Hollywood and Bollywood signed a cooperation pact Wednesday at Paramount, creating the Los Angeles-Indian Film Council.
Council aims to strengthen the relationship between the two industries and bring more Indian production to Hollywood and vice versa. Recent Hindi movies “My Name Is Khan” and “Kites” were filmed in Los Angeles.
“It’s really enhancing relationships that we started two years ago when we opened our office, but we as the MPAA have been working in India for some 14 years,” said Michael Ellis, MPAA prexy of Asia Pacific operations. “We now have a much better relationship with the local industry. … Internationally, they’re gaining recognition, and I think pulling us together here in Los Angeles to formalize
that relationship and then figure out how we springboard off that. There’s going to be a lot more benefits coming down the road.”
Among those at the announcement were Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, reps from the Motion Picture Assn. of America, Par topper Brad Grey, California Film Commissioner Amy Lemisch, Film Federation of India prexy L. Suresh, reps from UTV Motion Pictures and from Reliance Big Entertainment.
“These are the only two film industries in the world that are genuinely robust,” said Bobby Bedi, producer with the Film and Television Producers Guild of India. “In India we have something called an entertainment tax. Of course we hate it — we all hate taxes. But what it does say is that we don’t take support from our government. We actually support our government with an additional tax.”
While Bedi thinks the pact and council will be beneficial, he hopes the accord will result in increased enforcement of antipiracy laws for Indian films.
“I find that we get a differential treatment on the copyright side,” Bedi said. “My request to the mayor is treat us exactly as if we were your brothers and our films as if they were your own. And give the same kind of protection to our property as you would to the U.S. properties.”
In March, the Alliance Against Copyright Theft was launched as a content protection coalition by both industries. MPAA special policy adviser Fritz Attaway said the alliance has been active in launching consumer antipiracy campaigns.