Regulators

Films Division shorts in cinema halls: Centre mulling revival

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NEW DELHI: All cinema halls may soon have to screen the news features produced by the Films Division, sources in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry said.

As a first step, the Government had earlier this year waived the 1% rental charged by Films Division in lieu of supplying public services awareness films including news features to facilitate exhibition of such films in the cinema halls of the country.

These sources told indiantelevision.com that provisions have been kept in the proposed amendments to the Cinematograph Act 1952 to empower the Central Government to issue directions so that such films may get adequate opportunity of being exhibited.

Meanwhile, Films Division sources told indiantelevision.com that a beginning had already been made and almost all the PVR theatres were showing shorts that went on for just around three to four minutes. However, the aim to revive the practice prevalent around two decades earlier was to show a news feature by the Division before the main feature film commences.

At one stage, some private filmmakers had gone to court saying that there was no reason for only Films Division films being shown. As a result, cinema halls had stopped screening of the Division films. However, the Supreme Court ultimately ruled over a decade earlier that theatres should show films of relevance to society irrespective of who has made it. But, cinema halls have been reluctant to show these films.

As a result, the Films Division appealed to the ministry to take decisive steps to ensure that the films – like those on the Swachhta Campaign or other ongoing programmes of the government should be shown. It is learnt that cinema owners have said that they will generally not accept films that are more than three minutes long, and therefore the Centre may step in to make this mandatory.

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