NDTV Imagine Ltd has joined hands with Manmohan Shetty, founder of Adlabs, and Sunil Doshi, film activist, festival jurist and producer of films like ‘Mixed Doubles’ and ‘Bheja Fry’, to create a joint venture Alliance Lumière Pvt. Ltd. This JV will distribute its content under the brand name NDTV Lumière, which would bring contemporary world cinema to Indian audiences.
Sameer Nair, CEO, NDTV Imagine, said, “At Imagine, we aim to explore every possible avenue in the entertainment business. Having successfully launched our Hindi GEC that caters to a mass audience, we now present an exciting new initiative to bring contemporary international cinema to discerning Indian audiences. NDTV Lumière is an endeavour that takes us beyond television and propels us into the realm of multiple screens, multiple platforms and multiple technologies.”
Nair divulged that the investment in this JV had been to the tune of $5-6 million. He added, “And we will break even in 24 months.”
NDTV Lumière focuses on best of world cinema. The objective is to bring movies for film enthusiasts – the audience that this offering is targeting – from across the world. NDTV Lumière would work towards bringing these movies to Indian theatres as soon as they are released worldwide. These movies would also be made available across multiple platforms such as home video, a 24-hour TV channel, pay-per-view across DTH platforms and Internet downloads.
The movie releases would commence in March 2008, while the channel is expected to go on air by April 2008. NDTV Lumière will also organise a host of events and promotions such as lectures by experts from the world of cinema, workshops for film students, and opportunities to interact one-on-one with the directors and cast of these films. These activities are slated to begin in February 2008.
The films from NDTV Lumière will span across genres from drama, animation and comedy to horror, thrillers and political dramas. These films include popular, critically acclaimed films from across the world and also the finest award-winning international cinema from Cannes, Berlin, Sundance, Toronto, Pusan, Locarno, Venice and other international film festivals. At NDTV Lumière, the endeavour is to create awareness of current global trends in an industry that is constantly evolving with the continuous influx of new talent, and to offer audiences a wider variety of films to choose from.
Dr Prannoy Roy, Executive Chairperson, NDTV Ltd, said, “NDTV Lumière is a commitment from us and our partners to bring the finest contemporary world cinema to audiences all across India. The best of world cinema on NDTV Lumière will be available across multiple platforms. There is a growing population of international film lovers across the world and in India, and with NDTV Lumière, these film lovers will have easy access to international movies of the highest quality.”
Manmohan Shetty, Director, NDTV Lumière, said, “While the Hindi film industry and other regional cinema continue to rule the box office in India, I always felt that there was space for cinema from Europe, Latin America, Africa, South East Asia and Arabic countries. I am happy to have partnered with NDTV Lumière to bridge this gap by providing contemporary world cinema to the growing and evolving audience in our country.”
NDTV Lumière would showcase the best talent from around the world, including new age masters such as Fatih Akin, Aki Kaurismäki, Elia Suleiman, Pedro Almodóvar, Emir Kusturica, Wong-Kar Wai and Abbas Kiarostami as well as veterans such as Fellini, Truffaut, Bergman, Louis Malle, Antonioni and Chabrol.
Commenting on this initiative, Sunil Doshi, Director, NDTV Lumière, said, “The Lumière brothers brought cinema to India from France in 1896. It is only fitting that more than a hundred years later, the movement that is bringing a new wave of cinema back into the country should be called NDTV Lumière. Also, during my tenure as jury at various international film festivals over the last 12 years, I have observed that world cinema in India has been sadly restricted to films from Hollywood and a few scattered film festivals. We have never really offered the best of contemporary world cinema to our audience here. NDTV Lumière heralds my long cherished dream of bringing diverse and contemporary world cinema and the works of new and emerging master filmmakers to India on a grand scale and offer viewers a multiple distribution platform, including a 24x7 television channel.”