Andre Timmins, co-founder of IIFA, founded Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. in 1988 and serves as its Executive Director today.
He has been in the entertainment industry since he became a disc jockey soon after he finished school.
Timmins started his own business as a partner in Mumbai’s first professionally managed nightclubs ‘Xanadu’ and then went on to establish his own entertainment business in 1988 now known as Wizcraft International Entertainment.
Since then he has actively been involved in the setting up of various nightclubs and discotheques in Mumbai and eventually ended up creating and managing the IIFA Awards.
Excerpts from an e-mail interview:
Q: How did you get involved with the IIFAs?
A: I wouldn’t say getting involved, but actually IIFA was a dream and vision within me that I had for a while in wanting to develop a platform that could help us to celebrate and grow the outreach of Indian cinema internationally. So I was part of the entire journey starting right from the concept that began as a one night affair and has proudly developed now into a multi-day weekend of several events that encompass culture, music, business, fashion and cinema.
Q: What made you want to create a large, international show for Bollywood and not for Hollywood?
A: Because our heritage and origin is Indian and we are proud of what our industry has achieved and the work done by us is not second to any international production. We are producing world class films and wanted to help showcase that to the world and hence the Bollywood content is core to IIFA.
Q: This is the 18th edition of the IIFA Awards and even though you brought IIFA to Tampa Bay three years ago, why have you decided to come to New York now?
A: With the tremendous growth and recognition that we have amassed over time we felt the time is right to finally arrive in New York and are now creating one of the biggest and best IIFA Awards show’s to date with several new dimensions and developments to the concept of the show to build the outreach much more globally. The brand is building the bridge between the Indian film industry along with the international world of entertainment to come together on one stage. We felt for the new realm of IIFA that we have as our future vision of the brand, being in New York this year will help us achieve this from several perspectives.
Q: Some say that the IIFAs are the Oscars of Bollywood; do you agree?
A: We are flattered to be hailed the equivalent to the academy awards.
Q: What is the difference between the Oscars and the IIFAs?
A: IIFA is a much more multi-faceted program that has been developed not just to honor the film industry but use the platform of celebrating cinema and celebrities as a catalyst to achieve much more in terms of benefits for the host destination. We are proud to create tourism, economic impact, business & trade among other results to the IIFA weekend in a city.
Q: How has your association with the IIFAs affected the event overall throughout the years?
A: I would like to think that the leadership and vision that I share for the brand helps with the support of a good team for us to keep IIFA fresh and of interest to the global community it has built around it for both fans and media alike.
Q: Do you have plans to make Bollywood films?
A: Actually as a company Wizcraft is pleased to be moving into the business of Bollywood & International film productions. Stay tuned and we will have some very special announcements on our film projects very soon.
Q: After New York, what does the future look like for IIFA?
A: Bright! There is lots more exciting things to come for the brand and I am excited to share these with the world of IIFAn’s very soon too.