Film Bazaar 2023 Report
Held annually in November, the Film Bazaar is a five-day event that takes place in Goa, India, to support and showcase South Asian content and talent in filmmaking, production and distribution.
Slightly out of the usual MIFF festival route, it was a delight to attend as a guest at the end of 2022 – touching down amid palm trees at 2am and then being whisked away to the beachside resort that housed the whole bazaar for the week. A far cry from the chilly Berlinale weather I’m heading back from now!
Created by India’s National Film Development Corporation in 2007, the Film Bazaar has become the largest South Asian film market, connecting local film teams with global buyers and festival programmers. After two years online, the Film Bazaar returned to a physical iteration in 2022 and ran concurrently with the International Film Festival of India, which was held about a half-hour walk down tropical paths, just past the floating casinos.
Meanwhile, at the Film Bazaar, the resort started buzzing early on Monday morning before the official schedule even had a chance to begin, with impromptu networking opportunities happening in the queues for upma and chai, and different attendees jostling for a meeting over fruit and coffee. Over the course of the week, everything was going on at once: market screenings of both shorts and features took place; film buyers and programmers handed their phones and swipe cards over to security to watch completed films and work-in-progress cuts in the highly restricted (and pretty much always open) viewing room; and the ‘Knowledge Series’ panel discussions, comprised of visiting delegates, talked about all sides of the industry, from film production budgets to saving and restoring classic cinema.
Not usually given such a fantastic opportunity to immerse myself in contemporary Indian cinema, I took meetings with many contemporary local filmmakers anywhere and everywhere – from the communal lunch table, to just beside the tarot card desk, to poolside under an umbrella (hard life, I know, but I never did get that tarot reading). In the evenings, attendees mingled on the lawn, looking out over the ocean and swapping cards and stories. By the time I had to make my farewells, I had seen and met with some fantastic filmmakers and producers, in the hope of placing some of the very best at our festival later this year.