Chhimi Dema

The heart of any film is the script.

To contribute to the improvement of Bhutanese storytelling and to take the film industry to the international level, an initiative called the National Script Development Grant awarded three individuals with a grant to develop their ideas into film scripts.

The award, consisting of financial support of Nu 50,000 for two winners, and Nu 25,000 for a special jury mention, was given on June 15.

Under the initiative, eight finalists from 32 entries attended 10 days training with national and international experts on professional screenplay writing.

The participants learnt observation writing, the concept of storytelling, and screenplay.

A winner of the grant, Ngawang Choden, said the initiative helped bring her imagination to words.

She said that the most important thing she learned from the class is ensuring the audience could see the visuals in their head as they read the script.

She added that they were taught to internalise, conceptualise and apply the learning in a way that the quality of the script is a priority. “These lessons are imperative to building the quality of Bhutanese cinema.”

The other winners were Dechen Y Choden and Deki Wangmo.

The initiative was funded by the Golan Pictures and Shangreela.

A filmmaker, Chand RC, said that the Bhutanese film industry over the past 20 years remained quantitative in its growth. “But in the quality of storytelling, we are not on par with the global standards.”

He said that the film industry has the potential to create job opportunities with support from different stakeholders. “One filmmaker can employ at least 45 individuals for five to six months. If the government supports five independent filmmakers, they would be employing 250 to 300 jobseekers.”

International reports state that with the increasing global success and globalisation of the Korean Film industry, the industry “evolved to be a content powerhouse with the popularity of ‘K-Wave’ dramas, film, and music”.

The industry’s worth was estimated to be USD 5 billion in 2019.

Chand RC said that in the global scenario, the creative performing arts and entertainment industry is worth USD 300 billion. “The Bhutanese film industry has huge untapped potential.”