Two-tier selection process for National Film Awards

MUMBAI: The National Film Awards will be selected on a two-tier system.

It has also been decided that the total cash prize for the international film awards will go up to Rs 20 million and that of national film awards to Rs 10 million.

According to Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF) director general SM Khan, the films will first be seen by some regional level juries before the short-list being submitted to the national jury.

Each regional level juries will have a chairman and a member from outside the region. The other three members will be from within the region.

The regional level juries are North (English, Pujabi, Dogri, Urdu, Bhojpuri, Rajasthani and central Indian languages); West (Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati and Konkani); South in two groups (South one – Tamil and Malayalam, and South two – Telugu, Tulu and Kannada); and East – Bengali, Assamese, Oriya, and dialects spoken in northeast India).

The five chairpersons of the regional panels will be ex-officio members of the central jury, apart from a chairperson and five other members.

In the revamped format, new award categories for audiography, music direction, screenplay and dialogues have also been introduced. The category for best film in family welfare has been removed in view of the category on social issues.

Meanwhile, it was also announced that the format for the international film awards will see increased number of national entries (18 films from 15 earlier). And to extend the international competition, North American and European countries have also been added, besides countries from Asia, Africa and South America.

The new guidelines have been issued after considering the report from the Expert Committee on National Film Awards headed by eminent filmmaker and Member of Parliament Shyam Benegal. It has proposed a central jury and five regional juries to cover languages in different regions. It has also outlined guidelines for the regional jury composition. Other recommendations are being studied.

The Committee comprised Sharmila Tagore who also heads the Central Board of Film Certification, Rajiv Mehrotra of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust, Sai Paranjpye, Ashoke Vishwanathan, Vishal Bhardwaj, Nagesh Kukunoor, Mohan Agashe, Waheeda Rehman, Jahnu Baruah and Shaji N Karun. The Ministry is represented by the Joint Secretary (Films) DP Reddy as Member Secretary, and DFF director SM Khan.

The regional panels will begin screenings in Delhi on 19 August, while the central panel will sit from 1 September to select the best national awardees of 2009. The award ceremony may take place in the third week of October.

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