Melbourne’s new Indian Film Festival will complement and feed into the Bollywood and Beyond fests.
28 Feb 2012 - 2:23 PM  UPDATED 28 Feb 2012 - 2:23 PM

A new Indian Film Festival will be launched in Melbourne in the middle of this year, complementing and leading up to the Bollywood and Beyond festivals which will continue in Sydney, Adelaide and Auckland.

Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu has unveiled plans for the Melbourne event, which will screen more than 35 films over 10 days on multiple screens at a city venue, and will replace the Victorian leg of the Indian Film Festival – Bollywood and Beyond.

Melbourne-based producer/distributor Mind Blowing Films, which launched Bollywood and Beyond in 2010, has been awarded the contract to deliver the new Indian Film Festival for three years.

“We will have an amazing line-up of films,” Mind Blowing director Mitu Bhowmick Lange told SBS Film from India, where she's sourcing titles and arranging for the participation of Bollywood filmmakers and stars.

She said the dates, venue and programming will be announced soon. Some films showcased in Melbourne will be screened later this year at the Bollywood and Beyond fests in Sydney, Adelaide and Auckland, dates to be announced.

“The festival will celebrate Indian cinema and create bonds of greater understanding and experience between the communities of Victoria and India,” Ballieu said at an Indian film industry event in Mumbai during a trade mission. “This announcement delivers on the Coalition Government's election commitment to an annual Indian film festival in Melbourne.”

In Melbourne there will be free screenings in Federation Square and among the promotional events planned are a Bollywood dance competition and a 'Sari Walk' led by actress Vidya Balan, the fest's 'brand ambassador' (pictured), to raise awareness of breast cancer in the sub-Continent.

The Melbourne festival also will feature workshops and seminars presented by Indian filmmakers and actors.

The short film competition which is part of Bollywood and Beyond will be extended to the Melbourne edition. The winner from Melbourne and the winner from the rest of Australia/New Zealand will get a trip to Bollywood and the victor of a parallel short film contest in India will be flown to Melbourne to show his or her film.

Separately, under the auspices of a Victoria/India Co-production Initiative, 10 Victorians will travel to the FICCI Frames media and entertainment conference in Mumbai in March, and support will be provided to up to three Victorian companies to develop a feature film, television or digital media project as a joint venture with a production entity based in India.