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LAHORE: The Pakistani film industry has come up with proposals to bolster the crumbling industry that will be presented to Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz soon. The presentation is titled ‘Soft image opportunities: revival of the film industry’.
The presentation proposes:
1) There should be more interaction between the movie industry and education institutes. There should be a two-year degree in film making and the government should provide land to set up a film city in Lahore.
2) South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation countries should be lured to the Pakistan film industry by holding two award ceremonies for regional films. The government should create two national awards to recognise talent in poetry, music, script writing, production, photography, direction and acting.
3) Five Indian films should be imported each year to discourage piracy. The five films would be licensed, and a licence would also guarantee the export of five Pakistani film to India and their release in at least three major Indian cities in the same year.
The film industry estimated that more than Rs 200 million would be generated from the sale of each license. It proposed to use the income from Indian films to rebuild the film industry. It also suggested that the licences should be sold at an open auction to keep the process transparent.
It said that the cost of the licence would be so high that no one cinema could afford it and so they would have to raise the money with the help of each other. This would prevent cinema owners from monopolising the films, it said, adding that 20 percent of the licence money would have to be paid at the end of bidding and the rest before the censor certificate was issued.
“If the censor board rejects any film, the licensee will be allowed to exchange it with another film. The licensee will have to import all five films within a fiscal year, which will start after 30 days from the sale of the licence. Each successful bidder will be eligible for bidding again after five years,” says the presentation.
The presentation criticises the marginalised role of films in Pakistan industry and says that Indians having Hindi as their language, produced Urdu movies focusing on Pakistan as their prime market and expats as potential markets. The Pakistan film industry had failed to capture the Punjabi market of the Indian Punjab, which was a huge potential market for Pakistani Punjabi cinema.
The presentation points out that the government has overlooked approximately 20,000 shops in the country selling pirated films. “Foreigners will be insecure if their intellectual property is not protected. Piracy in Pakistan is so serious that it was put on top priority by the International Intellectual Property Alliance in 2004.”
The presentation has been prepared by Zafar Iqbal Chaudhry, chairman of the Senate standing committee on culture, sports and tourism, and Masood Ali Khan, advisor to the Senate standing committee.