Despite two OTT platforms, Bhutan’s small film industry struggles to tap local narratives

In the last year, profit has grown for the industry as it managed to reach a wider audience through OTT platforms, Chand RC, a Bhutanese filmmaker, was quoted as saying. These platforms also presented many opportunities. However, he said, the films are lacking in tapping local narratives. 

May 26, 2022
Image
Representational Photo

Last year, two things had brought the global limelight to Bhutan, a small, low-profile nation of around 700,000 people, situated in the eastern Himalayas. First was its effective Covid prevention program and the second, “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom”, a Bhutanese film selected for Oscar nominations in 2021. The latter showed the country’s quest to sustain its small, yet important, film industry despite immense odds.

Bhutan is a relatively closed society and its government gives high priority to preserving its culture and traditional values, and zealously protects it from outside influences. However, this has become a challenging task in the digital era, where cultural and other influences travel faster through social media platforms than any other medium.

In the last two years, the Bhutan government supported the launch of two OTT platforms, focusing on developing and sustaining a healthy, homegrown film industry basing its narrative on local culture.

While the move has encouraged the local filmmakers, who otherwise struggle to market their films, most films—barring a few that managed to reach international film festivals— were below the mark, when it comes to producing quality content with local cultural narrative, according to a report in Kuensel.

In the last year, profit has grown for the industry as it managed to reach a wider audience through OTT platforms, Chand RC, a Bhutanese filmmaker, was quoted as saying. These platforms also presented many opportunities. However, he said, the films are lacking in tapping local narratives. 

Improved profit will help the industry to transition to new technologies and better equipment, he said. He felt the industry should support ideas and concepts that were rooted in the country’s cultural diversity rather than bringing references from outside.

He fears the growing outside influence could diminish the chances of local narratives. “OTT platforms have opened a space for discussion for change but the kind of change we want depends largely on the collaborative effort of everyone involved,” he said.

Although the industry got a boost with the coming of OTT platforms, the challenges of copyright infringements, and piracy, remain key challenges. Recently, several films were circulated on social media platforms.

(SAM) 

Post a Comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
Photo

Newsletter Subscription

The subscriber's email address.
Stay informed - subscribe to our newsletter.
Tweets about SAMonitor
SAM Facebook