Chhimi Dema

Bhutanese filmmakers and actors are attending two weeks training on film planning, shooting, and post-production.

This is for the growth of the film industry as the National Film Policy stated that the film industry’s growth remained quantitative without substantial improvement in the craft of filmmaking and storytelling.

The policy, which was framed in 2011, mostly remained on paper, according to those in the industry.

A film producer, Dorji Wangchuk, said that there is room for improvement in Bhutanese films. “The industry today is meeting the international technical standards but the storytelling and its relevance to the setting is still a challenge.”

He said that training like this will help those in the industry professionalise in the field.

Dorji Wangchuk said the industry has to change or grow with time. “One will not simply watch a Bhutanese film because of their cultural sentiments. We have to match up with the pace of international content.”

He said they are learning from the best in the industry, the South Korean film industry.

According to him, few individuals who attended the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) training before using the tools and techniques learned from the training in the field and it has brought immense change to how they tell stories.

Meanwhile, the training with 20 participants will end on May 27.

The participants are taught film directing, storytelling, cinematography techniques, post-production editing, management and scheduling.

An actor attending the training said that the industry is run by self-taught individuals. “Most artists in the field learn through experience and by observing others. This does not build professionalism.”

She cited the example of how an individual who gets a role appears on the shooting site the next day without studying the character.

She also said the content and role in the film industry are repetitive. “In such case, the actors cannot explore their potential and repetitive content bore the viewers.”

The actor said that KOICA’s training looks deep into creating a world around the characters. “The instructors so far taught us how to give life to the character whether they are protagonist or antagonist.”

The training is being initiated and funded by KOICA and implemented by KOICS (Korea International Cooperation Services) in collaboration with National Film Commission (NFC).

KOICA provided technical and financial assistance to the Bhutanese film industry since 2010. KOICA gave the grant to procure film equipment, trained Bhutanese filmmakers in Korea and provided a workshop on marketing strategy, pre-production and scriptwriting.

The agency also assisted the Department of Information and Media to set up the film commission.