44th edition 21 January - 1 February 2015

Filmbazaar Goa, India

November 24th-26th, 2009

It’s the second year that our CineMart and Hubert Bals Fund collaborate with the Filmbazaar in Goa, India and the honour of reading and selecting projects during its third edition falls on me this time. Needless to say, I am looking forward to going back to India for the second time in my life, after my first visit to Kolkata IFF in 2004.

I realise, when I look around me at the passengers in the plane departing from Zurich, that I seem to be the only passenger with a working goal in Goa. I’m the only crazy one carrying a laptop instead of nice holiday books, hats and clothes in happy colours. The curious and suspicious eyes of my fellow passengers follow me each time I make a move in the plane.

Goa with its enormous green coverage, many palm trees and high humidity reminds me more of Suriname than Kolkata. The luxury Mariott hotel where the Filmbazaar takes place is then a resort of real tranquility: a cool and professional environment where we spend the next three days working intensively. Here I meet in person the organizers from the National Film Development Corporation Ltd., managing director Nina Lath Gupta and Dy Manager Raja Chhinhal for the first time after weeks of corresponding. Nice to meet you!

The enormous jetlag (I really am not a long-distance traveller) causes a slow start for me but once I get into the rhythm of meeting the present filmmakers and talking about their projects, I really start to enjoy the pleasure of it. Talking to filmmakers is always so fulfilling and creative for me! There are ten feature film projects that I have to read and discuss in order to find one of them that is the most suitable for the Hubert Bals Fund Award. I also meet Indian filmmakers and see their works-in-progress, as well as some films that are showing at International Film Festival of India, organized alongside the Filmbazaar. The second task that I have is to advise Nina Lath Gupta in her selection of four novice film producers who will then be invited to our Rotterdam Lab during the IFFR 2010 to present their film projects, gain experience, meet potential co-producers and more.

It’s getting dark quite early here and so our one-to-one meetings cannot last longer than 5:30 pm but this is also good, as later on in the evening, during a few cocktails or dinners I have the opportunity to meet other international colleagues and hear about their work here. It surprises me how various and intensive the  programmes are here - Screenwriters Lab led by my IFFR ex-colleague and Binger Filmlab’s director Ido Abram and its creative director Marten Rabats, then Work-In-Progress Lab with the UK’s leading critic Derek Malcom and the UK producer Olivia Stewart, and an initiative under the title Primexchange where Indian and European projects are trying to get international co-operation with many domestic and international professionals present like MPM’s Juliette Lepoutre, Christian Jeune from Cannes Film Festival, or the Match Factory’s Gabor Greiner and more.

After three days of creatively exchanging thoughts and seeing a lot of material, I am full of impressions: Vipin Vijay’s experimental and contemplative The Legend Of the Holy Net Potato, Siddharth Srinivasans ( last year’s HBF winner) Soul Of Sand, works of K.N.T.Sastry, or the popolar Dibakar Banerjee and his team, Ketan Mehta’s new project; and let’s not forget Chitra Palekar and her new creative work! It’s time to choose the HBF Award winner and the lucky four for the Rotterdam Lab.

As often is the case when selecting a winner, the task is not easy and one has to take into consideration many aspects and factors. But as the IFFR is a supportive festival aimed at upcoming talent, my thoughts are getting sharper and I ask for one more meeting with some of the filmmakers. The results are satisfying in the end and I am convinced that we have made the right decision. See you all at IFFR 2010, we are looking forward to it!

HUBERT BALS FUND AWARD went to the project:

Twosome by Siddhart Sinha,

ROTTERDAM LAB participants are following producers with their projects:

Sanjay Suri  with the project I am

Ben Rekhi with the project Keep off the Grass

Sandeep A. Varma with the project Manjunath

Pierre Walfisz with the project Twosome