The industry is going through the worst possible time: Pakistan Film Producers Association

PFPA is now proposing co-production with other countries to sustain local cinema

Adnan Lodhi February 17, 2020
Photo: File

LAHORE: In light of the recent decline of cinemas in the country, despite a supposed ‘revival’, senior producers in the industry have teamed up with the Pakistan Film Producers Association (PFPA) to demand the government to make moves for the betterment of the industry.

Asking to open up channels of co-production with other countries like Turkey, China, Iran, South Korea and Bangladesh, the veterans as well as newer drivers of the industry are looking to ensure the survival of the film industry. However, no efforts have been made as yet from the government’s side.

According to their demands, the industry is going through the worst possible time, thanks to the non-availability of local films, as well as Bollywood films that have been banned from showing in local cinemas for around a year now – Bollywood films have brought in considerable crowds in the past years.

Photo: File Photo: File

“The Pakistani film industry is passing through the worst time since its inception, and this time it’s not just the growth of new cinemas that has been halted, but the number of screens has also decreased, thanks to the non-availability of film viewers owing to less films,” the chairman of PFPA, Sheikh Amjad Rasheed, said.

He went on to explain the prevailing phenomenon, saying, “The gap has been created because of the ban on Indian films as well since they would occupy about 60% of the available screens and thus provide an incentive for new screens to be considered.” He also mentioned how the PFPA has been in touch with the Ministry of Information to discuss and orchestrate the revival of cinema; however, it seems that their demands have fallen on deaf ears. “We proposed the idea of co-producing plays and web-series, as well as the import and export of films with China, South Korea, Iran, Bangladesh and Turkey among other countries,” he added.

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Following the government’s inaction, the PFPA and other local producers are increasingly concerned – such a decline in business amid a long overdue revival is proving to be a big set-back for the stakeholders in the business of film and cinema. To put it in perspective, only 20 films were released last year, across all genres and languages including Urdu, Punjabi and Pashto. Out of these 20, only a handful did good business, while the others failed to attract crowds or create any buzz at the box-office. It is also pertinent to mention that there have been no substantial local releases so far in 2020 as well.

At a time like this, the demands of PFPA hold much weight.

“Recently, the President of Turkey visited Pakistan but the topic of co-production of films was not brought up by engaging local film producers. India is currently co-producing a number of projects with other countries and their government is providing their full support. We cannot survive without co-production, and so it is our request that the government and relevant authorities play their role to aid us,” said Chaudhry Ejaz Kamran, Senior Producer and Chairman of the Pakistan Film Distributors Association.

“Local producers have noted that there are huge opportunities and space for our local films and as well as co-production on their recent visits to other countries so it is imperative that we tap into this,” he added.

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