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Cinema in India

Films Division

The Films Division was constituted in January 1948 by re-christening the erstwhile Information Films of India and the Indian New Parade set up in 1943, primarily for war coverage. The Cinematograph Act of 1918 was Indianised in 1952 which made the screening of documentary films compulsory throughout the country.

Since 1949, Films Division has been releasing a documentary or news- based or an animation film every single Friday for the theatres spread across the country, in 15 national languages. Over the decades, the Division has virtually recorded the country's entire post-independence history. With headquarters in Mumbai, Films Division is equipped with all facilities of production studios, recording theatres, editing rooms, animation unit, cameras, video set-up and preview theatres. Dubbing of films in 15 Indian languages is also done in-house.

The story of the Films Division is synchronous with the eventful years of the country since Independence and over the last 60 years. The Division has been motivating the broadest spectrum of the Indian Public with a view to enlisting their active participation in nation building activities. The aims and objectives of the Division, focused on national perspectives, are to educate and motivate people in the implementation of national programmes and to project the image of the land and the heritage of the country to Indian and foreign audiences. The Division also aims at fostering the growth of the documentary film movement, which is of immense significance to India in the field of national information, communication and integration.

The Division produces documentaries, short films, animation films and news magazines from its headquarters at Mumbai, films on Defence and family welfare from Delhi unit and short fiction films for rural audience from the regional production centers at Kolkata and Bangalore. The Division caters to nearly 8500 cinema theatres all over the country and to the non theatrical circuits like units of the Directorate of Field Publicity, mobile units of the State Governments, Doordarashan, field units of the Department of Family Welfare, educational institutions, film societies and voluntary organizations. The documentaries and newsreels of State Government are also featured in the Division's release on the theatrical circuit. This Division also sells prints, stock shots, video cassettes and distribution rights of documentaries and feature films in India and abroad. Apart from production of films, Films Division also gives on hire, its studio, recording theatre, Editing Rooms & other Cine Equipments to private film makers.

Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India has entrusted the task of organizing the MIFF for Documentary, Short and Animation Films to Films Division.

The aim of MIFF contest is the dissemination of images contributing to wider knowledge and close knit fraternity among the nations of the world. This event provides a unique opportunity and platform to filmmakers, film producers, distributors, exhibitors and film critics from different countries to meet and interact during festival. Over the year, MIFF has become a preferred and much awaited event for the filmmakers to showcase their work, internet and exchange ideas. MIFF began in historic journey way back in 1990 and since then it has grown in size and stature as one of the promise international events of the documentary film movement. The biennial MIFF is attended by a large number of prominent documentary and short filmmakers and intellectuals, students from India and other parts of the world. Nearly, 35-40 countries with more than 500 entries participate in every edition of the festival. The 10th edition of MIFF for Documentary, short and Animation was held from 3- February; 2008 at National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai in co-operation with the Government of Maharashtra.

The organization of the Division is broadly divided into four wings viz.

  • Production,
  • Distribution,
  • International documentary, Short and Animation Film Festival and
  • Administration

Production Wing

The production wing is responsible for production of films such as

  • Documentary Films
  • short Feature films specially designed for rural audience
  • Animation films and
  • Video films.

In addition to the headquarters at Mumbai, three production centres of the Division are located at Bangalore, Kolkata and New Delhi.

The documentaries range in theme and topic from agriculture to art and architecture, from industry to the international scenes, from food to festivals, from health care to housing, from science and technology to sports, from trade and commerce to transport, from tribal welfare to community development etc. Normally, the division reserves about 40 percent of its production schedule for allotment to independent film makers from all over the country with a view to encouraging individual talent and thus promoting the documentary movement in the country.

In addition to its normal production programme, the Division provides assistance to all the Ministries and Departments of Government including public sector organizations. in producing documentary films.

Newsreel Wing of films Division encompasses a network spread over main cities and towns including State and Union Territory capital engaged in covering of major events, VVIP visits, etc to the different parts of the country and abroad and other events like natural calamities etc. These coverages are used for making the fortnightly news magazines and also in compilation of archival material.

Famed Cartoon Film Unit of Films Division has also become high-tech with computer animation replacing cell or classical animation. Equipped with the state of the art technology both in hardware and software, the Unit now can churn out productions in U.S. animation, 2-D and 3-D animation with advanced software including Opus, Concerto, High-end and Maya.

The Commentary Section looks after the dubbing of films and news magazines into 14 Indian languages and foreign languages from the basic version (English/Hindi).

The Delhi based Unit of the Division has the responsibility of production of instructional and motivational films for the Ministry of Defense and the Department of Family Welfare and other Ministries/Deptts. With a view to adapting to the changing scenario, the unit has lately been equipped with video film making facilities.

The regional centres of the Division at Kolkata and Bangalore also produce social and educational documentaries to spread the message of social and national issues such as family welfare, communal harmony, dowry, bonded labour, untouchability. etc.

Distribution Wing

The Distribution Wing (DHO) is headed by the Officer-in-charge of Distribution and control 10 Distribution Branch Offices situated in Kolkata, Lucknow, Nagpur, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Bangaluru, Chennai, Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram. These branches are headed by either Sr. Branch Manager or Branch Manager who function as Head of Office as well as DDO of the Branches concerned and are responsible for the supply of approved films to all the cinema theatres (required under the Central Cinematograph Act, 1952), execution of Agreement, issue of films Division Certificate as well as collection of 1% rent from the exhibitors.

Films Division has released 262 prints of 52 Approved films (Total; 13676) in lock with 8 film of NFDC (total: 2024 prints) every week to 8410 cinema houses through out the country and has earned Rs.. 6,01,42,481/- as rent revenue up to March,2008.

