Archive for October 16th, 2007

Growing Film Industry in Bhutan

16th October 2007

The New York Times has a fascinating article about the burgeoning film industry in the tiny mountain kingdom of Bhutan. Tshering Penjore is now a full-time screenwriter (he wrote seven scripts in the pat twelve months), and yet a year ago he was aide de camp to Bhutan’s crown prince.

Mr. Penjore’s story is typical of the growing film industry in Bhutan, which until very recently had closed itself off, by choice, from the rest of the world. Last year a record 24 films were produced in the tiny Himalayan kingdom, population 700,000; in 2003 the total was only six. (India, by comparison, made more than 1,000 movies last year.) The only theater in Bhutan’s capital city, Thimpu, is booked for the next nine months.

Budget constraints force filmmakers to use digital technology instead of film stock, and most of the players are self-taught. But directors are churning out movies at the dizzying pace of four a year. Sixty production companies are now registered with the Motion Picture Association of Bhutan.

There are only six theatres in the country that can screen films, therefore only films made in Bhutan are shown due to fierce demand. Films that follow the Bollywood formula are popular, and films that take a mimetic approach are less appreciated in Bhutan. In 1999 the revered Buddhist lama, Khyentse Norbu, created the country’s first film, Phörpa (The Cup), and followed it in 2003 with Travellers and Magicians, which jump-started the film industry in Bhutan.

Indian Oscar Controversy

16th October 2007

According to The Globe and Mail India may not put forward any films for an Oscar in the foreign film category this year due to alleged bias in the selection process.

The Bombay High Court has asked the federation to respond to a lawsuit challenging the selection of well-known filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Eklavya: The Royal Guard.

First-time director Bhavna Talwar filed a petition claiming one panelist on the 11-member jury had edited a promotional short film for Eklavya, and that two other jury members were also close to Chopra.

Talwar’s Dharm was passed over for Eklavya, a thriller starring Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences requires an entry in the foreign film category by Wednesday, and it seems unlikely the controversy will be resolved by then.