We want to ultimately station IIFA in North America: Andre Timmins, Director- Wizcraft International
Leading media and entertainment company, Wizcraft International, has produced some masterpieces over the years that need little introduction. From entering their 30th year of being in business, to building the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards & Weekend as a massive entertainment brand, they seem to be hitting just the right notes. Andre Timmins, Director- Wizcraft International, the producer and creator of the IIFA movement, spoke exclusively to exchange4media on the road ahead for Wizcraft International, how IIFA as a brand has evolved and plans for the next edition of the IIFA Awards.
As Wizcraft enters its 30th year, tell us about your vision and focus areas as you move forward
With Wizcraft, weâ€™re dividing the business into brand activations, services and entertainment. We are also getting into movies, content and television. So, there are three verticals weâ€™re looking at promoting. We feel thatâ€™s the way to go. As we enter our 30th year, there will be a lot changes in our thought process. There are a lot of global players looking at tying up with us. Weâ€™ve also wanted to tie up with a company that adds value to us. We are big in our country but we have the man-power to do well globally too. So, we are looking at partners that take us global with the businesses. Apart from that, we are also going to launch our talent-management company and the movie business. We are raising funds to take the business to next level in the next six months. In terms of other things, we really want to focus on digital but in a niche way.
Speaking about IIFA and its success, can you tell us how it has evolved as a brand over the years?
We did several awards in the year 1999. In 2000, we had to decide whether we should do cricket or cinema. So, we chose cinema because we thought it binds people together. We thought that itâ€™s something we take to the world as we strongly felt that cinema is a very unique space to be in. We genuinely felt that we should take India abroad through cinema and that was our vision. Then we thought about zeroing on London for the first IIFA. When we actually executed London, we flew 450 people there and had a one-night affair. We didnâ€™t know the reaction of the world. What came out of it was a great response and a lot of conversations and encouragement by the media and film industry.
We have evolved from London to taking it to South Africa, Malaysia and then it slowly became a three-day affair. We started bringing in many elements of cinema to it. And today, anything we do with IIFA is at the highest level. We have been dealing with tourism boards, governments and Bollywood and bringing it all together for all these years, ensuring it only gets bigger and better.
Which are the markets that you want to take IIFA to in the coming years and where do you look at stationing it ultimately?
We want to go to America every alternate year. We will probably go back to LA, San Francisco and then go to Chicago. Ultimately, we want to station IIFA in North America. At this point, we are looking at places like Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco and also places that look at India in a big way like Portugal, Bali, etc. We believe that America is a large market for the industry and for it to gain more mileage internationally.
What are your plans for the upcoming IIFA and the brand to gain even higher visibility and traction?
We are launching a massive IIFA film festival in Delhi next year which will be around October/November. Apart from that, we are launching IIFA workshops across India where we will get directors and producers to speak at film schools. We are also launching our IIFA CafÃ© next year at Juhu in Mumbai which will be running in the next 10 months. It will be more like a creative hub wherein we become a bridge between the people who come there and their aspirations to meet their stars. Also, we have tied up with producers, giving people an opportunity to meet and interact with Bollywood people. Youngsters who want to become stars can post their material there with their demo. There will also be an IIFA lounge, dining and bar which will be a little more vintage. We are also looking at IIFA merchandising and IIFA co-merchandising with movies and movie stars apart from IIFA touring with stars.
Do you plan to expand the IIFA CafÃ© in the future?
Yes. The IIFA CafÃ© will go global and we will launch it in places highly populated with Indians like London, Dubai, Singapore, etc. As digital is becoming bigger, there is going to be a lot of content driven on that platform to promote it as we go forward.
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