43rd IFFI 2012 – Indie films to find Govt support
When Uday Kumar Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting took to the dais at the inauguration of the Indian Panaroma at the 43rd IFFI on 21st November, there was an air of impatience in the theater. We were here for the screening of Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s Celluloid Man after all, not some long speech by a government official.
And then Verma uttered the word ‘Indie’ and ‘Government help’ in the same sentence. Suddenly the audience was awake.
Verma has seemingly exciting (and hopefully in the future, something constructive) news about how the
Government is considering helping Indie filmmakers fund their films. “We’re looking out for a means through which to help Indie filmmakers,” said Verma, to applause from the audience. “At the moment we’re still looking for ways to do that, so any suggestions about how we could go about this are welcome. Help us come up with a model for Indie cinema,” he said.
Actor Om Puri, who was the Chief Guest at the ceremony, lauded Verma’s efforts. “We pray you are remain in the I&B ministry and are not shuffled around,” he joked. Speaking about the 20 films that were selected out of 140 entries to the Indian Panaroma, he said, “We need help to make sure that these films reach the audience. I have two demands. For one, we need a channel to show these Indie films. We cannot rely on the traditional distributors. They’re understandably businessmen. So many good regional films and documentaries are made every year on issues that concern every Indian. What happens to these film s, who gets to see them? What will happen to the 120 films that didn’t make it to IFFI this year. They deserve to be seen too,” he said.
“My second demand is that policy makers see these films as well,” he said. Citing his latest film, Chakravyuh, which is based on Naxalism, as an example, Puri said that the policy makers need to see the films as they are about issues the common Indian man faces each day.