Making a case for inclusion of Indian cinema at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), Academy president John Bailey said the institution is "not a Hollywood bubble".
Bailey, who is on a visit to India with wife Carol Littleton, was talking to media at the Yashwantrao Chavan Centre on Saturday. Also present at the event were State Cultural Affairs and Education Minister Vinod Tawde and Principal Secretary, Cultural Affairs, Bhushan Gagrani.
Tawde proposed three key plans for the Academy—setting up an office of the AMPAS in Mumbai, installing a bronze statue of Father of Indian Cinema Dadasaheb Phalke in the Academy's upcoming museum, and increasing India's representation in Oscars jury.
Bailey said the AMPAS believes in the participation of different cultures. "Last year, the Academy accepted 928 new members from 56 countries... The Academy is expanding and we understand that our preservation and history is tied into the rest of the world. The Academy is not just a Hollywood bubble and we want to connect (with) as many cultures as we can, including that of India," he said.
There should be more representation of Indian cinema abroad, he added. Bailey said as India is the "largest filmmaking industry in the world" having an office of Academy in the country seems like a logical move. As of now, the Academy has an office in London and in New York. "My understanding is that you make 1,800 movies in a year, which is more than four times the number that we make in the United States. There is logic to it (referring to opening office in Mumbai). It's an excellent idea," he said.
He added the Academy is not a company or corporation but a service organisation for its members and for the artistes to preserve, expand and honour the history of cinema. "Every year through Oscars we honour the best of filmmaking of that year."
Bailey said that through the Mumbai office, one could avail services like film archives, library and screening programmes that the Academy provides. "An office in Mumbai would mean a platform for artistes to conduct exhibitions, programmes, screen movies, and building up a community that appreciates the art of cinema. But it is not something that will come to life in the blink of an eye. It is a long process that will take its own time."
He added that Phalke's statue in the Academy museum was also an incredible idea. On Sunday, Bailey and Littleton will engage with students of cinema at Film Division and attend the 56th Maharashtra State Awards at NSCI. The couple is also likely to meet people from the film fraternity.
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