Columns and Blogs - Asia Pacific Roundabout


Pakistani films hit a low point

Sept 24, 2012

-By Scott Rosenberg


filmjournal/photos/stylus/45030-Rosenberg_Md.jpg
As we move closer to the now debunked Mayan Apocalypse that was supposed to occur at the end of this year, I wonder…giant sunspots erupting from the Sun, earthquakes around the world, severe storms, tornadoes in New York City, and thousands without electricity on the Eastern Seaboard of the USA. Sounds like a movie, but it is reality 2012. Oh, and let's not forget that October is Zombie Awareness Month, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency's monthly zombie-preparedness campaign. (Other organizations also use pop-culture references—even fictitious ones like “The Walking Dead”—to promote gearing up for real disasters.)

But maybe the worst sign of all (operative word maybe) is the pending death of the Pakistani film industry, or "Lollywood" as it is known. Each year, between eight and ten Punjabi films are released (except in 2010, when 16 were released and people talked of a "comeback"). The death knell rang as the Pakistani Parliament failed to allocate funds for the film industry; 2012 may be the year with the least number of film releases in the industry’s history. It is being reported that only two or three Lahore-based productions are scheduled to open.

Chaudhry Kamran, producer of last year’s Bhai Log, explained why to the Pakistani Express Tribune. “Why would investors want to make a film which is unable to recover [the investment]?” he asked, adding that his movie was a hit when it was released at the end of the Muslim fasting holiday of Ramadan and drew in large crowds.

Lahore was once considered the hub of filmmaking and television productions in Pakistan. But today, if one walks into any big studio in the city, they will see that productions have come to a drastic halt.

Zoraiz Lashari, chairman of the Film Exhibitor Association, noted that the release of two Punjabi films was still not confirmed. He also claimed that the long-term forecast for Punjabi films has been under scrutiny for quite a while.

Hanoi Plans Second Film Fest

Vietnam will hold its second international film festival in Hanoi in November. The Hanoi International Film Festival, organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, will take place Nov. 25–29, with the theme “the development and unification of the Asia-Pacific film industry.” The fest will include a competition, a Panorama screening, a focus on Korean and Vietnamese films, a program on contemporary films made in and about Hanoi, and a Talent Campus.

The Lure of Thailand
Why do foreign filmmakers shoot in Thailand? According to The Economist's “Big Mac 2012” index (which compares the cost of Big Macs around the world), the Australian dollar goes over 100 percent further in Thailand than at home. The Euro and U.S. dollar rate almost as favorably. Its cheaper, folks!

Cinemas Boost Cities
All those little things that you always wanted to know, but didn't know who to ask.
According to CNNGo, cinemas have a lot to do with a city’s evolution to greatness:

Highest number of cinemas: Paris (302), Shanghai (230), Istanbul (118)
Highest number of cinema admissions (in millions): Paris (58.2), London (41.6), Shanghai (22.9)
Highest number of foreign films released theatrically: London (438), Tokyo (358), Berlin (315)
Highest number of film festivals: Paris (190), London (61), New York (57)

Tracking Myanmar
In September, Myanmar's Parliament approved a new draft foreign-investment law aimed at opening the country up to capital and job creation. There is no minimum amount for foreign investment.

Myanmar has been essentially closed to investment from Western countries for five decades, due first to isolationist policies and later to international economic sanctions. Sanctions were eased this year after President Thein Sein implemented a series of political reforms.

Myint Soe, a movie theatre owner and an executive member of the Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stated, "What Myanmar needs is a law that will attract new investment rather than restrict it. Allowing 50% foreign equity in joint ventures was also conducive to attracting foreign investors, who might be wary if the law tilted in favor of too much protection for local entrepreneurs."

Even before the new investment laws were passed by the Myanmar Parliament, Thailand's Goldenduck Group had staked claim to work on three projects in Myanmar. While they have not yet invested in opening an office there like in several other ASEAN countries, business has been steadily building.

First for Mingalar Cinema in Yangon, they designed, supplied and installed a state-of-the-art cinema system (both projection and sound systems). Next they were commissioned by the government to create an audiovisual system at a military museum. And most recently, they designed, supplied and installed the equipment of an audio, sound and lighting system for the Thingaha Hotel, located in Myanmar's capital of Nay Pvi Taw. The Thingaha has among the most cutting-edge design concepts, state-of-the-art technology innovations and exceptional personalized service in that country.

Follow Scott Rosenberg on Twitter @scott_cos or on Facebook at D Scott Rosenberg.


