UKFC brings 'Blighty' to India

British film showcase includes 'Easy Virtue,' 'Man On Wire'

MUMBAI -- The UK Film Council announced Tuesday it will bring a selection of recent independent U.K. films in cinemas across three Indian cities – Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune -- from February 26 - March 11, 2010.

The initiative titled “From Blighty With Love” was announced at the ongoing 11th Mumbai Film Festival that ends Thursday 5 November.

“This is the first time that such a project has been organized by the UKFC in any country where independent British films will be presented to audiences via simultaneous screenings of each film on multiple screens in 2K digital cinemas across three cities,” UKFC senior executive for export development Sarah McKenzie told THR.

In addition, the screenings will also be enhanced by “virtual” conversation events with key talent from each film, such as directors and cast, via Skype. “The idea is also to engage the audience  in a two-way interaction after the screenings where they can interact with the talent thanks to digital technology,” added McKenze.

Cinema partners for “Blighty” include Reliance Big Cinemas and Fame Cinemas. “Blighty” is an English term for Britain deriving from the Urdu/Hindustani word “vilaytee” ("foreigner").

While the full program will be announced in January at a special reception in Mumbai, some of the films include “Stephen Elliot's “Easy Virtue," Julian Jarrold's “Brideshead Revisited," James Marsh's Oscar-winning “Man On Wire” and Armando Iannucci's satirical comedy “In The Loop," which has also been screened at MFF.

“We are hoping that in addition to widening the market for independent U.K. films here, there will also be interest in potential distribution deals for other platforms such as home video after these theatrical runs,” said McKenzie. “There is a large English-speaking population in India enthusiastic to experience British independent cinema, particularly since the huge global success of “Slumdog Millionaire”.”

The UKFC is also hoping to turn “Blighty” into an annual event.