Prasar Bharati to telecast independent films

Awhile ago, a group of film-makers jointly filed a petition, called Save Indie Cinema to the government urging it to address the threat to independent cinema in India. In response to the petition, Prasar Bharati, a statutory body comprising Doordarshan Television Network and All India Radio, has announced that it will telecast independent films on Doordarshan. Film-maker Onir confirmed, "It's a big step for all of us. With this announcement all National Award winning films, feature and documentary, plus films that go to international film festivals immediately qualify to be aired on the channel. And even the money that is being offered right now is better now." Now films that have already been telecast on TV will get ` 15 lakh and the ones that premiere with Doordarshan will be paid ` 25 lakh.

Talking about the importance of this development, Onir said, "Its an important step for all indie and documentary film-makers of the country because, in this day of digital cinema, a lot of people are doing experimental films which go to film festivals but don't find a release in India." The petition had two parts - one, concerning the telecast of indie films on Doordarshan and the second, urging the formation of theatres to exclusively screen independent films. As one portion of the petition has been successfully answered, the petitioners are now focusing on the second. "On May 2, we will hold a press conference in New Delhi, where we will talk about this need. All over the world, especially in Europe, they have a separate chain of theatres which show independent cinema. In India, even if they have one in different states, in the next five years, we can easily have 60 theatres which can show these films and become an independent distribution mode. It won't happen overnight. And for that we need the support of the government," Onir concluded.

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