Christy Hoping To Bring Bollywood To BC Where Tainted Gordon Failed


By R. Paul Dhillon

SURREY- That ever present smile on Premier Christy Clark’s face has been glowing during her vacation, sorry business trip to India this week but it was shining even brighter during her visit to Mumabi to meet Bollywood film stars and make a bid to host the International Indian Film Academy Awards in 2013 in Vancouver.

In fact, her predecessor the tainted former Premier Gordon Campbell had a chance to bring the same awards that took place in Toronto this year but refused to pony up the $500,000 the money-hungry organizers demanded. It seems like Clark is more than happy to shovel out the money for some Bollywood spotlight for BC.

“This event presents an opportunity to remind 700 million TV viewers around  the word about the reasons they should visit and invest in our province, creating jobs for British Columbians,” Clark said. “It would represent a huge boost to the Vancouver economy, with an anticipated 40,000 projected visitors. This also represents an opportunity to show what our film and digital media community has to offer in the international arena.”

The International Indian Film Academy Awards or IFFA is a glorified film awards where the organizers’ hand selected films win awards and the industry holds them in far off places to publicise their brand of cinema – so a win-win for Bollywood insiders. The three-day weekend event, televised around the world, includes a film festival, film premieres, music performances, business and trade forums, and an awards night.

This year’s awards were held in Toronto – the first time they have come to North America – and according to organizers, it generated the equivalent of $100 million in advertising world-wide. A total of 750 media were in attendance, and 15 billion impressions of the city were seen around the world. Previous host cities have included London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Singapore, Johannesburg and Bangkok.

The Province is working with agencies such as the Canadian Indian Business Council and the Surrey Board of Trade to develop B.C.’s bid to host the 14th annual awards in 2013.

In a meet and greet with members form the Bollywood film fraternity including IIFA Advisory Board members, President of the Film and Television Producers Guild, Ramesh Sippy, international superstar Anil Kapoor, and senior members of the Hindi film industry, Clark laid out her plans to host IIFA in BC.

“If you could put what happened in Toronto in Vancouver, it will be great. Vancouver has a vast Indian population and one of the youngest Indian populations in Canada. It is a place where IIFA will feel at home,” she said

“We put up a great show for the Winter Olympics 2010 and we will put up a great show for IIFA. If we can bring IIFA to Vancouver, there are so many things we can communicate through this wonderful medium, the business of doing business. I promise you, we know we have to do a lot work to bring IIFA to Vancouver. It is the heart of creativity in Canada and it is also the gateway to North America in more ways than one. People will say, ‘Man, those Winter Olympics were good but IIFA was better!’”

Andre Timmins, Director, IIFA said, “We are in the process of finalizing the destination for IIFA 2012 and 2013. The remarkable success over the years and especially after its North American premiere in Toronto earlier this year, IIFA has sparked global interest and we have received several bids from countries vying to host the Weekend and Awards. We understand this as a sign of the growing importance of India in the world economy and how the Indian film industry has become an international phenomenon and we hope to further this endeavor.”