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The Negative Impact of Genre Discrimination on Filmmakers, Audience, and the Economic Growth of the Regional film industry

Picture of Tarunabh Dutta

Tarunabh Dutta

Genre Discrimination

Table of Contents

Introduction: 

Hello, fellow independent filmmakers and movie lovers around the world.

I hope this message finds you all well. I am writing this article to bring to your attention an issue that has been on my mind for quite some time now, and it is something that I believe needs to be addressed by all of us. This issue is the negative impact of genre discrimination on filmmakers, audiences and the economic growth of the regional film industry. As independent filmmakers, we all have a passion for storytelling and bringing our unique visions to the screen. But I have noticed that there seems to be a lack of genre diversity and reservations only for certain genres, particularly ‘Arthouse Cinema’ for the eligibility criteria of film festivals and fund support.

As a filmmaker, I personally have made several socially relevant drama films but I also love to passionately make fantasy, science fiction, animation, romantic, comedy, horror, and a diverse genre of films and stories. But I have experienced dismal responses from the regional festival organizers and funding supporters, be it state-level government bodies or national level. In fact, even now this problem is being openly ignored by filmmaking communities.

I had to bear the full force of the negative impact last year 2022 when I did a few public screenings of Avataran, my sci-fi feature film project. Ever since I started making this film, I have experienced the lack of a support system or recognition or acknowledgment from those in authority for such genres.

That’s the reason I felt obliged to address the issue, risking the wrath and disapproval of many in the regional film industry. But I had to speak as no one was addressing these issues. I know that many of you may not agree with my viewpoint, but I strongly believe that as independent filmmakers, it is our duty to bring attention to these issues and strive for a more inclusive and diverse film industry.

I understand that some of you may disagree with my views and that is alright. But I would like to remind you that I am not trying to impose my views on anyone, but rather, I am trying to raise awareness about an issue that affects us all. I urge all independent filmmakers to take some time to read this article and, if you think it’s necessary, to take steps to address these problems.

I hope we can all come together to create a more inclusive and diverse film industry, one that embraces all genres and storytelling styles.

The Indian film industry is a diverse and dynamic landscape, with a rich history of storytelling spanning all genres. From arthouse films that explore social and cultural messages to popular genres like fantasy, science fiction, animation, comedy, horror, romance, and action, Indian cinema has something to offer everyone. However, at the regional level, a clear and marked difference between arthouse and popular genres has led to a split in the industry, where independent filmmakers are forced to make arthouse cinema in order to receive funding and festival approval. 

However, it’s not just about providing financial support, but also about encouraging positive, constructive, uplifting, socially relevant and morally responsible filmmaking that also provides healthy and heartful entertainment. We need to support a diverse range of films and stories, and provide equal opportunities for all filmmakers to showcase their talents and ideas.
We need to have an open and honest conversation about the negative effects of genre discrimination and work towards creating a more inclusive and diverse film industry that supports all types of storytelling. The film industry should value and support independent filmmakers regardless of the genre of their film.

In this blog post, we will explore the effects of this split on the Regional Assamese film industry, and argue for a more inclusive approach to funding and festival selection that recognizes the value of all genres of cinema.

1. The Impact of Genre Discrimination on Independent Filmmakers

The discrimination of popular genres in the Indian film industry has had a significant impact on independent filmmakers. Many are forced to choose between making the films they are truly passionate about and being able to secure funding and festival approval. This not only limits their creative freedom but also stifles the diversity of stories and perspectives in Indian cinema.

Additionally, genre discrimination can also lead to a lack of creativity and innovation in the film industry. When filmmakers are only able to make a select few types of films, they may not have the opportunity to explore new ideas and push the boundaries of what is possible in filmmaking. This can lead to stagnation of the film industry, where filmmakers are not able to fully realize their potential and bring new and exciting stories to the world.

Furthermore, genre discrimination can also impact the ability for the regional film industry to attract and retain talented filmmakers. When there is a lack of support and recognition for certain genres, filmmakers who are passionate about those genres may choose to move to a different region or industry where their talents and ideas are more valued.

