Umbrella org helps suppliers at Stateside market

Navigating the American Film Market can be difficult for new companies, especially ones from places like India.

This year, an umbrella org dubbed the U.S.-India Business Alliance is trying to make it easier for Bollywood companies looking to work the Stateside market.

Dolly Kapoor, entertainment industry director for the alliance, says in the past Indian distribs have taken a scattered approach.

“The U.S. market is huge,” Kapoor says, “it’s not like Cannes or the U.K., we still have a lot to learn.”

The $2,500 cost of a booth can be steep for smaller companies, she adds. So the org has bought a few booths on the second floor of Loews and has invited about 10 Indian companies to share the space, including UTV, Mukta, Percept, Ultra, Kaleidoscope and Nirvana Motion Pictures.

“We’re calling it the Indian Pavilion,” she says.

For bigger attendees, like UTV Motion Pictures, AFM is an important business hub. Siddharth Roy Kapur, UTV exec VP of marketing, distribution and syndication, says, “We look at these markets to meet up with contacts and forge new relationships.

“We’ve not been able to penetrate Latin America,” Kapur adds, so face-to-face meetings help.

UTV has extended its reach into countries with a big South Asian population, such as the U.K., where it sells theatrical and cable rights. The company will push its upcoming releases “Goal” and historical epic “Jodhaa Akbar.”

Eros Intl., the 500-pound gorilla in the Bollywood distribution biz, is bypassing a booth and instead will take meetings to try to manage the market more efficiently. “AFM is where we started and we expanded from there,” the Eros rep says. “The leads we get there are very different from other tradeshows.”

Eros sells to a lot of South American and Asian-Pacific countries at AFM. And these days it’s not just theatrical and DVD rights, but also cable and broadband.

“In the beginning we had to explain what Bollywood was, but now they come to us and sometimes even pursue copyright for remakes,” the rep adds.

The company is busy promoting “Om shanti om,” set for release Nov. 5, close to the Hindu Diwali holiday, a major moviegoing period. Pic, directed by Tony-nommed choreographer Farah Khan, stars Shah Rukh Khan.

However, even with an umbrella some Indian companies are giving AFM a miss including producer-distrib Rajshri.

Rajshri m.d. Rajjat Barjatya says it’s pointless to go without new product that’s relevant to the global market. “Older library content can take you so far and no more.”

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