Bollywood coming to Ottawa as plans under way for 2015 Indian film festival

Published: May 6, 2014
Ottawa

Bollywood film actors Ranveer Singh (R) and Deepika Padukone. AFP/Getty Images

TONY LOFARO
OTTAWA CITIZEN

An Indian film festival complete with big-name Bollywood movie stars and directors is in the works for Ottawa next year, says the editor of a Bollywood fan magazine.

The official announcement of the Ottawa Indian Film Festival was to be made Monday afternoon at the Delta Ottawa City Centre on Lyon Street, but organizers have worked for “almost two years” to bring the three-day film festival to Ottawa by mid-2015, says Inderpreet Singh, editor of Bollywood Plus, a glossy magazine, available at Chapters and Indigo, and devoted to India’s movie stars and film industry.

At Monday’s press conference, the film festival’s logo was set to be unveiled.

The details are still being worked out, but Singh hopes to have 20 features and 10 short films in the festival. He also hopes to feature some of India’s leading film stars and movie directors. He says he’s also talking to officials from Cineplex and Landmark Cinemas about securing a major movie theatre where the films will be shown. “We’ve never had anything like this in Ottawa.”

Singh is planning an opening night gala with a red carpet and plenty of stars, an after-party, a series of workshops on Bollywood dance, singing and writing and a closing gala featuring more stars and an awards ceremony. He says some of the personalities the festival is trying to bring to Ottawa include Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Irrfan khan, and Ranveer Singh, and directors Anurag Kashyap and Rohit Sheety.

He says he’s a big fan of Indian cinema and landing some of these stars for Ottawa would be a coup. The presentations at the film festival will be mostly family-friendly productions with wide appeal, he adds.

India’s film industry is among the biggest in the world and annually it produces more than 1,000 films, far outpacing Hollywood. India’s film industry reached revenues of $1.86 billion in 2011 and by 2016 it is expected to reach $3 billion. He says the first ever Indian Film Festival in Ottawa will put the city on the international film map.

“The (South Asian) community is growing big time, it’s a beautiful city and I’d like to see our city in the limelight,” says Singh, adding the festival could boost tourism. He says the city has about 57,000 South Asian residents and that number is increasing all the time.

“We want to create a big buzz,” says Singh, who is meeting with Ottawa civic officials about financial assistance. He says to stage a gala threeday festival with big-name stars and movie theatre rental will cost about $2 million. He says he’s looking for corporate sponsors as well as residents of South Asian background to help out with the festival.

He says he expects people involved in Bollywood film production to come to Ottawa to scout locations in the city for future productions.

alofaro@ottawacitizen.com

twitter.com/tlofaro

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