stronger global film industry."

The Indian delegation came to Los Angeles for a two day summit with the Hollywood studios, California officials, and other film related companies to discuss economic development and collaboration.

Bedi said, “Hollywood and Bollywood are two industries that are economically robust and represent significant economic and cultural interests of their respective countries. India has always held a fascination for Hollywood, and this agreement pulls us closer together with the aim of sharing ideas and best practices on domestic and international film production. We look forward to working with the City of Los Angeles to increase Indian production here.”

Producer Suresh Laxmanan asserted, “In addition to the Hindi film industry, the southern and regional Indian film industries also welcome the opportunity to work hand and hand with Hollywood. Already we have seen significant collaboration in technology between Hollywood and South India, and we will soon see collaborations in production.”

This is the second major step towards economic development and cooperation between Hollywood and the Indian film industry this year. In March, the two industries came together in Mumbai to launch the Alliance Against Copyright Theft (AACT), a Bollywood-Hollywood content protection coalition in India.

Other joint ventures and co-productions between individual Hollywood studios and Indian production houses over the past several years include My Name is Khan (2010), Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge (2010), Lahore (2010), Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hain (2010), Khichdi (2010), We Are Family (2010), Do Dooni Chaar (2010), Chandni Chowk To China (2009), Quick Gun Murugan (2009), Raaz – The Mystery Continues (2009), Roadside Romeo (2008), Saas Bahu Aur Sensex (2008) and Saawariya (2007). Several films, such as Zokkomon and Dum Maro Dum, are also slated for 2011. Indian investment in Hollywood has been steadily increasing, most notably with Indian entertainment conglomerate Reliance’s production and distribution deal with Dreamworks SKG.

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