Bollywood is coming to Hollywood this summer.

India Splendor, a festival that will run from Aug. 10-15 at UCLA, is intended to bring the latest offerings in Indian independent cinema, arts and technology to Los Angeles.

The festival is sponsored by MGlobal Trust; the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television; and ArtWallah, an organization that promotes South Asian arts and culture.

The project is the brainchild of Indian telecom mogul MGlobal Trust Chairman B.K. Modi, who lives in Beverly Hills.

The idea, Modi said, is to raise the profile of Indian entertainment fare in the Hollywood studio system and to capitalize on the growth of the Indian film market. He said he felt that despite significant press coverage in the U.S., the content isn't on the radar of the majority of Angelenos.

It's a lucrative sector the Indian movie market was worth a reported $2.1 billion last year, a jump of almost 25 percent over the previous year.

The festival will coincide with the 60th anniversary of India's independence.

Among the India Splendor events are a dialogue with former Indian Prime Minister Shri H. D. Gowda, a Samuel Goldwyn Theater screening of the Hindi feature "Chak de India" (Come On India), an Indian fashion show and an appearance by Ben Kingsley at a screening of "Ghandi."

Modi is currently bankrolling "Buddha" a $120 million English-language biopic through his M Pictures and Buddha Films, Modi's Hollywood-based entertainment outfit.

The film is the first filmmaking venture for Modi, who also has real estate ventures in India, including an eight-screen multiplex theater. He has tapped Hollywood-based producers Michael Shane and Anthony Romano ("I, Robot" and "Catch Me If You Can") for the film, which will be packaged for global distribution.

Hallmark High

Crown Media Holdings Inc.'s Hallmark Channel delivered its best June TV ratings and its best second quarter ratings, ever.


The positive numbers put the channel at No. 8 in the top 10 of primetime ratings among ad-supported cable channels, its 13th consecutive week in the top 10. The surge was largely driven by four original movies, including "Love's Unending Legacy" and "You've Got a Friend."

Hallmark Channel averaged 895,000 homes and nearly 1.2 million total viewers in June.

Studio City-based Crown operates Hallmark Channel and the Hallmark Movie channel as 24-hour basic cable networks, available to a national audience of 83 million subscribers. The company has seen its stock price double since last year, when it faced a slew of management departures and pulled itself off the market after failing to attract bidders for a sale.

The service is distributed through more than 5,300 cable systems and communities as well as direct-to-home satellite services across the country.

Public Image

Image Entertainment Inc. intends to remain a publicly traded entity in the wake of its sale in March to BTP Acquisition Co. LLC, an investor group led by David Bergstein, for $95 million.

The announcement of the change in the sale agreement came last week, on the same day that the Chatsworth home entertainment producer and distributor reported that it lost $3.1 million, for its fiscal fourth quarter ending March 31. Image attributed the loss to the write-off of distribution and music publishing advances it paid to now-bankrupt Source Entertainment. Image reported a loss of $283,000 for the same period a year earlier.

The sale to Bergstein's group, originally set to close at the end of this month, now is expected to close by October, presuming it receives approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Image shareholders will receive the same aggregate cash consideration as under the original buyout deal, and will also retain between 5 percent and 9 percent of their common shares.

Revenue for the Chatsworth-based company held steady at $30 million, but the company also reported a $13 million loss for the year and an 11 percent drop in revenue to $100 million. The company attributed the losses to poor DVD sales and the closing of sales outlet Tower Records. Image predicted another loss for the fiscal first quarter of 2008, but indicated that it was expecting to turn a profit by the end of next year

The acquisition closed the door on a contentious battle between Santa Monica-based Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and the Chatsworth-based disc reproduction and distribution company. Over the past year, Lions Gate had made at least three attempts to acquire the company, all of which were rejected by Image. The bids resulted in a lengthy and bitter proxy battle for control of the Image board. The Santa Monica-based independent studio's last offer for Image was for $4 per share, and Lions Gate still holds an approximate 18 percent stake in the company. The acquisition includes the assumption of $24 million in debt and an advance of $9 million.

Staff reporter Anne Riley-Katz can be reached at ariley-katz@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 225.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.