India has the largest film industry in the world, producing more than 1,000 films a year which is twice as many as Hollywood. Four billion cinema tickets are sold for Bollywood films each year, compared to three billion for Hollywood films and Indian cinema alone contributes a staggering £200 million for the UK’s economy.
Since its inception and launch in 2000, the IIFA Weekend has been staged at prominent locations including Singapore, Malaysia, Amsterdam, South Africa and Dubai. In beating off stiff competition from other cities including New York and Sydney, after seven exciting years the IIFAs return to the UK this year where it will be hosted in Yorkshire. “IIFA has travelled to six countries across the world and has left a mark in the minds and hearts of the people. We are confident that the IIFA Weekend in Yorkshire will have the same impact”, said Sabbas Joseph, Director, IIFA at the London launch.
With brand ambassador, Indian of the Year winner and screen legend Amitabh Bachchan at the helm of the event, the IIFAs travel the world leaving its indelible mark. The IIFAs ignite a global appetite for the world’s largest cinema, reaching parts of the economy that others cannot, and in its progression has clearly exemplified the potent role played by the Indian cinema industry worldwide.
Mr Bachchan who has been referred to as “Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood and Sean Connery” rolled into one, speaks of the IIFAs with immense esteem: “IIFA is committed to taking Indian Cinema across the globe. Cinema brings together people from diverse cultures for a shared experience bridging the cultural divide. Using cinema as a key to open minds the International Indian Film Academy believes bridges should be built across cinemas, businesses, communities and nations.”
Its return to the UK highlights and adds weight to the increasing relations between India and the UK. With the Indian economy expected to grow by 10% in the next 12 months, the UK is India’s number one location for investment in Europe. Rt. HON Gordon Brown who extended his support to the IIFAs, congratulated Yorkshire for winning the IIFA Bid at the launch event in London. “The IIFA Weekend has my unprecedented support. The relationship between India and the UK is long standing and one we would like to keep developing forever.”
Sheffield’s Hallam Arena will transform into a captivating setting to host the awards ceremony in June 2007, part of a four-day extravaganza that also includes events in Leeds, Bradford, Hull, York and London. The IIFA weekend will include business forums, film premieres, workshops and charity fund-raising events. More than 500 luminaries from the Indian film industry will travel to the region for the event and the event will be broadcast globally by STAR TV to reach nearly 500 million viewers in 110 countries. Previous attendees to the IIFA Weekend have included the world’s major celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Shekhar Kapur, Ashok Amritraj, Jean Claude Van Damme, Bo Derek, Aishwarya Rai, Shah Rukh Khan and others.
The IIFAs are far beyond a glitzy film awards ceremony given its inimitable content and impetus. The IIFA spectacle in June 2007 is expected to boost tourism in host region Yorkshire by more than £9.5m and attract 28,000 from all over the world – including the biggest names from India.
The IIFA Weekend Yorkshire is supported by Yorkshire Forward, Yorkshire Tourist Board, Star TV network and Idea Cellular Ltd. Elite Limousines and the Oulton Hall are some of the key partners who are helping set the stage for the mega celebration.