The Film Directors’ Guild of Sri Lanka aka FDGSL in a bid to revive local film industry has proposed a policy package to the authorities. The package consists of ‘short term’ and ‘long term’ plans for uplifting the industry and making it a profit making trade once again.
At an event held at Mahaweli Centre with the participation of a number of film personalities, media personnel and film enthusiasts, FDGSL Chairman Bennett Ratnayake read out the proposed policy package. He said FDGSL being the strongest lobby-group in the local film sphere currently is committed to make the package legislative with the help of film personnel, film lovers and authorities.
The proposed policy package mainly focuses on streamlining distribution and screening of local films.
“The local film industry is 70 years old now. In 1972 the National Film Corporation was formed. NFC made the film industry flourish. Dr D B Nihalsinghe spearheaded this operation. Diverse factors following that for decades contributed to the downfall of local cinema. Now we are in a digital era. We have to fast track our initiatives to revive local cinema”, said Ratnayake.
He said a 21 page proposal is already submitted to the President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe, Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Gayantha Karunatilleke and Secretary to the Ministry Nimal Bopage, Minister Ranjan Ramanayake and NFC Chairman Deepal Chandraratne.
The need to establish a National Film Regulatory Board, Film Screening Circuit Evaluation Committee and an entity established for the Development and Promotion of the Local Film industry is highlighted in the proposal.
Ratnayake added, “We intend to make this package a legislative document with the support of relevant quarters. We as filmmakers must unite to pressure the authorities to make this noble cause materialize”.
FDGSL Executive member Jackson Anthony said any industry has its customers and consumers and the filmgoers are the consumers of a film industry. He said the film industry must provide ‘credible products’ or good films to satisfy its consumers. He said an action-plan must be implemented to put this viable proposal of FDGSL into practice.
FDGSL Executive member Jayantha Chandrasiri said cinema represents the art sphere while operating as an industry. He said this industry should evolve to provide benefits to filmgoers.
Somaratne Dissanayake said FDGSL proposal has to be fine-tuned to strike a balance prior to implementing since more relevant parties will have feasible ideas. He said another proposal with the knowledge of former FDGSL Chairman Prasanna Vithanage has been submitted to authorities.
FDGSL Secretary Udayakantha Warnasuriya appreciated entrance of youth to the local cinema sphere as film directors at a transitional period like this.
He said inferior quality films made in 1990s was one crucial factor that made the industry lose its credibility and distribution of films go haywire.
Dr Dharmasena Pathiraja, Jeevan Kumaratunga, Sunil T Fernando, Mohan Hettiarachchi, Dilhani Ekanayake were others occuping the head table.
Salient Points in the proposed Policy Package by FDGSL
Short Term Proposals:
1.1) Regularization of the processes in distribution and exhibition Local Films.
1.2) Rectification of the Irregularities in Screening related Revenue Sharing arrangements which are currently in use.
1.3) Standardization of Digitalized Screening of films.
1.4) Regularization of the Infrastructure facilities available at Cinema Theatres
1.5) Regularization of the Authorization of shooting films.
1.6) Removal of unnecessary interference by miscellaneous Government Authorities that affects the Process of Film Production
1.7) Removal of barriers faced in obtaining services, facilities and equipment in film Production.
1.8) Importation of foreign films, distribution and Screening Long Term Proposals:
2.1) Establishment of an Institute for Cinematic Studies to create and contribute skilled professionals with in-depth knowledge in Cinematic studies to the nation
2.2) Facilitation of location and provision of the ‘land’ required for the erection of New Cinema Theatres on a Provincial and Regional Level.
2.3) Establishment of a “Film Archive” with the correct technology based most
professionally and technically required features.
2.4) Continuation of the International Film Festivals
2.5 ) Establishment of a National Film Development Fund.
2.6) Legislative Measures to protect and safeguard the local film industry and professionals ( Workers ) and the service providers from the adverse conditions that may negatively influence, which are already being experienced in the Local Film Industry.
2.7) Integration of Appreciation of Cinematic Art as a regular subject in to the curriculum of the General Certificate of Education (Ordinary Level) Examination.
2.8) Integration of Fundamentals of Cinematography as a regular subject in the curriculum for the General Certificate of Education (Advanced Level).
2.9 ) Establishment and Promotion of facilities for the development of Tamil Film Industry.
2.10) Arrangement of a basis for the Guidance, Control and Monitoring in the production of Films for Home Entertainment, which are not screened at the Regular Cinema Theatres.