Producers Jim McElroy (Picnic At Hanging Rock) and John Winter (Rabbit-Proof Fence) are among the Australians heading to Film Bazaar in Goa as part of a delegation organised by the Screen Producers Association of Australia (Spaa). Both have well-developed projects suited to joint venturing with India.
"There has always been a bit of interest in co-production with India and accessing Indian investment, and there is certainly interest in what Australia's producer offset can do for them," says Spaa executive director Geoff Brown.
The offset was introduced last year and allows producers to claim back 40% of what is spent in Australia on official co-productions and Australian films. While there is no official treaty between the two countries, their governments are examining the possibility, and a film could get official co-production status under a memorandum of understanding.
Brown also points out that the definition of what constitutes an Australian film is more flexible than it was: the source of the budget and the nationality of the copyright holder are no longer factors in the assessment.
"We are both former colonies of Britain, have a strong interest in cricket, our time zones are not far apart, and I have a sense that they have an affection for Australia and want to work with us in preference to other Western nations," says Brown.
"Generally speaking, I think (Indian producers) realise Indian cinema needs to work more broadly and we realise they have a huge English-speaking population, a booming economy with a lot of emphasis on communications technology, a strong emerging middle class and money to make films," says Brown.