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UK expedition aims to strengthen links with Indian film industry

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Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell is this week visiting India, where she will be guest of honour at Frames 2003, the biggest entertainment convention in Asia, held in Mumbai from 14 to 16 March.
She is leading a media industry delegation, put together by the Film Council, and will address the festival, which covers film, television, music and media.
The Film Council are to use Frames to launch a major drive to increase co-operation in areas including film production, distribution, infrastructure and tackling the growing problem of film piracy.
Like the UK, India is a major centre of both film production and cinema-going, and as well as using Frames to build on existing good relationships between the Indian and UK film industries, the Film Council have identified a number of areas where both countries can benefit from closer working between the two film industries.
Items on the agenda include increasing audiences for Indian and British films distributed in each other's countries.
There is a long tradition of co-operation between the two industries.
The Film Council backed 'Bend It Like Beckham' has so far grossed $1m in India, taking $371,000 in its opening weekend - more than 'Star Wars Episode II'.
Past examples include the award winning UK film 'The Warrior', filmed in Rajasthan and the Himalyas, and Indian films 'Mohabbetein' (filmed in Warminster, Bath and Oxford) and 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham', which used more than six British locations.
A further goal of the expedition is to discuss new ways to tackle piracy to reduce economic losses. The UK film industry loses around £400 million and the Indian industry around $66 million a year to global film piracy.
Speaking in advance of Frames' official opening in Mumbai, India, Film Commissioner Steve Norris (pictured), who heads up the Film Council's International Department, said: "Closer working relationships between the UK and Indian film industries offer a huge number of benefits and opportunities for both our countries. "The Indian film industry is becoming more global in its outlook than ever before. Closer links between our two countries will mean that we can get more British films into India and more Indian filmmakers to film in the UK.
"As well as boosting both film industries there are far wider benefits to be gained from closer co-operation. It is well known that commercial Indian films shot in the UK have been responsible for an increase in Indian tourists to the UK and vice versa."
Frames will include a series of seminars and panel discussions.
Speakers from the Film Council include Steve Norris, Robert Jones, Head of the Premiere Fund, which was created to back British films that offer quality and entertainment to the widest possible audiences both in the UK and worldwide and Jenny Borgars, Head of the Development Fund, which aims to broaden the quality, range and ambition of film projects and talent.
Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur ('The Four Feathers', 'Elizabeth', 'Bandit Queen'), who has been assisting the Film Council's international department, is also accompanying the party to Frames.


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