2. Economic Impact of Genre Discrimination

The economic growth of a regional film industry is heavily dependent on the success and popularity of the films being produced within that region. However, when there is a lack of diversity in the genres being produced and discrimination towards certain genres, it can greatly hinder the growth of the industry.

When a certain genre is not supported, it means that the filmmakers who specialize in that genre do not have the same opportunities to produce, market, and distribute their films. This can lead to a decrease in the number of films being produced and ultimately lead to a decrease in revenue for the film industry.

Additionally, a significant number of potential movie-goers are not being targeted and are not contributing to the revenue of the industry.

Overall, genre discrimination can have a detrimental effect on independent filmmakers. It is important for the film industry to recognize and address this issue, in order to promote diversity, representation, and creativity in filmmaking.

3. The Divide between Arthouse and Popular Genres in Indian Filmmaking

The Indian film industry has long been divided between arthouse cinema, which focuses on social and cultural messages, and popular genres like fantasy, science fiction, animation, comedy, horror, romance, and action. While independent filmmakers who make arthouse films at the regional level are often chosen by festivals and the government for funding support, those who make popular genre films are not eligible for the same support. This clear and marked difference has led to a split, and independent filmmakers who don’t have a lot of money or resources are forced to make arthouse cinema in order to increase their chances of qualifying for film grants and funding.

4. The Origins of Genre Discrimination in the Regional Film Industry

The origins of genre discrimination in the regional film industry can be traced back to a number of factors. One of the main reasons is the assumption that popular genres like fantasy, science fiction, and animation can only be made by big studios with big budgets and blockbuster movies. Additionally, many film festivals and funding organizations prioritize films with strong socially and culturally relevant messages, making it more difficult for popular genre films to be accepted and funded.

One of the most affected genres in the Indian film industry is fantasy, science fiction, and animation. These genres heavily rely on imagination, visual effects, and animation in order to visualize the stories. Unfortunately, such genres are not accepted in arthouse film festivals and are not welcomed by the independent filmmaking community that entirely relies on the arthouse category. This lack of support for fantasy, science fiction, and animation in Indian filmmaking has led to a huge loss of interest among the new generation in independent Indian cinema.

5. The Consequences of Genre Discrimination on the Audience

The consequences of genre discrimination in the Indian film industry extend beyond just independent filmmakers. The audience is also affected by this lack of diversity and freedom in storytelling. When films are only made within certain genres and styles, the audience is not exposed to a wide range of perspectives and experiences. This can lead to a homogenization of cinema and a lack of engagement and interest from audiences. 

When a majority of films being produced are of only one or a few specific genres, the audience that is interested in those genres may be satisfied, but a large portion of the population is not being reached. As a result, only a select few genres are being produced and all other types of stories are being left behind. When it comes to the audience, genre discrimination can lead to a lack of representation and diversity. Audiences are not able to see themselves and their experiences reflected on screen, leading to a lack of connection and engagement with the films they are watching. 

6. The Role of Vested Interests in Genre Discrimination and the Importance of a Fair Eligibility Process

Vested interests play a significant role in the discrimination of popular genres in the Indian film industry. Some parts of the industry try to push certain types of films, often those that align with their own political or financial gain, and discredit or reject all other types of movies. This not only hurts the freedom and independence of filmmakers but also undermines the authenticity and unique qualities of Indian cinema.

Independent filmmakers are often the ones who are most affected by genre discrimination, as they may be denied funding, support, and opportunities for recognition due to the type of film they are creating. 

The selection criteria for eligibility for film festivals and financial funding grants and support for independent cinema should be free of Genre discrimination. Instead, criteria such as the quality of the story and film, the talent of the filmmakers, and the audience’s choice should be taken into consideration. Audience support is essential to the long-term success and financial stability of films, and it should be considered a key factor in determining which films are worthy of recognition and support.

Therefore, it is important to promote and support independent films across all genres, and not just those that align with the interests of certain groups within the industry.

