Copied and pasted from Bhutan Times
BY TSHERING CHUKI GYAMTSHO
Thimphu: The proverbial representation of a censor as one caricatured wielding large scissors with a wicked grin is proving just so for Bhutanese filmmakers who complain that the snips and cuts are stifling creativity.
The Film Development Board, comprising people with little or no technological knowledge about films and even less about existing reality, censor films on the whim and mood of the members. Producers say this can be confirmed by the fact that some scenes censored from one film are allowed in another.
“There are no written dos and don’ts and the rules seem to differ from film to film which makes us very confused,” said one filmmaker. “A film is not only about creativity but also about reality. If we are not allowed to present things as they are today, then we are not dealing with creativity but more with propaganda,” he said.
The censoring of scenes, according to producers, is proving quite expensive as they have to either re-shoot or edit out portions on which they have had to spend substantially. One producer recommends that the Film Development Board go through the screenplay and make necessary cuts to save time and money. Presently, only a synopsis is required for a film to be approved for production.
The Film Development Board members, however, say that they strictly follow the guidelines set by the Bhutan Information and Communication Authority (BICMA). Instead of being over zealous on the cuts, they maintain that they have been very lenient so far.
“We have never rejected a movie even if the movie hasn’t met the technical qualification,” said Phub Tshering, a member of the board, who feels the need to scrutinize the technical aspects of films as well. “We can’t allow a half baked cake to be eaten,” he said.
Board members say that despite their commenting on films as an audience, there has been no real improvement in the quality of films. “Our intentions are not to stop filmmakers from making a movie, we want to make the film industry in Bhutan grow, but in a positive way,” said Phub Tshering.
The board, recently reconstituted with new members from all walks of life, is currently working with BICMA to develop a new set of proper guidelines for movie previews. “After finalizing it, I am sure things will be much better,” said Dorji Wangchuk, another member of the board and the Vice President of the motion Picture Association of Bhutan.
Films are censored for scenes that depict anything negatively or could act as a negative influence on the youth.