Review of 1% levy on documentary films on anvil

NEW DELHI: The Film and Television Institute of India in Pune and the Satyajit Ray FTII in Kolkata will shortly be granted statutory status through an Act of Parliament so that the degrees awarded by these institutes are officially recognised.

The enactment of a new Cinematograph Bill 2010 will mean introduction of a larger number of categories for film certification. This is being done to serve viewers whose heterogeneity has increased in the rapidly changing social and economic milieu.

The Government is seriously considering a review of 1 per cent levy on weekly collection of theatres for screening approved films of Film Division.

But a strategy paper of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry for 2011 relating to cinema admits high-end human resource is lacking in the film media units of the Ministry. Inability to keep pace with the latest technological changes taking place in the fields of film production, post-production and animation; extremely rigid and hierarchical work place environment in the media units; lack of high-end infrastructure; and lack of horizontal networking among the Media Units of the Film Wing are other weaknesses that the Ministry admits to.

The Ministry says new technologies of film production, post- production and animation are developing at an extremely faster pace and pose a threat as easier adoption of these technologies by the private sector will cater to the mass market. There is rampant commercialisation in this field.

Admitting that personnel in the media units of the Ministry have to be adequately motivated, the Ministry says one way of motivating is by ensuring that the personnel in the media units associated with using cutting-edge technologies are provided training. All the Media units should put in place HR Training policy under which all their personnel are given some training whether in India or abroad over a span of two to three years.

The other important stakeholders are the film related organisations, the film industry and trade bodies such as Film & Television Producers Guild of India, Film Federation of India and Indian Motion Picture Producers Association. They should be consulted at the local level by the Media Units. They need a sense of involvement in the decision making process of the Ministry.

But the Ministry also has some strengths. These include diverse Media Units with core competencies ranging from imparting education in film making; expertise in producing feature films, documentary films, children’s films; expertise in film preservation techniques, film certification and event management; expertise to cover VIP (President of India & PM) visits abroad and ability to archive the same; and basic expertise with respect to film production, film distribution and film exhibition available, spanning the entire value chain.

The film wing also offers opportunities to fill the demand-supply gap in human resource in the field of film and television programmed making; and demand-supply gap in film preservation expertise. The state plays a pre-eminent role in selection of film related awards by the State and thus provides state recognition for films which are not necessarily box office hits. There is need for providing impetus to the documentary film movement and films with social messages; for certification of films into various categories for public viewing; and the demand for all kinds of niche films by the public.

The Films Division will set up an on-line consumer web portal. In this regard, it will engage private agencies to webcast its film content. Webcasting of film content will enable the Film Division to place the films on the internet and screen them online on payment of money. A similar initiative will be undertaken by NFDC as well for which it has already taken up the restoration of 77 most acclaimed films. In addition, NFDC will be upgrading six Government-owned theatres and screen its films there which are not able to find a commercial outlet. NFDC will also launch CDs/VCDs of 50 titles as their Home Video label.

The on-going strategy of producing documentary films in partnership with private players will be further strengthened during the XII plan through association with the Indian Documentary Producers’ Association (IDPA) in addition to continuing the engagement of PSBT. Free screenings of documentary films will be made in several cities on the lines done by NFAI, Pune, with a total of 144 screenings planned during the course of the next six years.

Under the National Film Heritage Mission (NFHM) planned in ollaborationwith NFAI, 8,000 films and 5,000 video tapes and posters and other material will be restored and digitalised. The Mission, which will be piloted by NFAI, will be the first comprehensive step towards digitalising and restoring film heritage. In order to foster the culture of film reservation, FTII, Pune, will be starting a short-term course on film preservation.

The aim will be to turn CBFC into a facilitator through a sweeping omputerisation of its processes and interface with film producers so
as to efficiently and expeditiously dispose of applications made for seeking film certification. Under a new initiative during the XII Plan CPFC staff would be exposed to content management practices in other countries and their legislative framework. Fresh benchmarks will be evolved for CBFC to enable it better perform its role as a facilitator.

To promote children cinema, the Children’s Film Society, India (CFSI), will organise two International Children’s Film Festivals during the XII plan and three national film festivals for children. These festivals provide a forum for production of good cinema through collaboration with producers of other countries and availing of better technologies and ideas abroad. CFSI will also leverage its distribution networks to increase the reach of self produced children’s films.

The intake of students at SRFTI, which imparts practical training to budding film makers in the country will be increased from 40 to 64. In addition, the institute will be introducing a TV wing as well. Also on the anvil is the Centre for Television Excellence/Practices (Telefilm City) in order to impart television training and education through academic programme of international standards. Alongwith SRFTI, FTII, Pune will also be strengthening the dissemination on training in film making and television programme production.

Export of films through promoting Indian cinema with greater participation in foreign film festivals and entering into more co-production agreements will be undertaken during the year, and a calendar of participation will be drawn up one year in advance.

India will be promoted as a film shooting destination to increase tourism and making the film industry competitive and technologically proficient. In this regard a Directory of international line producers will be prepared along with brochures showcasing the various shooting locales, labs and post production facilities available in the country.

The Government will implement the Report of the Committee on Piracy through launching of multi-media campaign involving all stakeholders from film, broadcasters and music industry. Level of sensitization of police, judicial and administrative officials about the Copyright Act will be up scaled. Conversion of traditional theaters in smaller towns into digital theatres will be promoted together with releasing genuine DVDs in bigger cities simultaneously with theatrical release.

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