Documentaries need visibility and distribution; say filmmakers

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Panaji, Nov 27 (UNI) India should emulate the Western world's example of ensuring the visibility and distribution of documentary and short films, noted documentary filmmaker Supriya Sen said here today.

Speaking at the 'Open Forum' on Viability of Documentary and Short Films as part of the 38th IFFI, he said documentaries can be entertaining as well as serious which make the necessary impact on the viewers. In the West, documentaries are commercially released and are successful.

''We learn late and follow what is proven right in the western world. Hence, we should also follow the West example to promote documentaries properly,'' he felt.

Sen said even at the film festivals, documentary and short filmmakers are facing discrimination as their films are being screened in smaller auditoriums and not publicised properly.

Need of the hour was to address the requirements of the new generation of filmmakers, he said and added that public service broadcasters encourage documentaries everywhere in the world.

Both documentary filmmakers Sen and A B Sharma felt that television can take the initiative to ensure that documentaries reach maximum number of people.

Sen said documentaries were exploration of reality and provide a different kind of imagery. ''There is an audience for such kind of movies. Documentaries need visibility and distribution and public broadcasters like Doordarshan should take initiative in popularising the genre of documentary filmmaking,'' he asserted.

Moderator of the session Narhari Rao from Suchitra Film Society in Bangalore was of the view that television channels like History, Discovery, Animal Planet, National Geographic airs programmes for 24 hours. Almost the entire content is documentary and short films on various topics. These channels are being patronised by Indian companies through advertisements.

''It is sad that award winning Indian documentaries are not being counted,''he added.

Sen lamented that despite announcements that award winning documentaries will be aired on Doordarshan, nothing has happened on this count. Another delegate said Doordarshan should first start telecasting documentaries and others will follow.

Kuldeep Sinha, chief producer of Films Division said Doordarshan under Prasar Bharti was an autonomous body and it has to earn money to give salaries to its staff.

Another delegate felt that television channels shy away from screening documentaries and short films because there are no viewers. To which, Sinha pointed out, ''this is the second step. Let there be a channel first.'' He said a proposal for having an independent channel for screening only documentary films has already been sent to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

Narhari Rao also said Suchitra Film Society has been screening documentaries for several years in its premises.

Sen said the attitude of viewers towards documentaries should change. Documentary filmmakers do need philanthropic help but acceptability and visibility for their creations.


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