B.C. to host “copycat” Bollywood Oscars after being rejected for real deal

After Vancouver was rejected this week as the 2013 host city for Bollywood’s “Academy Awards,” the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards, Premier Christy Clark ...

After Vancouver was rejected this week as the 2013 host city for Bollywood’s “Academy Awards,” the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards, Premier Christy Clark has announced that B.C. will host an event that’s being attacked as a “copycat.”

After Toronto hosted the 2011 IIFA awards, Vancouver made a play to land the prestigious Oscar equivalents in 2013.

This week, IIFA confirmed that Vancouver was rejected in its bid to host “the world’s biggest international celebration of Indian cinema,” now in its 14th year.

“The need for clarification was necessary following thousands of fans inquiring about IIFA celebrations following rumours of a few copycat efforts being attempted in international markets,” IIFA stated in a news release.

At a news conference yesterday, Clark revealed the “copycat” awards event in question: the fresh-minted The Times of India Film Awards, which Vancouver will host this year in the event’s inaugural year.

Jobs Minister Pat Bell called the awards “a catalyst for building awareness of B.C. to Indian businesses.”

“While we’ve already had great success building high-level relationships, we now need to focus on telling Indian businesses and travellers what B.C. has to offer,” he said. “As the largest media conglomerate in Indian, the kind of exposure Times Group can offer is unparalleled.”

The B.C. government will pay $9.5 million in matching funding to the Times Group toward producing the event, plus an additional $1.5 million for various host events in B.C., including the B.C.-India Global Business Forum.

The province estimates that the awards will create an economic benefit of $13 million to $18 million in direct spending from tourism and event production.

The B.C. government says the event will have a live audience of more than 30,000 and will be telecast globally.

Supporters of the #SaveBCFilm campaign, which held a rally at the North Shore Studios last night, are widely criticizing the government for setting aside $11 million of taxpayers’ money on the Times of India awards instead of on saving the ailing B.C. movie industry.

jwagler@biv.com

@JennyWagler_BIV

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