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Govt to convene meeting in Feb to study problems of indie filmmakers

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NEW DELHI: Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari has decided to call a meeting of independent filmmakers in February to discuss various issues being faced by them including lack of finance and high ticket prices.

Tewari gave this assurance to a delegation of independent filmmakers which met him late last week. He asked the filmmakers to list out their grievances in detail.

The delegation was represented by Onir, Anusha Rizvi and Shonali Bose who met him with a “Save Indie Cinema” petition jointly filled by 45 award winning film makers and signed by close to 18,000 people.

The petition speaks about the threats that New Wave independent filmmakers in the country face. One of the concerns is non availability of resources to exhibit their films. “High ticket pricing that is inappropriate for small budget films, inadequate number of shows and odd show timings further destroy the possibility of regional and Hindi cinema to have any proper chance at being viewed. It defies logic that a Rs 1.5 billion film and a Rs 150 million film are priced by the multiplexes in the same manner,” the petition says.

“We the petitioners hope that the Information and Broadcasting Ministry will take due notice of our petition and help independent film professionals and independent cinema to tell stories that would otherwise be neglected and would make us a poorer society for that,” said Anush Rizvi.

Oscar Award and National Award winning Sound Engineer Resul Pookutty; National Award winning film makers Anant Mahadevan, Aparna Sen, Ashim Ahluwalia, Buddhadev Das Gupta, Girish Kasaravalli, Rituparno Ghosh, actor and producer Nandita Das, Juhi Chawla and Sanjay Suri are some of the petitioners.

Ashim Ahluwalia asserts that the biggest struggle for Indian independent film makers is in India itself. “It’s not the audience that prevents films from being seen but distributors, theater owners and TV channels, that only operate from the most simplistic belief: that cinema is a product and can be nothing else,” he says.

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