Tampa, Florida-- Move over Oscars!All the glitz and glamour of Hollywood is coming to Tampa this April, India-style.

The International Indian Film Academy Awards are coming to Tampa, and with it, more than 30,000 visitors, and with a global viewership of 800 million.

IIFA Celebrations: What to expect when Bollywood hits the Bay

After all, India's film industry trumps Hollywood, producing twice the films every year.

But why Tampa? With an Indian population of about 30-to-35,000, how did a city in Florida land the festival?

"Most people felt that an event of this size couldn't be brought to the USA, period. An event of this magnitude should be in New York, New Jersey or Chicago's market. It is my opinion, worldwide, when you talk about Florida, people will say Orlando or Miami," says Dr. Kiran Patel, a local philanthropist who spearheaded the campaign, along with the Indian community and Visit Tampa Bay.

Itinerary:15th Annual International Indian Film Academy

"We had to convince them by taking [the IIFA committee] to various venues that could potentially show this kind of event could be in Tampa."

Every year for 14 years, the IIFA has been held in major International citieslike Singapore and Dubai. And the one major hurdle in bringing it to the states: funding.

PICS:IIFA Celebrations, a look back

"In other countries, the government substantially backs these types of projects. The US is different. The US only expects private sector to fund this. That was the major reason for it not coming," Patel explained.

Until now.

Next, come logistics. According to Dr. Patel, the planning timeline for an event of this scale, should take two-four years to coordinate. Tampa Bay had less than 10-months.

Even so, Dr. Patel believes Florida is ready. Logistically, and culturally- putting us on an international stage.

"This way to use culture, music and art to bring the community together...I say that for art of music, you do not have to have barriers of race, religion, class, creed, or ethnicity."

Tickets can still be purchased for the three-day IIFA celebrations, taking place April 23rd to the 26th all around the Tampa Bay area. Click here for ticket and event info from the official IIFA website.


-What to expect
-Bollywood event on track to be biggest awards ever
-Bollywood stars come to Tampa
-IIFA Awards to bring Bollywood stars to Bay area
-Itinerary:15th Annual International Indian Film Academy

PICS:IIFA Celebrations, a look back

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