Monday, December 12, 2011

Film maker frustrated (BICMA) courtesy The Journalist

THE STRICT regulations laid down by BICMA are acting as a serious barrier to the creative and commercial development of the Bhutanese film industry according to insiders.
tshering Wangyel, a well-known film director was quoted as saying that while BICMA wants to promote Bhutan’s culture and tradition through its rules and regulations, it leaves no room for creativity, even to promote culture.
“If the rules and regulations remain the same then in the long-run, Bhutanese films will lack any creative touch, and ultimately the Bhutanese audiences will go back to watching foreign movies,” he said, adding that the stringent rules do not help the industry grow at all.
“Producers invest huge amounts of money and spend months to complete a film. So, they have to consider the taste of the audience in order to make a profit.”
Another filmmaker said that he felt “controlled and frustrated” by the regulations and that his creativity was restricted.

Film producers say they have no problems with censorship. For them, the problem is how the rule is enforced on filmmakers, but is not applied to other visual media whereby TV channels continue to air programs that do not contribute anything positive for the viewers.
“I am not against having certain guidelines for filmmaking especially at this initial phase. Films should be allowed to be as entertaining as possible and the filmmaking process should not be restricted with such rules and regulations,” said Sonam Phuntsho, who works at the Centre for Bhutan Studies.
As long as the filmmaker is not making something outrageous or who intends to create publicity by being controversial, they should be allowed full freedom to make film they want.
“Then we can have a strong, fair and qualified censor board to judge what should be kept or not kept.”
The new rules, which were laid down back in May, did not go down well with those involved in the film industry. The demand for strict dress codes means that characters in a film should not wear western clothing dress in public places and that any scenes shot in a discotheque would be strictly assessed.
The language code also requires filmmakers to avoid “Dzonglish” as far as possible. Bhutanese films are rated as some contain violence and sexual content, which is unfit for young children.
Many filmmakers and directors say most of the points in the checklist are too stringent when most films are made for commercial success.
One director asked, “Is the rule only for movie makers, or should it also apply to those running video shops that make money by distributing foreign movies, which certainly do not abide by the BICMA rules?”
According to BICMA’s governing examination and certification rules, a film is given a “U” certificate if it is suitable for unrestricted public viewing. Films with a “PG” endorsement means they are suitable for unrestricted public viewing but not for children below the age of 12. An “A” certificate is suitable for public viewing, but restricted to adults only.
However, one producer said that the suitability of watching a film is a matter of parental guidance. “Forcing us to only make films that can be viewed by all age groups limits a filmmaker’s creativity, and hence the poor quality of films that come out year after year.”
Explaining how creativity is affected, Director Pelden Dorji said that if an actor is a chain smoker and is dying of the habit, then he has to be seen smoking. “We cannot refrain from using certain scenes. If we have to hide the fact to show something based on reality, creativity is dead,” he said.
A script-writer has to self-censor all the content that is not acceptable to the rules and regulations of the country, he said, and that hampers the creative scope of the script.
Asked if international movies containing sexual and smoking scenes    that reach the Bhutanese audience should be allowed in the market, a BICMA official said the association is guided by the policy directives of the government, which does not have any particular specifications on such films.
BICMA says that its role, as mandated by the Bhutan Information, Communication and Media Act 2006, is very clear.
“I would suggest that BICMA creates a well qualified Censor Board with members who are neutral and know plenty about films themselves,” said Sonam Phuntsho. “I do not see a need for a separate set of rules and regulations. There is the BICMA Act that should suffice. That is the very purpose for the Act. If not, it means that the Act needs to be revised.”
He said if the rules and regulations contradict the creative intentions of filmmakers then the number of well-made and successful films will certainly decrease since filmmakers will not be able to make a film intended for public enjoyment.

Written by Administrator   ( The Journalist ) 
Monday, 21 November 2011 09:51

link for the article :

Pic belongs to the blogger =)


  1. well looks like the only solution is to make youtube videos :) get sponsors make them and show it to the world :)

  2. true! i feel those Filmmakers, rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are..Without change there ll be no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement..Lawmakers suck!

  3. I completely agree that having PG's for films are reasonable but i dont see how the rule of "PG" applies to the filmmakers. Its the parents that need to guide their children if the film made is suitable to watch. You cant suppress creativity of a filmmaker or anyone for that matter.
    Filmmaking is like voicing your opinions through visuals, portraying reality and so much more then one can imagine, and if that is taken away from the filmmakers, it would be like firing someone from their job or taking away something that is rightfully yours.

    However, I do agree that a lot of Bhutanese films are similar to Bollywood
    and Hollywood which somehow wipes out the Bhutanese culture to the outside world. So i think that number of scenes shot in such locations would not harm the creativity of filmmaker too much.