The government bodies Films Division, National Film Archive of India, Children’s Film Society of India and Directorate of Film Festivals will be merged into the National Film Development Corporation, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar announced on Wednesday. “The merger of film media units under one corporation will lead to convergence of activities and resources and better coordination, thereby ensuring synergy and efficiency in achieving the mandate of each media unit,” a statement from the ministry said.
Each of the organisations performs distinct functions and is located in different cities. The National Film Development Corporation, which operates out of Mumbai, produces and provides funding for arthouse movies as well as runs the co-production platform Film Bazaar. Films Division, which is headquartered in a separate complex in Mumbai, produces documentaries and newsreels to promote the government’s programmes, alongside producing documentaries, short films and animated films on a range of subjects. Films Division also organises a biennial festival.
The Children’s Film Society of India, which is situated in the Films Division complex in Mumbai, commissions and produces movies aimed at children and young adults. The tasks of the Directorate of Film Festivals include the organisation of the National Film Awards, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award and the annual International Film Festival of India, facilitating screenings of Indian films in foreign countries, and selecting titles for IFFI’s Indian Panorama section. The Directorate also doubles up as an archive of the Indian films that have travelled to international festivals over the years.
The National Film Archive of India, which is located in Pune, is the repository of Indian cinema, storing movie prints, publicity material and writings on cinema down the ages. The Archive has also been involved in the acquisition of rare prints and the restoration of select titles.
“The Union Cabinet, which approved the merger of these media units in its meeting, also approved the appointment of a Transaction Advisor and Legal Advisor to advise on the transfer of assets and employees and to oversee all aspects of operationalisation of the merger,” the press release added. “While undertaking this exercise of convergence, interests of the employees of all the concerned media units will be fully taken care and no employee will be retrenched.”
The National Film Development Corporation’s current Managing Director is Dhanpreet Kaur, an Indian Police Service officer from the Punjab cadre. Dhanpreet Kaur, who is on deputation to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, is also one of the five members on the board, which includes two other ministry officials.
The decision seeks to bring the “promotion, production and preservation of filmic content” under one management. “The vision of the new entity will be to ensure balanced and focused development of Indian cinema in all its genres – feature films, including films /content for the OTT platforms, children’s content, animation, short films and documentaries,” the press release stated. The merger is aimed at “better and efficient utilisation of existing infrastructure and manpower” and a “reduction in duplication of activities and direct savings to the exchequer”, according to the ministry statement.