The distribution Wing has redefined itself and has made Film Festivals a regular activity at State and district levels, independently as well as in collaboration with NGOs, film societies, educational institutions etc; to reach out to the masses and to promote and encourage documentary movement. The Distribution Branch Offices have conducted 50 film festivals till March 2008 reaching out to even the remotest places in India. These festivals were appreciated by the audiences from all walks of life.

Film Library Section

The Film Library of films Division is treasure of valuable archival material of India's contemporary history and its rich heritage and artistic traditions. It is in great demand by the Film makers throughout the world. It contributes vital footage for the production of films by rendering services besides bringing out revenue through the stock footage sale. The total collection of film Library is about 1.9 lakhs items of 8200 titles which include original picture negatives, depu/inter negatives, sound negatives, master inter positives, saturated prints, pre dub sound negatives, 16 mm prints, library prints and answer prints etc. The films are categorized based on the archival value as Most Precious, Precious and Normal films. 1102 film of Most Precious category have been restored digitally in high definition format, and 4213 titles have been transferred on Standard Definition Format. This library has user friendly computerized information system. The details of Film Library are also available in the web site.

Administrating Wing

The Administration Wing provides the necessary facilities like Finance, Personnel, Stores, Accounts, Factory Management and General Administration. This Wing is directly under the control of Senior Administrative Officer who is assisted by the following officers:

  • Assistant Administrative Officers in the matters relating to personnel Management, Purchase, General Administration, Vigilance and Security.
  • Accounts Officer in consultation with Internal Festival Adviser in the matters of Finance and Accounts.

Central Board of Film Certification

The CBFC, set up under the Cinematograph Act, 1952, certifies films for public exhibition in India. It consists of a Chairperson and twenty-five other non-official members. The Board has its headquarters at Mumbai and nine regional offices located at Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Cuttack, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi and Thiruvananthapuram. The regional offices are assisted in the examination of films by advisory panels consisting of persons from different walks of life. Smt. Sharmila Tagore, a well-known film personality, is presently working as Chairperson of the Board.

A total of 43 Indian Feature Films and 16 Foreign Feature Films were refused certificates as they were found to violate one or more of the statutory guidelines issued by the Central Government under section 5B(2) of the Cinematograph Act, 1952. Some of them were subsequently certified in their revised versions.

The 108th meeting of the members of the Central Board of Film Certification was held on 27th March, 2006 at Hyderabad. The 109th meeting of the members of the Central Board of Film Certification was held on 31st July, 2006 at Bangalore. The 110th meting of the members of the Central Board of Film Certification was held-on 17th December, 2006 at Pondicherry. All the meetings were presided over by Ms Sharmila Tagore, the Chairperson of the Board.

Workshops were held for Advisory Panel Members for censoring of films. As in the last year, workshops were arranged at various regional centres for the benefit of the members of the Advisory Panels and Examining Officers. Various issues involved in the examination of the films were discussed at the workshops and cut portions from some selected films were screened to illustrate the various guidelines for certification of films. The need for observing a code of conduct and discipline was also emphasised.

Under the Cinematograph Act, neither the Board nor the Central Government has power to enforce the Board's decisions at the time of public exhibition of films. The authority rests with the State Governments and Union Territory Administrations. The Board has, from time to time, sought to systematise the detection of interpolations in films.

During the period January to December 2006, 46 cases of interpolations in films were detected at various places and the verification reports were sent to the concerned Judicial Magistrates for necessary action.

The workload of CBFC has increased considerably due to the certification of film various channels as per the Mumbai High Court Judgment. The increase in certification of video films has increased from 4188 in 2005 to 7129 in 2006. In order to speed up the certification work meet the target and time limit CBFC has distributed the work of different satellite channels to different regions of CBFC Additional Examining Officers have been taken on deputation from other Central Government Offices to dispose off the films.

National Film Development Corporation Limited

NFDC was incorporated in 1975. It got restructured in 1980 after amalgamation of IMPEC and FFC. The primary objective of NFDC is to foster excellence in cinema and to develop state-of-the-art technology in audio-visual and related fields. The main activities of the Corporation includes financing and producing of films with creative and artistic excellence, on socially relevant themes and experimental in form. The NFDC arranges distribution and dissemination of films through various channels. NFDC provides essential preproduction and post-production infrastructure to the film industry, keeping pace with the latest technology. The NFDC also endeavours to promote culture and understanding of cinema by organizing Film Weeks, Indian Panaroma and Film Festivals in collaboration with Film Societies, National Film Circle and other Agencies representing Indian and Foreign Films.

The NFDC encourages the concept of low-budget films which are high in quality, content and social values.

NFDC's film PARINAAMAM (Malayalam) directed by Venu, has won international award for best screen play in ASHDOD International Film Festival, Israel.

The corporation in collaboration with CII has organized Film Bazaar at Goa during the IFFI.

The Cine Artistes Welfare Fund of India set-up by NFDC, is the biggest ever trust in the Indian Film Industry with a corpus fund of Rs. 4.48 crore.

Directorate of Film Festivals

The Directorate of Film Festivals was set up under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in 1973 with the prime objective of promoting good cinema. This is undertaken by organizing a range of activities under these broad categories.

  • The International Film Festival of India.
  • The National Film Awards and the Dada Saheb Phalke Award.
  • Cultural Exchange Programme and organizing screening of Indian films through the missions abroad.
  • The selection of Indian Panorama.
  • Participation in international film festivals abroad.
  • Special film expositions on behalf of the Government of India.
  • Print collection and documentation.

These activities provide a unique platform for exchange of ideas, culture and experiences between India and other countries in the field of cinema. It also provides a powerful platform for Indian cinema and fosters commercial opportunities for Indian films. Within the country, the latest trends in global cinema are made accessible to the general public, film industry and students.

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Source: India 2010 - A Reference Annual

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