Pakistani government initiates grant program for filmmakers

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    The Pakistani film industry is currently struggling and facing a decline in popularity. The number of cinema houses in the country is less than 100, making it difficult, if not impossible, to produce films and earn profits.

    However, in order to address this issue, Federal Minister for Information, Maryam Aurangzeb, has taken a step forward. Under her initiative, special grants will be provided to filmmakers in Pakistan for film production, with a budget allocation of 2 billion rupees in the federal budget.

    Federal Minister for Information, Maryam Aurangzeb, said that Pakistan is a beautiful country and it has great potential for “screen tourism,” creating excellent opportunities.

    The term “screen tourism” or film tourism refers to a place that becomes popular because it was featured in a film.

    According to Federal Minister of Information, Mariam Aurangzeb, the primary objective of this grant is to preserve Pakistan’s history and promote culture at the global level.

    She stated that this grant will facilitate Pakistani filmmakers and enable them to showcase their work internationally.

    It was clarified that this grant of 2 billion PKR is not a loan but a grant that will be given to filmmakers, and the financial assistance for each film will be decided based on its individual merit. Additionally, a Film Council consisting of ten members will be formed to make decisions regarding the allocation of funds for film production.

    The Minister of Information mentioned that a 10-member council has been formed for this matter, comprising representatives of the Producers Association and heads of various institutions. The Film Council will have the authority to decide how much funding can be provided as assistance for film production.

    Mariam Aurangzeb clarified that the purpose of this additional funding is to broaden the scope of film subjects, thus promoting film tourism as well.

    Notably, 50-60% of the revenue from each cinema ticket goes to the cinema, while 5-15% is distributed among the distributors. Producers only receive a difficult 30% share of the film’s earnings.

    In other words, if a film is made for 50 million PKR, the producer needs to earn at least 150 million PKR to recover their investment.

    Due to the limited number of cinema halls in Pakistan, it has been challenging for filmmakers to recoup their investments. This can be estimated from the fact that in 2022, the film “Maula Jatt” could not be released, and other films also struggled to recover their costs.

    The step taken by the federal minister has been welcomed by Pakistan’s filmmakers, who expressed hope that the process of obtaining the grant for filmmaking will be transparent.

    Fizza Ali Meerza, a leading filmmaker in Pakistan, stated that the government’s decision is expected to yield the best results.

    Nadeem Mandviwalla, a private cinema owner, mentioned that this is an encouraging development for filmmakers and will provide them with greater courage. Due to the scarcity of cinemas in Pakistan, many filmmakers were unable to make films. Now, this issue will be resolved.

    Hassan Zia, the head of Mastermind Productions, said that the government needs to ensure that this allocated funding benefits genuine filmmakers and does not benefit fraudulent individuals.

    Regarding the well-being of artists, Mariam Aurangzeb mentioned an insurance scheme worth one billion PKR, which will be proposed by the Film Producers Association. This scheme will provide assistance through the health cards of the beneficiaries.

    Sajid Hasan, an actor, expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shahbaz Sharif, and the Federal Minister of Information, Mariam Aurangzeb, for their special efforts, and saluted them.

    In this regard, actor Behroze Sabzwari stated that it will greatly help many artists who were deprived of medical facilities, and it should also be beneficial for the camera crew and other technical personnel associated with this industry.

    It is worth noting that last year, the current government included a dedicated film policy in the budget with the personal efforts of Federal Minister of Information, Mariam Aurangzeb.