India selected as guest country at 2013 Film Festival

India is to be the guest country at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival following on the heels of Egypt in 2011 and Brazil in 2012, the first two countries to be awarded the special accolade.

The announcement was made last week at the Film Bazaar in Goa, India and is aimed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Indian cinema next year.

Breaking the news at the four-day event in Goa, Cannes film department director Christian Jeune said: “We are pleased to announce that India will be the guest country at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. With Indian cinema celebrating 100 years, this would be a good way to mark the celebrations. We are looking forward to welcoming a large delegation from India at Cannes and celebrating one of the most important countries in world cinema, a country with a prestigious history and tradition.”

Indian cinema has been going through something of a change of late with the traditional big budget Bollywood melodramas being challenged by low-budget indie productions with edgier subject matter.

This new genre proved to be a big hit at Cannes 2012, which saw three Indian movies being selected: Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur, Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely and Vasan Bala’s Peddlers.

This new wave of smaller independent films has also caught the attention of some of the major studios who have backed a number of these movies over the past year. Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Paan Singh Tomar, a biopic about an athlete who becomes a notorious bandit was backed by Walt Disney-owned UTV Motion Pictures, while Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani, a film about a pregnant women investigating the death of her husband, was produced by Mumbai-based Viacom18 Motion Pictures.

“The success of smaller films has been a trend for some years – but the penny has dropped since last year,” say UTV Motion Pictures CEO Siddharth Roy Kapur. “Cinema that was never considered mainstream earlier is now considered mainstream.”

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