Movies

South East Asian filmmakers feel need for more skills training

MUMBAI: Delegates from several South East Asian countries have suggested government intent to develop the sector and an interest in working with the Asian Film Commissions Network (AFCNet) and the inter-governmental body Asean.


The development potential of South East Asia and the changes underway within Asia‘s Film Commissions were put in the spotlight at two seminars during Busan‘s Asian Film Policy Forum held during the Festival that concluded over the weekend.


Presentations by government officials from Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Indonesia showed countries with vastly different stages of film industry development. Indonesia said it would produce 100 films this year, but Laos expected only six films; there is a common need for more cinemas and more skills training.


Bounchao Phichit, director general from the Laos‘ culture ministry‘s department of cinema, charted a decline in theatre numbers between 1985 and 2005 and said that the government has kick-started film-making and acts variously as regulator, producer, distributor and cheerleader. He said he was happy to see that of this year‘s crop of films five were produced by private-sector firms.


Myanmar Motion Picture Enterprise managing director Aung Myo Myint said that he has a "burning desire" to cultivate the skills of film artists and technicians through regional training courses and through visiting international productions. He also hinted at a surprising vibrancy; Myanmar produced 16 feature films, but also 581 video films in 2010.


Do Duy An suggested that even in the absence of financial incentives the number of co-produced films is rising. They climbed from just 2 in 2006 to 5 in 2008.


Syamsul ‘Sam‘ Lussa said that the government intends to develop cinema for both cultural and industrial reasons. But he spoke of a shortage of cinema screens that is restricting growth – there are only some 650 screens in 55 towns and cities for a population of 239 million – and a need for skills training. He also said that film needs to be removed
from the country‘s ‘negative list,‘ a list of industries in which
foreign investment is restricted or banned.


A day earlier, film commissioners described how they are increasingly taking a developmental role in addition to their traditional function of ‘production attraction‘.


Wellington Fung said that Hong Kong‘s Film Development Council is now funding technical training schemes (for assistant directors, production managers, editors and martial artists) through the new Film Academy set up at HK Baptist University.Filmmaker and actor Inoue Toshihiko said that the Sapporo Hokkaido Contents Strategy Organisation no longer simply matched locations with productions but also takes on investment matching and that his region is increasingly being used for shoots from Singapore, Thailand and India.


Oh Seok-gun, head of Busan‘s proactive Film Commission, said that Busan is now funding script development and that its budget for such incentives is set to rise to $255,000.

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