7. The Need for Inclusivity and Diversity to Foster the Growth of New Generation Filmmakers

In today’s digital age, new platforms like YouTube and OTT apps have opened the door for filmmakers to focus all their energy, effort, and resources on creating diverse genres of films and web series content. However, one major issue that still persists in the film industry is genre discrimination. Many festivals and funding grants tend to only support and recognize arthouse cinema, which can discourage new generation young filmmakers from actively pursuing film projects.

This is not only a loss for the filmmakers themselves, but also for society as a whole. When young filmmakers are not given the opportunity to showcase their talents and stories, we miss out on the socially and culturally enriching films that they could have created. Furthermore, it is impossible for platforms like YouTube and OTT apps to keep in check the morality and social responsibility of the content that is being created.

In order to encourage new generation filmmakers to make positive and constructive films that have a positive impact on our society and culture, it is important for the industry to provide financial funding support and recognition for all genres of films. This will not only attract a wider audience but also foster a more inclusive and diverse film industry.

In order for Indian filmmaking to thrive, there needs to be a greater emphasis on inclusivity and diversity. This means supporting all types of films, regardless of genre or style, and creating opportunities for independent filmmakers to tell their stories. By embracing the full spectrum of cinema, we can foster a more vibrant and dynamic film industry that resonates with audiences and reflects the diversity of Indian society.

8. The Importance of Family Entertainment-Oriented Films

Family entertainment-oriented films, such as fantasy, science fiction, animation, and visual effects, play a crucial role in the development of a healthy and inclusive film industry. These popular genres have the power to engage, entertain and educate audiences of all ages and backgrounds. However, in the current system, independent filmmakers who make these types of films are often denied funding and festival support, simply because they do not fit into the narrow definition of “arthouse cinema.”

This is a grave injustice to the many talented filmmakers who have a passion for creating family-friendly and kids-friendly stories. These types of films are not only entertaining, but they also have the power to inspire and spark the imagination of young audiences. By denying funding and support to these filmmakers, we are robbing the next generation of the opportunity to be exposed to diverse and creative storytelling.

Furthermore, family entertainment-oriented films also have the potential to be huge commercial successes. These types of films often have a broad appeal and can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages and backgrounds. By not supporting these filmmakers, we are missing out on the potential for a thriving film industry that caters to a wide range of audiences.

The Assamese film industry must recognize the importance of family entertainment-oriented films and take steps to support and promote these filmmakers. This can be done by providing funding and festival support for popular genre films, as well as by creating a more inclusive and diverse film culture that values and supports all types of storytelling.

9. Beyond Arthouse Cinema: The Need for Financial Support and Recognition of all Genres

Genre discrimination in the film industry can have detrimental effects on the creativity and diversity of filmmaking. When certain genres are not given funding and support, filmmakers are forced to make creative compromises and may not have the freedom to explore and experiment with different types of storytelling.

Not only does genre discrimination limit the artistic expression of filmmakers, but it can also lead to financial struggles for independent filmmakers. Without funding and support, they are often forced to rely on their own resources to make their films. This can make it difficult for them to create popular genre films, which often require large budgets and expensive special effects.

Moreover, genre discrimination can also result in a lack of representation within the film industry. When certain genres are not given funding and support, certain groups of people may not be represented in the films that are being made. This can lead to a lack of representation for marginalized groups and a lack of diversity within the film industry.

It’s important for the Regional film industry to recognize the negative impact of genre discrimination on filmmakers and to take steps to support and promote filmmakers regardless of the genre of their film. By doing so, we can create a more inclusive and diverse film culture that values and supports all types of storytelling.

10. A Call to Action for the Assamese Film Industry

As an independent filmmaker, I call on the Assamese film industry to take a stand against genre discrimination and to support and promote independent filmmakers regardless of the genre of their film. We must recognize the importance of family entertainment-oriented films and the negative impact of genre discrimination on filmmakers.

The Assamese film industry can take action by providing funding and festival support for popular genre films, as well as by creating a more inclusive and diverse film culture that values and supports all types of storytelling. By doing so, we can create a thriving film industry that caters to a wide range of audiences and promotes creativity, diversity, and inclusivity.

