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Films Division markets its 8,000-film legacy

By Frederick Noronha, IANS

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Sitting on a huge archive of 8,000 films that capture on reel the often dramatic story of post-independence India, the Films Division is looking at technology to preserve the legacy and market it further.

The government body, which comes under the ministry of information and broadcasting, is putting out its web cast of a few hundred films at its site

In addition, it is also converting its 8,000-strong film archives into VCDs, an inexpensive method that allows for the transfer of cinematic images into discs that can even be viewed on an ordinary personal computer.

The Films Division put together its vast repertoire between the 1960s and 1980s when non-commercial cinema was mostly government-supported.

Some of these works are being sold at Rs. 104 per CD, Films Division officials taking part at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) under way at Goa said here.

These include films on Indian cinema itself, music, dance, maestros, eminent personalities, people and places.

Officials here said their stall at the film bazaar here is getting a good response, "particularly from those who love documentaries and are enthusiastic about procuring these rare films".

Telecast and marketing rights are also being sold, both for within the country and abroad.

Though technology has changed the field vastly with lower costs meaning that even struggling filmmakers don't have to depend on official patronage, it was not always so. Aspiring directors needed to get central or regional government grants to produce non-commercial films on Indian themes. And that's where the importance of the Films Division came in.

Films Division has invited film societies to come forward as partners in staging festivals of award-winning documentaries. Organisations from abroad coming with such proposals were also welcome, officials said.

It recently organised an international film festival in collaboration with the Mauritius Film Development Corporation (NFDC) in the Indian Ocean country.


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