Understanding importance of Cinema and Film making
Film is a mirror of culture – Harvie Conn
Every nation has stories to tell. Few does it, few don’t. Those who don’t, will soon be forgotten and perish in history. Those who do, live in history!
Besides expression of a nation and its aspirations, film making and cinemas also make good business. According to Motion Picture Association of America, BoxOfficeMojo (www.boxofficemojo.com) and WorldBoxOffice (www.worldboxoffice.com), the global total gross box office value for calendar year 2009 was estimated at USD 29.9 billion.
Box Office Gross revenue estimates, USD billion, 2005-2009
Source: Motion Picture Association of America
In calendar year 2009, when most of the industries in the world faced slow down and slump, box office receipts increased by 10%. Many industry pundits now consider the cinema, film making and gaming as a recession-proof business, thus creating steady stream of employment opportunities, as movies and gaming are considered cheap form of entertainment in comparison to vacations, visiting theme parks, or attending a sports event. During 2009, US and Canadian population made 1.4 billion visits to theatres in comparison to 133 million visits to sports events.
In addition to box office receipts, there are a host of other streams of revenues totaling additional USD 10 billion worldwide; these revenue streams include DVD/CD sales, games generated out of movies, broadcasting (movie channels) and music. Additional revenues attached with the business emanating out of expenses on food, merchandizing and on location advertising are further on top of it.
Indian film industry, the closest example for Pakistan to emulate, is estimated at USD 3.3 billion in calendar year 2010, Indian film industry employs over 6 million individuals. Film making in India is one of the largest contributor to foreign exchange, with an average Indian film generating well over USD 2 million from overseas market. In 2005, 74 Indian films were released in Britain in comparison to just 61 British productions that made it to the marquees. In the same year, 9 Bollywood films entered the top 10 list of films compared with just 7 British movies.
 Despite a dip in sales, some still believe gaming is recession-proof—The Economist, 25 Mar 2010
In United States, some 2.5 million people are directly and indirectly associated with film industry, thus generating substantial and sustainable employment, due to the recession proof nature of the industry. In India, ____
Summarily, the cinema and filmmaking business is too important to ignore, both from “expressing culture” as well “business perspectives”.
Jang Group has taken the lead and is committed to Revival of Cinema. Our first objective is to prepare a comprehensive Vision Document that provides roles of each stakeholder in meeting this objective and defines the pathway.
We would like to involve leading international experts, ideally a five-member team, two from United States (possibly from New York Film Academy and Motion Picture Association of America), two from India and one from Pakistan, who should help us preparing Revival of Cinema Vision Document and a corresponding business plan.
Certain pointers have been provided in this paper; however, these are just for guidelines. Vision Document made by the experts may decide to take lead from these or suggest different alternatives altogether.
We envisage that this Vision Document should address each of the following areas in a systematic manner and provide detailed guidelines of actions in each of these areas:
Existing human resource as well as fresh blood will have to be trained in each area of performance such as script-writing, screen play, lighting, set-designing, acting, directing, editing, etc. These trainings will have to be provided in two phases:
Short-term: By engaging experts from India, as they are closest to us in terms of culture, language and understanding; training should ideally be held in Pakistan, otherwise in India or in Middle East, utilizing resources of Abu Dhabi film school. Additional experts from Western countries will also be required to learn different and advance perspectives, in order to possible leapfrogging.
Vision Document should recommend the training and institutes after studying the syllabus of various training institutes in region including India and Middle East; and matching those with the training requirements of people involved in the film industry in Pakistan.
Long-term: Establishment of a media University in Pakistan, in collaboration with an International Film School
A list of institutes and cultural funds that provides funds for film training will be required in the Vision Document along with terms and conditions on which funds are available and how they can be availed.
Government of Pakistan, both the political and the establishment wings, will have to be made realized the missed opportunity by not working seriously to revive the cinema in Pakistan. This includes revenue loss, potential employment creation, opportunity to properly project Pakistan and its people and culture, bad name being earned due to piracy, funding Indian businesses and allowing Indian Government to impose their thinking and culture upon people of Pakistan due to smuggling of movies, etc.
Without Government’s understanding and accommodation, Revival of Cinema will fall short of its objectives. Government’s involvement will be required in the following areas:
Revising censor policies: there can be tiered censor policy for films:
1. Censor codes for films made locally
2. Censor codes for films imported from India
3. Censor codes for films imported from rest of the world
Revising laws for import of films from India.
Government should allow import of movies in following phases from India:
1. Phase I (until Dec 31, 2014): All movies that local importers/exhibitors deem fit and which meets revised censor code
2. Phase II (from Jan 1, 2015): Movies, which are:
Made in joint collaboration with Pakistani investors having a minimum 49.9% investment
Movies which have approx 10% of the shooting done in Pakistan
Where any of Pakistani is involved in an Indian movie in any of the following ways:
1. Actor or actress in a lead role
2. Actor or actress in a supporting role
3. As a singer, contributing at least one song in the movie
4. As part of direction team (as Director or Associate Director or Technical Director, etc.)
5. As part of music or lighting or make-up or production team
Government should understand the potential revenue it is losing due to non-revival of cinema. For the initial few years, Government will have to give tax and investment incentives to realize the potential future earnings
Government should also fund film-making in the initial phase. This can be done by providing soft-loans to the independent film makers
Government should provide land on soft terms to private investors, as part of public-private partnership, to build cinemas and entertainment complex
Government can take care of all its investments by creating a semi-government institute which should fund and oversee all such investments
Government should provide tax holiday for a period of 10 years in order to boost private investment
One of the key objectives and selling point to Government will be gaining access to Indian markets for Pakistani films.
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