I&B min plans Films Division restructuring

Written by Soma Das | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 27 2009, 05:22am hrs
Information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni is keen on restructuring and revamping the Films Division, the government arm that produces and releases documentaries, short films and animation films. The minister, who met the senior officials of Films Division in an internal meeting, has asked them to contemporarise the content, improve the production quality and spruce up the distribution and marketing activities to be competitive in the market.

Among the major problems recounted by the organisation officials to the minister included the unwillingness of the cinema theatre, multiplex owners and other exhibitors to shell out 1% of their net collection revenue for the Films Division in return of the documentaries and short films. For the same slot, documentaries and short films, the exhibitors tie up with private players at variable rates of 0.5% or even lesser, said officials. However, the Films Division has already started digitalising the content it owns so that it can become Internet and mobile ready. The organisation is investing over Rs 16 crore in the venture. It is also firming up a policy to aggressively market the films produced by the organisation and expand its audience reach by exploring media like Internet, mobile, film festivals-national and international and releasing the produced movies on TV.

Additionally, the Films Division has plans to increase its revenue earning by undertaking commercial production of documentaries for state government, public sector undertaking and corporate houses. The Films Division would also look at augmenting its revenue by venturing into production of text books collaboration with other academic institutions like UGC, Ignou and other vocational and professional institutes, the officials apprised the minister in the meeting. The organisation is already working on a proposal to open a museum of moving images on the lines of similar museums in New York and London with an investment of around Rs 42 crore. The museum will be a homage to the evolution of the medium of films and will house old clips, photographs, props and animation films. The museum once open for public would serve as a place of pilgrimage for the documentary aficionados, an official said.

The minister has communicated to the Films Division to rope in organisations like Public Service Broadcasting Trust (a not for profit trust for film making with renowned figures like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shyam Benegal on board) and Spic Macay in production activities.