As a film commissioner who oversees governmental efforts to facilitate motion pictures, television, commercials and new media production statewide, Colleen Bell feels that entertainment has a strong capacity to maintain peace and prosperity around the world.
"As a producer, as a film commissioner, as a friend and as a mother, I feel that telling stories is very important for promoting peace and prosperity around the world. Film and TV are a vital part of the California economy and associating with the film industry in India can boost the economies of both the countries", Bell, who also produced the drama series "The Bold and The Beautiful" told Sputnik in an interview.
Bell, is meeting delegates of the Film Producers Guild of India, the premier film, television and digital content producers' body, along with the Visit California President and CEO Caroline Beteta on Wednesday night. Bell says that telling stories also "promotes social cohesion and strengthens inner cultural relations".
Together with the delegates, she will unveil the "California Incentive Collection", a set of offerings and incentives from California Destinations and the California Film Commission, the one-stop resource for film, TV, and commercial production across the Golden State.
Offers will be available to the Guild as well as other film and television and content production houses in India.
Sharing the insights on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will be signed between both the entertainment industries, Bell said: "Some of the incentives could translate, for instance, into reduced accommodation costs, airfare benefits, transportation and costs for film permitting ."
“Also Visit California is providing the first stop for helping producers find what they need, whether it is the contact information for film commissions or working through permitting issues, ” she added.
“So, if an Indian production company chooses to film in our state, we want it to be the best possible experience for them,” said Bell who also served as US Ambassador to Hungary from 2014 - 2017 under the Barack Obama administration.
Visit California, a non-profit organisation with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programmes in partnership with the state’s travel industry, is hosting the organisation’s first Sales Mission to India which commenced on 13 January and will last till 17 January.
The mission delegation, led by Beteta, includes California destination CEOs and senior travel executives from the state’s leading destinations, tourist attractions and hotels. The mission marks the 10th anniversary of Visit California’s marketing activity in India.
Bell, who is part of the delegation, says she is impressed with how prolific India is, in terms of, how many feature films they make every year.
“It’s extraordinary, and there are a lot of opportunities there, so how can we create opportunities that would be mutually beneficial for India and the state of California is what we are looking at. I think by cooperation and sharing information, sharing resources can make the difference,” she said.
She also feels that as a former diplomat, businesswoman and someone who lived in many states across the US, that there are strong and deep relations between Americans and the people of India.
“They (relations) take place at our universities, places of business, places of worship and also in our cultural institutions. It’s huge. So, I feel there’s a strong and sustainable connect regardless of political administrations or otherwise. As film commissioner, I would love to see how we expand on the bonds that already exist between both the countries and how we can look for mutually beneficial economic opportunities to enhance both our economies, moving forward,” Bell said.