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The festival circuit has opened up other countries to indie filmmakers

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Festivals over the last eight years have been providing platforms to smaller–budget, indie films outside the country, where very often they do not find a theatrical release. Festivals have been acting as a great launch-pad for these films, a place where they can be discovered and where international distributors and buyers can sample them.

What we have seen over the last eight years, courtesy festivals, is that both diaspora and non-diaspora audience and cinema-lovers have grown aware of the exciting indie films getting made in India. There is a greater reception for them.

The last eight years have ensured that a successful journey on the festival circuit means a better release at home. Cases in point are Lipstick Under My Burkha and Newton.

Being screened at any of the major festivals can also mean finding overseas distributors and sales agents, which helps the film get released in ‘non-traditional’ circuits. We have seen this in the case of films like Amal, The Lunchbox and Titli, among numerous others.

A presence at film festivals has also helped get better value for digital / TV rights. Playing at festivals, contrary to popular belief, has provided indie films with better values across platforms, including digital and TV.

Indian talent (cast and crew) is finding space in world cinema. There is a greater amount of recognition and it is great to see our talent cross over to make a mark internationally, be it Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Rajkummar Rao, Priyanka Chopra or Frieda Pinto.

There is a growing interest in Indian content among producers of world cinema, and vice-versa. Festivals have been promoting cultural exchange.

Festivals are a great platform for filmmakers to showcase their films and interact with other filmmakers, a great learning and networking ground.

– How film festivals over the last so many years have aided Indian films.

(Written by Onir, director-writer-producer]

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