Speaking at an Indian film industry event in Mumbai, Baillieu said: "The festival will celebrate Indian cinema and create bonds of greater understanding and experience between the communities of Victoria and India. This announcement delivers on the Victorian Government's election a commitment to deliver an annual Indian Film Festival in Melbourne." The event was held during Victoria's largest-ever trade mission to India, with more than 200 Victorian companies travelling on the mission to boost Victoria's two-way trade and investment relationship with India.
According to Asher, India is one of the largest film industries in the world and it makes sense to develop initiatives to strengthen ties between the two film industries. "I am delighted that Mind Blowing Films has been selected to deliver the festival from 2012-14, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience about Indian cinema to Victoria," she said. "The festival complements a range of initiatives to develop ties between the Victorian and Indian film industries, including a Victoria/India co-production initiative, which will see ten Victorians travel to FICCI Frames in Mumbai in March. The initiative will also support 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."
The inaugural Indian Film Festival will take place in mid-2012 and will encompass a dynamic screening program over 10 days, showcasing the depth and diversity of the Indian film industry. The festival will host prominent Indian filmmakers and screen professionals and provide an interactive program of master classes. This event will create opportunities for Victoria as an international screen production location and for Victorian screen practitioners as individuals.
According to Baillieu, strengthening ties with Indian cinema is a chance for Victoria to showcase all there is to offer in the arts. "India's burgeoning film industry offers opportunities for Victorian co-production projects that build on our state's strengths in the creative arts. Our government seeks to promote Victoria as a place that has the skills and infrastructure to work in film production, and where film producers can find a variety of people who can speak a range of languages and possess a cultural understanding," he said.
Baillieu also announced that Bollywood star Vidya Balan will be the Brand Ambassador for Victoria's Indian Film Festival. Commenting on the same, Balan said: "I am delighted to be named the Brand Ambassador for the Indian Film Festival in Melbourne. I love the format of the festival and the wide range of films screened. It not only showcases the best of Indian cinema but also provides a platform for young upcoming film makers through its short film competition. When I was in Melbourne, I was smitten by the city and its love for films from all parts of the world and its multi-cultural spirit. I am sure the Indian Film Festival will contribute greatly to add to that spirit."