Pakistani films hit a low point

Sept 24, 2012

-By Scott Rosenberg


filmjournal/photos/stylus/45030-Rosenberg_Md.jpg

As we move closer to the now debunked Mayan Apocalypse that was supposed to occur at the end of this year, I wonder…giant sunspots erupting from the Sun, earthquakes around the world, severe storms, tornadoes in New York City, and thousands without electricity on the Eastern Seaboard of the USA. Sounds like a movie, but it is reality 2012. Oh, and let's not forget that October is Zombie Awareness Month, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency's monthly zombie-preparedness campaign. (Other organizations also use pop-culture references—even fictitious ones like “The Walking Dead”—to promote gearing up for real disasters.)

But maybe the worst sign of all (operative word maybe) is the pending death of the Pakistani film industry, or "Lollywood" as it is known. Each year, between eight and ten Punjabi films are released (except in 2010, when 16 were released and people talked of a "comeback"). The death knell rang as the Pakistani Parliament failed to allocate funds for the film industry; 2012 may be the year with the least number of film releases in the industry’s history. It is being reported that only two or three Lahore-based productions are scheduled to open.

Chaudhry Kamran, producer of last year’s Bhai Log, explained why to the Pakistani Express Tribune. “Why would investors want to make a film which is unable to recover [the investment]?” he asked, adding that his movie was a hit when it was released at the end of the Muslim fasting holiday of Ramadan and drew in large crowds.

Lahore was once considered the hub of filmmaking and television productions in Pakistan. But today, if one walks into any big studio in the city, they will see that productions have come to a drastic halt.

Zoraiz Lashari, chairman of the Film Exhibitor Association, noted that the release of two Punjabi films was still not confirmed. He also claimed that the long-term forecast for Punjabi films has been under scrutiny for quite a while.

Hanoi Plans Second Film Fest

Vietnam will hold its second international film festival in Hanoi in November. The Hanoi International Film Festival, organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, will take place Nov. 25–29, with the theme “the development and unification of the Asia-Pacific film industry.” The fest will include a competition, a Panorama screening, a focus on Korean and Vietnamese films, a program on contemporary films made in and about Hanoi, and a Talent Campus.

The Lure of Thailand
Why do foreign filmmakers shoot in Thailand? According to The Economist's “Big Mac 2012” index (which compares the cost of Big Macs around the world), the Australian dollar goes over 100 percent further in Thailand than at home. The Euro and U.S. dollar rate almost as favorably. Its cheaper, folks!

Cinemas Boost Cities
All those little things that you always wanted to know, but didn't know who to ask.
According to CNNGo, cinemas have a lot to do with a city’s evolution to greatness:

Highest number of cinemas: Paris (302), Shanghai (230), Istanbul (118)
Highest number of cinema admissions (in millions): Paris (58.2), London (41.6), Shanghai (22.9)
Highest number of foreign films released theatrically: London (438), Tokyo (358), Berlin (315)
Highest number of film festivals: Paris (190), London (61), New York (57)

Tracking Myanmar
In September, Myanmar's Parliament approved a new draft foreign-investment law aimed at opening the country up to capital and job creation. There is no minimum amount for foreign investment.

Myanmar has been essentially closed to investment from Western countries for five decades, due first to isolationist policies and later to international economic sanctions. Sanctions were eased this year after President Thein Sein implemented a series of political reforms.

Myint Soe, a movie theatre owner and an executive member of the Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stated, "What Myanmar needs is a law that will attract new investment rather than restrict it. Allowing 50% foreign equity in joint ventures was also conducive to attracting foreign investors, who might be wary if the law tilted in favor of too much protection for local entrepreneurs."

Even before the new investment laws were passed by the Myanmar Parliament, Thailand's Goldenduck Group had staked claim to work on three projects in Myanmar. While they have not yet invested in opening an office there like in several other ASEAN countries, business has been steadily building.

First for Mingalar Cinema in Yangon, they designed, supplied and installed a state-of-the-art cinema system (both projection and sound systems). Next they were commissioned by the government to create an audiovisual system at a military museum. And most recently, they designed, supplied and installed the equipment of an audio, sound and lighting system for the Thingaha Hotel, located in Myanmar's capital of Nay Pvi Taw. The Thingaha has among the most cutting-edge design concepts, state-of-the-art technology innovations and exceptional personalized service in that country.

Follow Scott Rosenberg on Twitter @scott_cos or on Facebook at D Scott Rosenberg.

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