‘IFFM should involve and promote local talent, artists’

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IFFM is a tax payer funded event – so there should be more support for local artists and local talent: Mrs. Roshni Sharma

Indian Film Festival of Melbourne being a tax payer funded event needs to be more supportive of local artists and local talent.

If they can screen films that are 100 year old, why can’t they screen films like Save Your Legs, Taj the Movie (2011), Half Broken Heart etc that involve local artists & talent, and have Victorian connection in them?

Excluding a Victorian government funded movie with an Indian theme – “Save Your Legs” from the IFFM 2013 does not make any sense to me. Excluding other local bollywood stakeholders from IFFM does not make business sense.

Excluding films that are made locally, films that star local artists and talent – This does not send out a good signal to the local community. Local community can easily relate with people and films that have some Victorian connection in them.

“Half Broken Heart” has been shot locally and involves local technicians. It also stars this local girl – RashiKapoor. Rashi is the Winner of Miss India Melbourne 2013, and contributes to the coffers of Australia as she works and pays taxes locally. Rashi is also an Accounting graduate from Monash University and an active volunteer for “The Art of Living”. She is also the Youth Cultural Ambassador for South–Asian Youth Connect Australasia (SAYCA).

There needs to be a contractual condition for IFFM that a certain percentage of movies played have to be shot in Victoria, or they should involve local artists and technicians.

There are various talented people locally and their efforts need to be supported and recognized. At the very least the IFFM can support local people and businesses, as anyway it has failed on the front of attracting filming business to Victoria.

Australian–Indian actor Pallavi Sharda is the perfect choice for role of IFFM Ambassador. Pallavi is a local girl. Not only has the IFFM never invited the local girl Pallavi to any event in Melbourne, surprisingly she has never been invited to any IFFM event in Mumbai as well.

This is the case when Pallavi was Ambassador of Oz Fest 2013, of which Victorian Government was one of the major sponsors. If Pallavi is good enough to promote Oz fest in India, then she is definitely good enough to be at least being a “Guest at IFFM events”.

So are Tania Zaetta, RashiKapoor and various other local artists – As Victorian talent they deserve to be “Guests of IFFM”.

In the Bollywood Policy that was released pre-elections, it is clearly mentioned that IFFM Ambassador and Guests would also play a role in promoting Victoria as a destination for International Students in India and South Asia. It clearly mentioned about promoting the local talent, the local technical people. It clearly mentioned involving all local bollywood stakeholders.

This is where people like Pallavi and Rashi easily outshine the current Ambassador – Vidya Balan. Not sure what Vidya’s education credentials are, but both Pallavi and Rashi are graduates from prestigious local universities. They are local talents, local stakeholders.

How can Vidya Balan and other IFFM guests help in attracting International Students to Victoria when they have never been educated locally? A drop in visit to one of the Sponsoring University looks good only in glossy pictures, but when it comes to results – the students and alumni will be more productive as prospective students can see them as role models.

Parents of prospective students in India/South Asia can easily relate with people that have been educated from good universities in Victoria, and these locally educated people can help in attracting International Students to Victoria.

It may be a good idea to invite those stars as IFFM guests that have been educated in Victoria. At least they would be better advocates for Victoria, and local community could easily relate with them.

One such person is RandeepHooda – A Melbourne educated Bollywood star who is at least bigger than few regular IFFM Guests. Randeep not only studied in Victoria but also did jobs such as driving taxis, or working at local Seven Eleven store etc. He would be a good advocate for Victoria’s education and life style. He could also help in attracting some significant bollywood production to Victoria, which IFFM is yet to attract.

Past and prospective International students would relate more with IFFM Guests that have gone through experiences that they themselves have gone through as well – Or are likely to go through in future. So would the local community.

I would like to see IFFM promoting local talent, I would like to see IFFM Guests as people who have some Victorian connection – At least they have a better chance of attracting filming business to Victoria, and can be better advocates for Victoria as destination for tourists and international students.

There needs to be broader consultation about the way in which IFFM should involve and promote local talent and artists. After all it’s a tax payer funded event, a new and independent initiative by the state government that started in 2012 – It is not a private affair – It never was. Open consultation would bring in ideas that will make IFFM more productive for Victorian economy.

I find it hard to understand that why not even a single locally educated person (like Pallavi, Rashi, RandeepHooda, Tania Zaetta etc) has ever been invited to IFFM events as a Guest?

They have a much better understanding of the lifestyle, culture and aspirations of Victorian community than any other FIFO (Fly in Fly out) stars that hardly have any links with Victoria. They would be much better advocates for promoting Victoria.

Mrs. Roshni Sharma is an Ambassador – AAICE and ACHRH

Published in The Indian Sun (Indian Newspaper in Melbourne)

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