I have been a regular visitor at film markets all over the world for 15 years, but this is my visit to the Mumbai Film Mart at the Mumbai Film Festival. The Film Mart is just a couple of years old so it is early days yet, and I hope it grows over the years.
I guess if you are a serious buyer or seller of films, in today’s age you can well conduct deals over the phone or the Internet. However, the film markets serve an important purpose, as they get the whole industry together and allow you to meet face-to-face with people who would otherwise remain just voices over the phone or mail ids. So markets are a great opportunity to personally interact with people in different geographies, and this is especially important for those foreign buyers exploring new markets.
My observations of the current Film Mart is that many people are using it more as a platform to secure finance for projects rather than to buy and sell content. As someone with over 15 years of background in film financing, I understand how Film Marts often serve this purpose, but we should not lose sight of the fact that the primary function is to provide a forum for buying and selling rights.
As I said before, it is early days yet and things will of course improve over the years. My suggestions to make the Film Mart more effective – try and have the delegate hotel, the festival venue and the marketplace in close vicinity, ideally the same venue; organise interesting and credible seminars that can benefit both the buyers and the sellers; and circulate contact details of the buyers and sellers beforehand so it is easier to touch base and set up meetings – in fact, probably you guys, Box Office India, could even bring out a buyer-seller handbook! I have found your daily newsletter for the festival most useful and informative.