Film Finance Corporation of Pakistan

Once upon a time in a country far far away some young people got sick of the conventional form of similar stories being told again and again on television and film. but they were not artists or media people. They had no experience of such but they had a vision. So a few of them came together to make sci-fi and fantasy shows for a change and for that they talked to different up and coming writers and directors who were also passionate about these kind of projects. They tried different ways to get funding for their shows but no one in the industry was willing to take risk. So they started going to schools and colleges and since sites like Kickstarter were not a thing back then, they had to tour the whole country to raise some money. No luck. They did not give up though, they decided to expand the search and went to America and Europe. Finally they raised enough money for their ‘infotainment project’ to make sci-fi and educational shows for kids. At this time the country’s government stepped in and decided to make it official as a government funded organization. This agency was named FFC-Film Finance Corporation of Australia and it created shows like Round the Twist, Spellbinder and Mirror Mirror, that were aired internationally without any strings attached. Ptv was one of the channels that aired these and we grew up watching these shows. In fact our whole generation watched it in many countries around the world including India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand, UK and Ireland. I owe my childhood creativity to these people who took a stand and tried to do something different. And also to channel three, the only channel with good kids shows other wise Ptv’s idea of kids’ show was kidnapping or child labor dramas and gaming or quiz shows which were educational but not fun to watch. Still at least the old Ptv tried. Who cares about making a kids’ show anymore.

I don’t ask for something drastic so early. Baby steps, let’s just start with making a Twin Peaks like show. They made it in 1989, so why can’t we make something like it today? It was 28 years ago. Or may be Twilight zone (1959) that was 58 years ago. More than half a century people, we can’t be that far behind? but I am afraid we are. Not because we are left behind but because we are moving in the opposite direction and very slow at that too. It is like we are stuck in just one genera, romance and maybe even a strange type of comedy too but what about others like Action, Adventure, Horror, Mystery, Animation (Burka Avenger), Crime, Travel, Family (not the sas-bahu or run away girl choosing love over oppressive family, rather something comfy and feel good like Modern Family), Fantasy, History, Fictionalized History, Dramatization of real life events (Narcos), Musicals, Live studio shows (Notanki family/ Aow kahani buntay hain), Sci-Fi, Thriller, War and army shows etc. Seems like the target these days is to complete a show in the least time and budget possible. 90% of the shows are fillers anyway, why spend money. All channels know people will be watching one show at a time and other shows will suffer so they stick with creating one good drama at a time and that too not every different from the ones that have already been successful. This is not how you create art. TV is art and it takes passion, commitment and taking risks and also having the basic knowledge and understanding of what you are doing. Sadly our good old writers are dead and the current ones don’t even follow or know the 7 basic rules of screen writing that the teach at beginners level. We once made Space 2000, Stop-Watch and Ainak wala Jin and they all are iconic even today. Why don’t we make a horror or action dramas like Ptv used to do back in the days. Something like Ankaboot, Alpha Bravo Charlie, Dhuwan and a hundred others old Ptv prime-time shows which did beyond just fine in viewership and still have a place in people’s hearts. People like Hamayu Saeed who have become millionaires earning from this industry are still making love story movies and Tv dramas. Why fix what isn’t broke, right? Seems too be working fine for them. There movies are making a ton of money. But what about growth? If no one is ready to take risk, how will the industry grow? Our typical viewers are uneducated for now but there is an increase in our millennials preferring English and American shows because they can tell good from bad. This is our film goer audience, the people living in big cities and they like change. The only reason 3-Bahadur was a success was neither it’s animation quality, nor voice cast or story as they were bad at best. It was successful because the educated viewer stood to support something new in Pakistan. With no one in the industry willing to take risk and our government not so kind as the Australian, we will have to do it on our own. We won’t be making Breaking Bad or Band of Brothers any time soon but we have to start somewhere, may be with a Youtube web-series even. We need to be our own FFC Pakistan. People don’t trust strangers who come asking for money to make a youtube show, but now we have kickstarter like sites that have helped fund ‘The Glassworker (sheeshagar)’. Here we too can fund Pakistani indie films that promise change, the fresh breath of air this industry so desperately need. Just be smart when donating as majority are scam. It is better to fund those who have some previous work to show on their youtube channel etc. It will be plain stupidity to donate for a feature film project based on a 1 min trailer alone. Later 🙂

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