The Indian government is in talks with France’s Annecy Animation Film Festival to hold a local version of the festival in the country.

Senior Indian bureaucrat Ravinder Bhakar, who serves as CEO of India’s Central Board of Film Certification and Children Films Society of India, MD of the National Film Development Corporation and director general of Films Division, revealed the development while speaking at a Focus on India panel discussion on Saturday.

The Focus on India – Italy and India: Building a Common Audience panel was a special project of the DGCA (Directorate General for Cinema and Audiovisual) of MiC (Italy’s Ministry of Culture) at the Venice Film Festival.

When panelist Cristian Jezdic, VP Cartoon Italia and CEO of beQ entertainment, hoped for a strong animation film festival in India, Bhakar said, “Definitely, we have good news about this. Talks are ongoing with Annecy and we will announce it very soon.”

Moderated by producer, festival programmer and Indian cinema veteran Paolo Bertolin, panelists also included actor Hrishitaa Bhatt, who is on the steering committee of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa, and Guglielmo Marchetti, chair and CEO of Notorious Pictures.

Bhakar talked up the 30% incentives for international productions and co-productions filming in India that were revealed at Cannes earlier this year and also called for a relook at the existing Italy-India co-production treaty.

“Changes needs to be made, so that it should be more proactive, because we are not getting the kind of expected co-productions happening between India and Italy, what it should have been,” Bhakar said. “India has everything possible, it is the land of storytelling, it has talented manpower available at a very reasonable cost – all kinds of latest technologies are available with us. India has beautiful iconic locations, the beaches, desert, forests – a relook needs to be made in this regard, so that we have a more fruitful relationship and more productive films coming for the common audience.”

Bhatt said that the conversation for India-Italy audiovisual cooperation has begun in Venice and will continue at IFFI in November. “We look forward to encouraging the culture and the tourism in both the countries and may we have a fantastic Italian Indian association,” Bhatt added.

Bertolin mentioned that the Italian minority co-production fund, which was established in 2021 with an annual budget of €5 million ($4.9 million), allows Italian producers to enter international production more flexibly and fits in neatly with the Indian incentives.

“It is indeed a great moment to start collaborations between India and Italy, because now the institutional setup is fostering this,” Bertolin said.