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New fund by Osian's to finance filmmakers

The founder of Asia's one of the leading film festivals, Neville Tuli has announced the setting up of a fund especially to encourage young filmmakers from Asia, Africa and the Arab countries.
By Annie Samson Annie Samson | PTI, Annie Samson New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 27, 2007 01:47 PM IST

As the capital bears witness to the ninth edition of Osian's Cinefan, one of Asia's leading film festivals, its founder Neville Tuli has announced the setting up of a fund especially to encourage young filmmakers from Asia, Africa and the Arab countries.

The Osian's Cinematic Pvt Ltd's fund will finance 20 to 30 filmmakers who will be given 10,000 to 25,000 dollars each for making a film. The criteria for selection will be based on the individual filmmakers previous works and there would be no prior scrutiny of script as is done by other funding agencies, says Tuli.

"We need bold, radical and fearless ideas and scripts that do not impose or demand any commercial consideration. Then only can Indian cinema be taken to be considered to be at par with international standards, says Tuli who points that "it is important to give our first time filmmakers encouragement."

Tuli, who heads the Mumbai-based Osian Foundation, known for its art auctions and is focussing on creating an arts institute in the country says, there is mediocrity in the culture of cinema.

"Today what we see in cinema does not respect the values of creativity. As we make entry into film production we hope out of 20 minds one might succeed and instead of the auction house proceeds sponsoring films it would be able to sustain itself independently," he says.

"Even a great filmmaker can make a bad film at times," he says adding that the aim is to facilitate availability of infrastructure to filmmakers so that they are able to fulfill their dreams of making artistic and purposeful cinema.

Shortlisting filmmakers will be completed by October this year, and the fund project will be ready to roll out in January 2008.

Tuli says he expects the final productions to go on the floors within six months.

Osian's that began by launching an archive of cinema went on to bring out the journal Cinemaya and the festival-Cinefan and acquired the Minerva theatre in Mumbai will now venture into film production and financing with 'Food' -the Film Fund: Osian's Originating Development.

"Cinema is a great creative force that enables to record the changes that are happening, through cinema all artistic cultural disciplines get absorbed and shared creating linkages and form a dialogue to emerge as a sociological event that oozes out creativity, says Tuli.

"It is only now that we feel we are ready to enter the economic of cinema. We have done this only after accumulating knowledge and research," he says.

India does not have a great cinematic culture. It is true that there is passion and a love for cinema . But to gain an understanding of the cinema the public needs access to more museums, archives and film festivals.

"The mediocrity of the mind should be tackled with creating love for cinema through access to them. Cinefan tries to increase access at all levels be it students, the lay person, or anybody who has a love for cinema," he points out.

For him art cinema and mainstream cinema are futile divisions that have come into being. "People are now recognising that there is great cinema and not so great cinema," says the British born and brought up Tuli , adding that he believes in creating a strong self supporting framework for the heritage of cinema.

"When I returned from England I was shocked by what I saw here. You can see valuable books being sold at pavements, monuments lying in neglect, contemporary paintings are not appreciated and thousands of years of creativity on the footpath," Tuli told.

"That's when I asked myself what can I do to change all that? I spent a lot of time travelling across the country visting architectural sites, and other places of historical significance and set up Osian's, the country's first auction house and arts institution. Set up in 2000 Tuli says it is the foundation for his model for Indian arts, which envisages a merit-conscious and financially self-sufficient infrastructure.

"We need a new infrastrcture for art and culture. Filmmakers artists and others who are in the process of creating art cannot be bothered by the constraint of finances or government backing."

The ongoing nine-day festival that began in the capital will see screenings of over 140 films from 30 countries with special emphasis on Japanese cinema and expects 60-0000 to 70,000 people to attend.

"We have tied up with the PVR chain of multiplex to screen some of the movies. The idea is to give the ordinary person access to some great cinema."

All multiplex organisations are realising that cinema is not just watching films but a whole cultural experience, he says.
Personally, the entreprenuer says he loves comedy. " I have always loved comedy. It does not matter where it comes from. The cinema of today does not has comedy."

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