Reflections from the film fraternity

A NETPAC round-table meet was recently held in the City, giving film buffs and scholars a chance to meet some of the renowned film critics and directors from across the world.

Ashley, Aruna Vasudev and Won Tuck Cheong.

Aruna Vasudev, the president of NETPAC  — Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema — was present, along with others like Biplab, a film director and film activist from Bangladesh; Won Tuck Cheong, secretary from Malaysia and Ashley Ratnavibhushana, the general manager of NETPAC from Sri Lanka.

Aruna Vasudev recalled the origins of NETPAC, which started with a magazine on Asian cinema called

Cinemaya. “Some of my friends and I started the magazine and we used to include articles from various film-makers from across Asia. At one of these meets, we sat down and decided to form NETPAC. Earlier, Asian films did not have any takers — no one knew about them. But today, people are aware of Malaysian films and Japanese films. It is important that our distributors show interest in distributing these films in India, as people do want to see them,” she explains.

Ashley, the general manager of NETPAC, points out that the organisation is compiling juries from various countries, so as to increase awareness regarding Asian films. “We are also publishing books from Sri Lanka, Korea and Vietnam,” he adds.

Won Tuck Cheong, from Malaysia, adds that being in NETPAC was an eye-opener. “We have very little exposure regarding Asian films.

One good thing about attending a film festival is that you meet so many new people who think like you; besides, there are discussions and debates. Many directors have got recognition through these kinds of fests. We have been able to spread awareness — however, not all the films that we recognise get monetary support. We are proud to say that we promote small film-makers as well and also plan to have a distribution system for them,” he notes.

Biplab, a Bangladeshi film-maker, says that featuring his films during such festivals have given him several interesting experiences. “Once, when I showed my film at a festival in Europe, a person took interest in it — but when I asked him if he would be interested in distributing my film, he politely refused. The point that I am trying to make is that Asian film-makers want some support from the film fraternity.

In Bangladesh, people consider it to be a great honour for anyone to get any recognition from Europe. But Europeans have a very different take on our films,” he reflects.

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