Advertisement
  1. News

Tampa Bay leaders build 'Bollywood Oscars' buzz here and abroad

Local leaders such as, left to right, Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham, real estate agent Chetan R. “Jason” Shah, and Santiago Corrada, Visit Tampa Bay president and CEO, are working to create the buzz for the “Bollywood Oscars.” Here they speak at a news conference in July to announce that the 2014 IIFA Weekend & Awards will be held in Tampa.
Local leaders such as, left to right, Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham, real estate agent Chetan R. “Jason” Shah, and Santiago Corrada, Visit Tampa Bay president and CEO, are working to create the buzz for the “Bollywood Oscars.” Here they speak at a news conference in July to announce that the 2014 IIFA Weekend & Awards will be held in Tampa.
Published Feb. 15, 2014

TAMPA — Buzz is something organizers of the Indian film industry's version of the Academy Awards talk about a lot, and this week brings two initiatives to jump-start conversations both locally and abroad.

"We're trying to get the community here to understand the impact of what is coming," organizer Janak Vora recently told a group in Tampa about the International Indian Film Academy's 15th annual Weekend & Awards, scheduled for April 24-26 in the Tampa Bay area.

For IIFA, building cultural bridges between its host cities and Bollywood film fans is part of the job. The awards show goes to a different city every year — this will be its first appearance in the United States — and organizers make a habit of reaching out to local leaders and celebrities for support. This week, IIFA named its honorary host committee, with Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham as chairman.

Already IIFA has gotten a "tremendous response" in the bay area, according to Andre Timmins, a director of Wizcraft International, the Mumbai company that organizes the awards.

Now the idea is for the 45 bay area politicians, business executives and media types on the host committee to serve as ambassadors for IIFA as well as promote the Tampa Bay area and Florida to the 30,000-plus visitors expected to come here for the awards weekend.

This weekend, Higginbotham, Visit Tampa Bay president and CEO Santiago Corrada, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, local supporter Dr. Kiran Patel and Visit Tampa Bay director of communications Liana Lopez are scheduled to head to Mumbai for a media blitz there.

"That's like, 18 hours of flying, 20 hours of work, and then 18 hours back," Buckhorn said.

On Monday, the Tampa team will work on plans for a two-day business forum to be held at the Tampa Convention Center as part of IIFA's awards weekend. On Tuesday, they'll meet with Indian journalists to discuss ticket sales, Tampa as a travel destination and nominations for the awards, which Corrada expects to be announced on Tuesday.

Visit Tampa Bay is covering travel costs for Buckhorn and Higginbotham, which Corrada said were less than $3,000 per person.

That, however, is only part of the effort to promote the region to Indian film fans. With $1 million freshly allocated from Hillsborough County and its hotel bed tax, local officials also are working on a marketing campaign that targets Canada and the United Kingdom.

"We've got a share of the world to market to," Corrada said, "but the IIFA brand sells itself worldwide, so we're focused on … certain geographic areas."

IIFA's plans in Tampa include a fashion and live music show at the University of South Florida Sun Dome and an Indian dance music event that will be free and open to the public in downtown Tampa. The awards show and the spectacle of stars walking IIFA's signature green carpet will be broadcast to a global television audience from Raymond James Stadium.

"What is it — 800 million people watching these awards?" Buckhorn said. "That's a big deal. So I get more and more excited the closer it gets."

Richard Danielson can be reached at (813) 226-3403, Danielson@tampabay.com or @Danielson_Times on Twitter.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. The techniques are as varied as the costumes when Gasparilla parade-goers beckon for beads from the floats. [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times]
    We were warned. Now the pirates are here. Stay with tampabay.com all day for the latest reports.
  2. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
    Police say a motorcycle and another vehicle collided on W. Boy Scout Boulevard Saturday afternoon. At least one person was killed.
  3. President Donald Trump points to the crowd as he arrives to speak during the annual "March for Life" rally on the National Mall, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) [EVAN VUCCI  |  AP]
    As the Democratic primary intensifies before the first contests to decide the nominee, Trump and his allies have issued a series of curiously favorable comments about Sanders.
  4. Officers later found an adult man with gunshot wounds in a car crash, but are still searching for the second man
  5. After a fire Saturday morning, a boat was left nearly unrecognizable [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
    The flames were visible from Gandy Boulevard. Nobody was injured in the fire
  6. Harrison Peters, Chief of Schools in Hillsborough County, has landed a job as superintendent in Providence, R.I. [HCPS  |  Handout]
    Peters will become a turnaround superintendent at a troubled district.
  7. “My body, my choice” was the rallying cry on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in the state Capitol, where abortion rights activists decried a fast-tracked bill that would raise the bar for minors seeking abortions. (AP Photo/Aileen Perilla) [AILEEN PERILLA  |  AP]
    Abortion supporters worry about Florida’s move toward parental consent and what may follow.
  8. In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. [AP]
    As Democrats finished their third day before skeptical Republican senators, Trump’s legal team prepared to start his defense, expected on Saturday.
  9. In this July 30, 2019, file photo, a Super Mario figure is displayed at a showroom in Tokyo. After months of being tight-lipped, Comcast executives on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, said the fourth park at Universal Orlando would be based on characters from Nintendo. [KOJI SASAHARA  |  AP]
    Universal Studios is building theme parks based on Nintendo video games across the world. Orlando is set to get its Super Nintendo World in 2023.
  10. People climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge stop under flags flying at half-mast as mark of mourning and respect in Sydney, Australia, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, for three U.S. crew members of an aerial water tanker that crashed Thursday while battling wildfires in Australia. [RICK RYCROFT  |  AP]
    The deaths came during an unprecedented wildfire season that has left a large swath of destruction in Australia’s southeast.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement