Thursday, April 5, 2012

Jammu Kashmir Film Industry

LIFE casts shadow on J&K film industry
Local film makers aghast over separate 'Ladakh section'

The Ladakh International Film Festival (LIFE) — highest movie festival in the world—which is expected to kicks off from June 15-17 in Ladakh has created controversies in Jammu and Kashmir regions of the state.
The film makers from Jammu and Kashmir allege the festival authorities of discrimination on basis of ‘ethnicity and regionalism’. The authorities have set four categories for film entry submission: Competition section, International (World Cinema) section, Indian section and Ladakh section.
According to the local film makers the festival is happening in J&K, Ladakh is part of the state and not a separate state. By keeping a separate section for the Ladakh, the authorities are undermining the film makers from Jammu and Kashmir regions of the state.
The festival authority makes mention of separate section for the Ladakh region. “Ladakh section aims at exploring new creative talent among Ladakhis and also to promote films made on Ladakh, by providing an opportunity to showcase their work in the process of exploring the magic of cinema in the magical land of Ladakh. Films in any format including their Mobile phones are accepted in this section. This section is open to only residents of Ladakh and films made on Ladakh. This section includes feature film, short film, animation films and documentary films,” the festival authorities mentions.

The film makers from Jammu and Kashmir regions of the state question the festival authority’s intention for keeping a separate section for Ladakh. “If there is separate section for Ladakhis, why other regions are left out?” local film Makers ask.

Well know and senior most film maker from Jammu, Shiv Dutt, said that the LIFE festival authority should amend the Ladakh section and include film makers from Jammu and Kashmir and not restrict it to Ladakhis only.

Actor and Director from Kashmir Qazi Faiz said, “The Bollywood is focusing much on the Ladakh region and ignoring Jammu and Kashmir regions of the state which should have not be the case.”

One of the renowned film makers in the valley, Ayash Arif said, “The film industry has flourished from Kashmir. There are talented film makers from the valley who have number of films on Ladakh by keeping a separate section and open to only residents of Ladakh they are discriminating. We strongly have resentment against it.” “This way they are discouraging the film makers from the valley,” he adds.

Another film maker from the valley, Shaftq Habib, said, “The festival authorities are segregating the film industry of the state.” Adding, the festival should not be region specific.

The television, producer/writer/actor/director Makhan Lal Saraf, whole state should be given entry in the Ladakh section. “Aim of the authority should be to promote Ladakh and it should kept open to all state subjects,” he added.

However, Festival Director, Melwyn, told Kashmir Times that they have chosen Ladakh for the festival as the region is an ecological fragile region and “we want globally highlight the attention on some of the issues that the region is facing.”  When asked about keeping separate section for Ladakh Melwyn said that the section is not restricted to the residents of Ladakh only this section is open to all. “We have received more than 50 entries from non- Ladakhis in the section,” he added.

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