Together, we can break down the barriers that are preventing independent filmmakers from making the films they are passionate about and ensure that the Assamese film industry is accessible to all filmmakers, regardless of their genre.

 

The Unjust Reality of Genre Discriminatory Practices in the Film Industry

Genre discrimination has long been an open secret in the film industry, with filmmakers and audiences alike struggling to understand the reality behind this prevalent issue. With numerous myths surrounding the subject, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. In an effort to shed light on the matter, we’ve compiled a list of myths and myth-busting answers that will provide a deeper understanding of the negative impact of genre discrimination on the film industry and its stakeholders.
 
Q: Is arthouse cinema the only genre in need of funding and support?
A: No, this is not true. All genres of independent cinema are in need of funding, festival or a dedicated platform for screening and exposure. Denying support to independent filmmakers based on the genre of their film can lead to a lack of diversity and creativity in the film industry, financial struggles for filmmakers, and a lack of representation for marginalized groups.
Q: Will popular genre films always be commercially successful and have financial stability for high-budget productions?
A: No, this is not necessarily true. Just because a film belongs to a popular genre does not guarantee commercial success or financial stability for independent filmmakers. Most of the independent filmmakers struggle and are forced to finance from their own pockets to support their vision and story, irrespective of the genre.
Q: Are film festival and award ceremony judges and curators unbiased selectors of good cinema?
A: No, this is wrong. The biases of judges and curators towards arthouse cinema can result in a discriminatory selection process that ignores films of other genres. This can harm the careers of independent filmmakers and limit the diversity of films being made and shown. A more diverse and inclusive selection panel is needed to ensure all genres are fairly considered.
Q: Which is the best genre of cinema that truly represents socially and culturally relevant films?
A: Cinema has the power to inspire, motivate, and entertain in both positive and negative ways, regardless of genre. No singular film genre can fully represent the good and positive aspects of cinema. All genres have the potential to tell important stories and engage audiences with meaningful and socially relevant content. Storytelling has been a universal medium since the beginning of human civilization and it applies to diverse genres of cinema as well. The film festivals and funding organizations should support filmmakers in their pursuit of telling positive, relevant, and impactful stories, regardless of the genre.
Q: Can genre discrimination be solved by only providing financial support?
A: While financial support is a key factor in addressing genre discrimination in the film industry, it is not the only solution. There also needs to be a greater emphasis on inclusivity and diversity, and a recognition of the importance of all types of storytelling. By embracing the full spectrum of cinema, we can foster a more inclusive and diverse film industry that values and supports all types of filmmakers and their stories.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the lack of genre diversity in the independent film industry, particularly in the Assamese regional film industry, is a pressing issue that needs to be addressed. As independent filmmakers, it is important for us to not only focus on socially relevant dramas, but also explore and create films in a diverse range of genres such as fantasy, science fiction, animation, romantic, comedy, and horror. By doing so, we can not only expand the audience base for independent films but also break the stereotypes and prejudices associated with certain genres. However, it is not just the responsibility of the filmmakers to address this issue, but also that of the festival organizers and funding bodies to support and recognize the efforts of independent filmmakers in creating diverse genre films. Only then can we hope to see a truly inclusive and vibrant independent film industry.

Independent cinema is not only about arthouse cinema but also encompasses a diverse range of genres like fantasy, science fiction, animation, romantic, comedy, horror, and others. Therefore, it is important to promote and support independent films across all genres, and not just those that align with the interests of certain groups within the industry. Only then can we hope to see a truly diverse and vibrant film industry that truly represents the voices and stories of all filmmakers and audiences.

It’s important to remember that, as independent filmmakers, we are storytellers at heart, and that means telling stories that resonate with us, whether they are socially relevant dramas or fantastical worlds of science fiction. By recognizing the lack of genre diversity in the independent film industry and taking steps to address it, we can create a more inclusive and dynamic film industry that is better able to reflect the diversity of our society. So let’s strive for genre diversity and support each other in this endeavor.

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