Europe-Asia Roundtable Sessions joined forces with the Mumbai Assembly for a four-day seminar focusing on the creative industry development in India. EARS on Mumbai, December 6–9 dived into Performing Arts, Film and Music. Creative Export Innovations was involved in organising a panel on co-production.
This was the first time I ever visited India, and did not know quite what to expect. Mumbai was certainly on some aspects what I have been told, a lot of people everywhere, for example, and terrifying and time-consuming traffic. On the other aspects, it was more surprising. You certainly get a feeling how fast this city is developing.
Indian filmmakers we met were wonderful people with real passion to tell their stories. Most of the people we met at the conference were either involved in documentary or genre filmmaking. We met Q, who took time out of his busy editing schedule to attend the events. Q's upcoming film Garbage will premiere at Berlinale in 2018. And we also met Avani Rai, who is bringing her film Raghu Rai to Docpoint in January 2018. Talking with Indian filmmakers was great for us Finns, since all the Indian attendees had only praise for Finland - thanks to the great work Iikka Vehkalahti and YLE have been doing for years.
Our panel on co-productions featured Janne Niskala from Vaski Filmi and Min-Chul Kim, who talked about their co-production Planet of Snail. It is always so interesting to hear how these kind of collaborations started. Most of the project starts seem to feature late, late nights on some obscure film festival.
All in all, EARS on Mumbai seemed to me to be a starting point of some very important conversations, and I am happy to know that there are already plans for a follow-up event. It was fascinating to find out that although it seems at first that there are vast differences between Finland and India, some of the day-to-day problems artists are facing always remain the same. We could all relate for example to the need of having The Bring Your Own Film Festival (BYOFF). This wonderful festival was started in Puri by filmmakers who just wanted to share their work with the audience. There is no selection process, you just come and show your film. No entry formalities, no bureaucracy, no hierarchy, no hassle - just wonderful place where you can share your work and get instant feedback. That sounds pretty good to me, too.