Films may be considered a form of creative expression, but today, in an age of cut throat competition, film-making is a business like any other and films are also commodities that need to be financed, marketed and distributed using the correct methods. Two sessions at the second edition of the recently concluded Conference on Film Finance (COFFI), organised by Banknet Group and Six Sigma films, managed to highlight the various issues plaguing the industry and the solutions to the key problems.
The panelists for the first session of ‘Film finance and funding’, who were Shibasish Sarkar, CFO, Reliance Entertainment, Jaidev Prabhu, Managing Director, Amicorp Advisory Services and Anurag Khanna, Chairman and MD, Banknet Group and Six Sigma Films, spoke about the traditional methods of funding and the new way of raising finance, through crowd funding. Khanna said, “The internet has added a new way of raising finance that is called crowd funding. In this model, film-makers get money from a large number of people across the regions through online medium. Indian examples would be Onir’s I Am and Anurag Kashyap’s production Peddlars.”
According to Khanna, one should also incorporate plans for participation in international film festivals and in-film branding as they give the investors an idea and perspective of unconventional revenues.
The second session concentrated on film marketing and distribution and was attended by Hiren Gada, Director, Shemaroo Entertainment, Hirachand Dand, Hon. Secretary, Film Federation of India, Sushilkumar Agarwal, Chairman and Managing Director, Ultra Group and Yusuf Shaikh, Head, Film Distribution, Acquisition and IPR, Percept Picture Company. According to the common consensus, the panelists decided to focus on the marketing and distribution problems faced by small-budget films every year. Dand said, “There are 435 films lying in the cans and majority of them have not been released because the producer has not been able to market and distribute them.”
Acknowledging the importance of research in film-making, Shaikh said, “Along with creative art, there is a lot of science involved in film-making. It is extremely important to research on the USPs of a particular project and accordingly choose your target audience and positioning. Two decades back, Gulshan Kumar of T-Series produced small films whose USP was good music like, Lal Dupatta Mal Mal Ka. Those movies raked in 100 times the revenue from music and satellite rights, interiors, etc.”
Agreeing with Shaikh, Gada explains, “During Ishqiya, we had extensive focus-group sittings that gave