Filmmakers agree Institutional Support necessary for creative cinema

NEW DELHI: Filmmakers generally agreed that institutional support was necessary for creative cinema to flourish, and state intervention of some kind was also needed.
The filmmakers were taking part in a discussion of the first day of the two-day Tenth Osian‘s Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab cinema got underway at the National Centre for Performing Arts today.

Twenty-one films that are being screened over the two days at the meet being held as a preview to the Festival in Delhi from 10 to 20 July.

A large number of filmmakers and film lovers exchanged views on whether the creative individual can be institutionalized during the sessions of the IBM? (Infrastructure-Building for Minds & Markets), with Osian‘s Connoisseurs of Art founder and Chairman Mr Neville Tuli setting the tone of the discussion with the observation that the conflict was essentially one between creativity and materialism.

He said that the nature of any art is one of aesthetic and historical significance, and financial considerations come later when the artist wants to show his work. He said in view of this, he said the role of the institution became important. In that context, he referred to the role of Osian‘s and said many had cynically remarked that an auction house was the very anti-thesis of an archive or promoting art. But he said Osian‘s had become the basis of taking art and culture further. There was need to direct creative energies towards transforming art into a creative value system.

‘If you have knowledge, integrity and passion, wealth will follow‘, he said, adding that the key was to know oneself and clearly have a direction to create wealth in a way nothing is compromised and one involves all those around oneself. He said there was no corruption in putting art into an economic framework. Cinema was the greatest art medium to look at others, he added. He said the intelligentsia has to play fundamental role to take forward the growth of art in India.

In the discussion in the afternoon over the tone set by him in the morning, Mr Tuli said there was no difference of opinion on the need of the state to help creative intelligentsia.

Initiating the discussion, wellknown filmmaker Ketan Mehta said the studio system had been the first institution to help filmmakers, but had collapsed with the second world war. Later, the Film and Television Institute of India had come up to train filmmakers while the Film Finance Corporation (later becoming the National Film Development Corporation) which had helped the growth of art cinema. When the NFDC lost its relevance, groups of filmmakers set up cooperatives to revive art cinema. ‘An artist perceives himself as free, but cannot work without organizational support,‘ he said.

Senior film critic and founder of the Cinefan Festival Aruna Vasudev said she was happy to not that many institutions had come up to support filmmakers who took cinema seriously as an art form. She also briefly gave a history of the launch of the Cinefan film festivals.

Mr Francois da Silva, who is a teacher and consultant on cinema, said the state had a role in the promotion of cinema and in almost every country including France. Many filmmakers had begun as individuals but turned into institutions since that was the only way to survive.

Short filmmaker Madhushree Dutta said institutions should find creative ways to deal with artistes so that their freedom is not compromised.

Renowned filmmaker Mani Kaul said Indian cinema had at one time been on the verge of collapse when state subsidy stopped, and therefore some institutional or state support is necessary for filmmakers to work creatively. ‘The problem is that subscribing to an institution may mean an end to creativity‘, he added.

Meanwhile, three Exhibitions from the Osian‘s Arts & Film Archive Collection opened at NCPA. Such a theme and collection have so far never been exhibited in India. The special focus for this year‘s festival is the relationship between Writing and Cinema and this will be further explored through the Antiquarian ‘The Shakespeare Gallery‘ Engravings from the Boydell Gallery and the Original Artworks for Vintage Hindi Novel Covers (1950-70s). The third exhibition is a tribute to Mr. Shammi Kapoor. Entry is Free for all Exhibitions.

The original ‘yahoo‘ star of Indian cinema, Shammi Kapoor, will be honoured and twentyone feature and non-feature films will be screened in a two-day Tenth Osian‘s Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema

The grand finale will end with the first unveiling of the scale model of the Osianama by some of the leading lights of the cultural world. The Osianama, Osian‘s flagship cultural complex, will open in Mumbai in mid 2009.

Mani Shankar will premiere his new film Mukhbir at the ongoing 10th Osian‘s-Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema in Mumbai on 14 June at 9 pm at NCPA. The star cast of the film includes Om Puri, Suniel Shetty, Sameer Dattani, Rahul Dev, Jackie Shroff and Raima Sen. Many notable films have had their global premiere at this prestigious film festival.

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