In an effort to improve and promote filmmaking in the country, the government will fund the construction of a four-storey complex for the film industry.

The complex will house the offices of the Bhutan Film Association, classrooms, conference centres, and a film studio, among others.

The structure will also provide filmmakers with a controlled environment in which to shoot their films.

The complex is expected to further improve and promote the art of filmmaking in Bhutan.

It is also another milestone for the film industry which has come a long way. Today, it is a major industry employing hundreds and playing a significant role in building local content, promoting Dzongkha and our culture.

At one point of time, Bhutanese only watched Bollywood and Hollywood films. While we still do watch Bollywood and Hollywood, the demand is overwhelmingly for local films today.

The industry, whether it is aware or not, already plays a large role in shaping society.

It is for this reason that it is hoped that the complex aids in not only improving the technical quality of local films, but also in terms of substance.

While there are exceptions, one common criticism is that the mainstream media lacks originality or that a common formula of including romance, one or two popular comedians, violence, and tragedy, is usually followed.

This is understandable. The film industry is young and investments have to be recovered. But the industry needs to have a calling to go beyond just profit. Good films that gets the viewer to think instead of only being entertained still can earn money. Easier said than done but the complex should provide a platform in which filmmakers, producers, scriptwriters, actors, and others can sit down, deliberate and decide the future of Bhutanese filmmaking.

We already know the potential of our local filmmakers. We already have a small group of independent filmmakers whose works have been recognised at notable big name international film festivals. Just this year, a few were shortlisted, screened and recognised.

The challenge for our filmmakers is making films that can connect with our local audiences but also go beyond any formula. It’s been done elsewhere. It can be done here as well.