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Watch films, talk live to the stars

UK Film Council plans to screen critically acclaimed independent films in India in 2010, reports Purva Mehra.

entertainment Updated: Nov 02, 2009 01:03 IST
Purva Mehra

In February 2010, Indian moviegoers may get to seek an audience with Hollywood actors Jessica Biel, Colin Firth and Kristin Scott Thomas.

The actors are part of an ensemble cast of the film Easy Virtue, a social comedy based on a play by Noel Coward.

The film is also part of a unique initiative proposed by the UK Film Council in which 2K digital cinemas in Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore will be privy to a selection of UK’s critically acclaimed independent films.

“India has a huge movie-going population and the infrastructure to support such a programme. This is an opportunity for Indians to get acquainted with independent British cinema that may not release here commercially,” said Sarah McKenzie, senior executive at the UK Film Council.

The six to 10 films selected for From Blighty with Love rank high on entertainment and production value and on critical appeal. Each film will be simultaneously screened across the three cities in Fame and Big cinemas via digital feed.

The project’s most attractive feature is a chance for audiences to interact with the filmmakers and cast post the film screening via videoconference.

“We wanted to enhance the entertainment experience. It’s very uncommon that an audience directly engages with the film’s talent soon after watching the film,” McKenzie said.

The project is a variant of the Summer of British Films, a UK Film Council and British Broadcasting Corporation
initiative in which, over 50 cinemas in the UK screened a host of old English movies in 2006.

“Summer is a bad time for UK cinema but 62,000 people attended even though most of the films were out in DVD or the television. India is our first destination for screenings of this nature,” added McKenzie.

The project will be announced during the ongoing 11th Mumbai Film Festival organised by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Images, where five of the shortlisted films will also be screened.

These films will be recent releases, some of them award winning and have renowned cast and popular appeal.

“We wanted to draw a broad ranging audience and deliberately left out more challenging cinema for the first experiment,” said McKenzie.

Judging by the success of round one, From Blighty with Love will return in February 2011 as a pan India project.