Having travelled to locations like Great Britain, China, Europe, Middle East, Thailand and Sri Lanka in the past, the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) will make its North American debut in Ontario, Canada this year. The announcement was made at a Press Conference in Toronto on 19th January, attended by Honorable Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty and Indian film stars Anil Kapoor and Preity Zinta. The three-day long IIFA Weekend and Awards is all set to take place from 23rd – 25th of June.
IIFA is a global platform that gives the Indian film fraternity an opportunity to reach audiences in international territories. It also establishes a symbiotic relationship between India and the host country in areas such as tourism, culture and trade. Canada has been a popular destination for filming and showcasing of Indian films and while many prominent films have been showcased at the Toronto International Film Festival, several movies have been filmed in this picturesque country, making it a great choice for this year’s IIFA celebrations.
Canada has an Asian population of over 960,000, with 550,000 Indians living in the Greater Toronto Area. This gives Indian Cinema a huge audience in Canada and makes it a very popular form of entertainment.
Speaking on hosting IIFA 2011 in Ontario, Honorable Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty shared, “Ontario’s diversity makes us stronger and the IIFA Weekend and Awards are proof of that. The weekend will build on the growing economic and cultural ties between our province and India and showcase Ontario to the world.”
Known for its cultural, entertainment and metropolitan scene, Toronto is an ideal choice for IIFA 2011. Toronto is considered a global city and is one of the top financial centers in the world. The Toronto International Film Festival welcomes more than 450,000 people every year, including film executives, movie buffs and everyday citizens in a celebration of film.
Sonia Baxendale, President of CIBC Retail Markets, the presenting sponsor of the IIFA Awards 2011 added, “CIBC has a long history of celebrating Canada’s rich cultural diversity. This diversity is reflected in our employee base across the country, the millions of clients that we attract and serve and the communities that we call home across Canada. IIFA 2011 will not only shine a spotlight on the very best of the Indian film industry from around the world, but, as importantly, it will showcase the diversity, pride and passion of Canada’s South Asian communities, and Canadians of all backgrounds”
Longtime IIFA supporter, Indian cinema superstar, Anil Kapoor said, “IIFA’s journey over the last ten years has opened many doors for the Indian film Industry in the host country, be it in terms of film shooting avenues or the assistance given to filmmakers and producers from Government and Tourism bodies. IIFA has also helped propel Indian Cinema, by virtue of the deals that have been struck with production houses and the screening of our films that would have never had the opportunity to be showcased there, prior to the IIFA event.”
Leading Bollywood actress, Preity Zinta said, “I think IIFA is a very novel venture and has allowed our Indian Film Fraternity to expand its wings over the globe with IIFA’s remarkable idea of taking the fraternity to different cities and countries each year. Through the 11 successful years that IIFA has completed, we have experienced unbelievable love from global fans. IIFA gives us the opportunity to see firsthand the support we are receiving beyond borders. I am very excited to see the IIFA action shift to Toronto this year, which shares a close association with India.”
As testament to its mission of integration and building bridges between countries, the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) is associating itself with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto, York and Peel as a part of the IIFA Weekend and Awards celebrations in Ontario. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto, York and Peel is a mentoring organization for children and youth and is committed to providing caring adult relationships for children to promote their healthy development and enhance their self esteem.
Air India is India’s national carrier connecting India with the rest of the world. Air India is the only airline that flies directly from India to Canada. Speaking on the partnership, Mr Arvind Jadhav, Chairman and Managing Director, Air India said, “Air India celebrates its association with Bollywood. Indian film industry actors are our cultural ambassadors and we, the national carrier, do take genuine pride in flying them to Toronto for the International Indian Film Academy Awards.”
“Air India is proud to be the only airline which links India to Toronto by a direct non-stop, state-of-the-art technology Boeing 777 aircraft, giving the passengers the best in terms of class, comfort and convenience. Air India is also proud to be associated as the official travel partner of IIFA, 12th edition – the Oscars of Bollywood. We wish the event to be a grand success,” Mr Jadhav added.
Sabbas Joseph, Director, Wizcraft said, “Toronto is a great choice for IIFA’s North American premiere. We have already gained a great response from people across Canada, America and key territories across the world with guests eager to join the celebrations in Toronto. We are certain that this year’s IIFA will be absolutely memorable.”
The IIFA Celebrations in Toronto comprise six major events and a myriad of smaller interactive events. The major events are the World Premiere, the IIFA Rocks, the FICCI-IIFA Global Business Forum, the IIFA Film festival, IIFA Film Workshop and the IIFA Awards. Tickets go on sale soon.