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UTV to launch world cinema channel, DVDs

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MUMBAI: UTV has announced the launch of its latest business venture UTV Palador - a 360-degree initiative in world cinema under the brand name of 'Olive Collection' that will have three verticals including a television channel, a DVD label and theatre presence.

The company will invest $15 million (Rs 700 million) for acquiring 1000 titles across 20 countries. "We will be investing this over 3 years. Our immediate funding requirement is $3.5 million," says UTV CEO Ronnie Screwvala.
The non-Indian language movie segment is estimated to Rs 15 billion by 2009 and UTV Palador believes that World Cinema in their model could account for 20 per cent of that.

"Our main revenue source would be DVD and the TV channel. We plan to launch the TV channel in 6-8 months. The theatrical release would be mainly a marketing tool," says Screwvala.

UTV will be releasing 15-20 titles each month, he adds. The DVDs will be priced at Rs 799.

UTV is looking to acquire over 1000 film tittles from 20 countries that have won over 3000 (cumulative) awards that include the likes of Bafta, Cannes, Pusan, Berlin, Venice, Toronto amongst others, informs an official release.

The roll out plan for the Olive Collection would begin across all of the platforms beginning this April each platform reaching the youth, corporate, connoisseurs of world cinema across the country. The Olive DVD Collection will release the world cinema tittles in a phased manner and will include special features like a special short film that lends itself to the main film along with bonus features by Master Director. The DVD would also have short film by an Indian director as part of strategy to promote Indian talent along with memorabilia like rare posters, photographs.

On the Theatrical front 20 theatres across the country will release the Olive Collection films with 2 shows daily that will account for nearly 15,000 shows per annum. The Olive Collection films will be released in Adlabs Metro and Huma in Mumbai, Gold Adlabs in Pune and in Sathyam Cinemas in Chennai. The films will roll out to Delhi, Bangalore and Calcutta in the second phase , adds the release.

UTV Palador's 'Olive Collection' will host a collection of world cinema masterpieces from France, Japan, China, Russia, Poland, Denmark, Brazil, Argentina in languages like French, Polish, Russian, Italian, Brazilian, Mexican, Japanese with subtitles. The collection will feature film directors like Akira Kurusawa Francois Truffaut, Michael Haneke, Wim Wenders, Chabrol, Kiarostami and Kitano and others considered to have shaped the thinking of the world cinema.

The announcement was made by UTV CEO Ronnie Screwvala and Rakesh Om Prakash Mehra, the later being reffered to as its brand ambassador and partner.

Screwvala said, "UTV Palador's main objective is to ensure that the beauty, timelessness and quality of the world's greatest filmmakers is not lost to Indians . It was our vision to ensure that quality cinema is not a one off event at limited location but a regular part of India's entertainment industry. In addition, this is an extremely high potential category with no significant competition in the horizon."

Mehra ""In India world cinema has been available to a privileged few. Our endevour is to bring cinema of the world to the common man in India."

A preview of what the World Cinema channel would evolve into can be viewed for a limited number of Sundays on the Zee Studio channel starting 1 April.