New Delhi: Now gifted film makers need not despair for lack of funding to realize their dream project. In “Food” a specially set up “Film Fund for Osian’s Originating Development” film makers from Asia, Africa and the Arab World will find support to go ahead with their chosen project.
Announcing this at the ongoing Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema, Mr. Neville Tuli, Chairman, Osian’s, said that what set Food apart from other initiatives was that the funding would be made available to the film maker and not to the subject.
The film maker would be selected on the basis of his previous work and there will be no prior scrutiny of his script as is being done by other funding agencies. It gives weightage to the fact that great film makers too can make mistakes, come up with mediocre scripts and go wrong in estimating audience response. But if the film maker’s talent and intent are above board and if he has cinematic ideas, it would be a gross injustice to see his attempt being aborted or shelved, because of lack of finances or hand holding.
How Food will work
* Select 20-30 film makers from Asia, Africa and the Arab world by October, 2007.
* Provide a grant of $20,000-25,000 per film maker
* Have the film ready to be screened within six months
* Announce details of the selection process shortly
* Put the film maker through first a team of Selectors and then the Board taht has been specially set up for Food
* Make available the in-house expertise of Osian’s to those film makers who may require some nurturing or fine tuning in developing their project before presenting it to financiers and producers.
Mani Kaul, well known filmmaker and member of Osian is convinced that there is a whole lot of talent in India. Food will help film makers go after what they truely want without pandering to the dynamics of the box office. He feels that setting up screening systems is not a bad idea, moreso since established institutions like National Film Development Corporation too insist on seeing scripts before making funding available.
Another kind of cinema
In the 70’s another kind of cinema was synonymous with lofty titles like ‘art cinema’ or ‘parallel cinema’ but today not only does it encompass a vast range of ideas, expressions, idioms and treatments but it is also getting more and more integrated with the mainstream. The thin dividing line between another kind of cinema and popular cinema is just that - a line that distinguishes between different tastes and preferences, allowing audiences the luxury of choice, to see the kind of film they wish to.
If there were film makers in the 70s who succeeded in getting funding for alternate cinema, which did not have the potential to be a pot boiler but which could at least cover their costs, they were still handicapped because of the lack of exhibition facilities. After all, it was not easy to enter film festivals and have their film nominated for awards and even if they did manage that, it would still be restricted to very niche audiences.
But with film festivals like Osianama, Cinefan and other bodies like the Public Service Broadcasting Trust which provides a platform to documentary film makers there are more avenues to screen films.
Building film infrastructure
Cinefan has recently acquired the Minerva Theatre in Mumbai which is being converted into a two–screen Osianama multiplex to ensure greater public participation in creating a healthy film culture. This is a step towards facilitating the availability of infrastructure to film makers.
Also the ongong Cinefan in Delhi had the patronage of not just the regular venues like Siri Fort and Alliance Francaise but the PVR multiplexes in Connaught Place too. With modest tickets priced at Rs 20, most shows did brisk business, reaching out to a diverse cross section of movie buffs.