Utpal Borpujari

June 12, 2010

Global animation institute to cater to high-growth sector

By Utpal Borpujari

With animation, gaming and visual effects (VFX) industry emerging as the biggest export revenue earner after the IT sector, the government is moving forward to set up a world class institute to churn out professionals to work in this sector.

The Information & Broadcasting Ministry, which sometime ago had appointed a consultant to prepare a detailed project report for the planned National Centre for Animation, Gaming and Special Effects (NCAGSE), has also asked industry body FICCI to come up with a focused roadmap for the industry.

FICCI has been asked to prepare the focused roadmap after the body presented to the ministry a “general” roadmap about how to develop the three inter-linked sectors, I&B Ministry sources said here.

The government is excited about the prospects of the industry because of its growth pattern, the sources said. According to industry estimates, the animation industry is expected to grow to Rs 27.8 billion by 2011 from the current Rs 23.2 billion, with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 18.7 per cent.

The gaming industry is also expected to grow from Rs 9.8 billion to Rs 14 billion by 2011, with a CAGR of 32 per cent. Both growth rates, according to FICCI’s roadmap, are much higher than overall media & entertainment sector growth rate of 13 per cent.

With cutting edge technological advancements and increasing penetration of PCs, Internet and mobile phones, these segments should witness unprecedented growth, the roadmap said.

Ministry sources said the huge manpower potential resulting from the projected growth had prompted the government to push for setting up of the NCAGSE. “I&B Minister Ambika Soni has taken this up as one of the priority projects during the first year of UPA-II, along with that of upgrading FTII-Pune as a global film school,” the sources said.

In 2010, the gross revenues of the Indian animation industry and gaming are expected to exceed $ one billion and $350 million respectively, much of it coming through the outsourcing model in which production houses provide services to overseas clients.

“The I&B Ministry is looking at it as a big employment generator, since by this year end, according to industry estimates, the country will need 30,000 professionals in content development and animation,” the sources said.

As of now, the country has about 300 animation, 40 VFX and 35 game development studios, according to FICCI estimates.

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 12-06-2010)


May 18, 2010

Regional juries set to make a come back in National Film Awards

By Utpal Borpujari

A practice abandoned in the mid-1970s is all set to be revived as an expert panel tasked to suggest revamp of the National Film Awards has suggested that the judging process should be first at a zonal level and then at the national level.

The expert committee, chaired by noted filmmaker Shyam Bengal, has recommended that there should be a two tier viewing of films to facilitate the selection process of the National Film Awards. 

According to its suggestions, a central jury will choose films for various award categories from a short list chosen by five regional juries which will look at films made in various languages in those regions. 

The committee has also outlined guidelines for the regional jury composition. Incidentally, almost a similar jury system was in vogue decades ago, which was later scrapped apparently to overcome alleged intra-regional biases.

The committee, formed at the behest of Information & Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni to make the National Film Awards more contemporary, has also suggested constitution of new awards in audiography, music, best screenplay and dialogue.

It has suggested that the award for best art direction be called Best Production Design Award to reflect contemporary technology. Also, it has said that the number of awards in the feature film category be raised from 31 to 34 and the cash prize for special jury award in feature films be raised from Rs 1,25,000 to Rs two lakh.

For the non-feature film category too, the committee has made some key recommendations, including splitting of the award for the Best Film on Environment, Agriculture and Education into Best Educational Film and Best Film on Environment awards. 

It has also said that the cash component of awards for best non-feature film and best direction be enhanced from Rs one lakh to Rs two lakh so that they are brought at par with feature films. 

The report of the committee, comprising Benegal, Sai Paranjpye, Ashok Vishwanathan, Rajiv Mehrotra, Sharmila Tagore, Vishal Bhardwaj, Nagesh Kukunoor, Mohan Agashe, Waheeda Rehman, Jahnu Barua and Shaji Karun, was presented by Benegal a few days ago to Soni, who promised immediate processing of the recommendations.

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 17-05-2010)


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