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Another film award in the offing
Namgay Tshering, June 08, 2012
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Actor Tandin Bidha at the last national film awards

Another film award, Viewers’ Choice, is expected to be organized by the end of this month. The award will provide the public an opportunity to vote for their favourite films through SMS.

Soon, a programme outlining the features and credentials of films and artistes nominated for the award will be broadcast on BBS television daily.

According to the organisers (five volunteers from the film industry), unlike in other countries, Bhutan has only one film award (the national film award) in a year. Awards through SMS voting are seen in most countries. The concept is borrowed from outside so that deserving films which appeal to viewers but are not recognized by mainstream awards can stand a chance of recognition.

However, the award will not entirely be based on viewers’ choice and votes. A certain percentage of evaluation will be done with statistics collected from four movie halls (Lugar and Trowa theatres in Thimphu and Mig and Norgay in Phuentsholing). Besides, a five-member jury will judge the films.

Conceived to be an annual event, the award categories for this year are the best film, best director, best actor, best singer (male and female), and the best song. The organisers are planning to increase the number of categories from next year.

An organiser said that, unlike other film awards in which the jury’s decision is binding right from the nomination process to the final selection, Viewers’ Choice will give viewers a major chunk of right to vote for films they like and find deserving of an award.

Filmmakers can nominate their films by paying a nominal entry fee, which is not yet decided.

Meanwhile, the Motion Picture Association of Bhutan (MPAB) is unaware of it. MPAB general secretary, Sherub Gyeltshen, said it is another idea of money making. He, however, said that it would recognize some of the films that missed recognition at the national film awards held on May 2.

“I would strongly support these kinds of initiatives as they create a platform although the idea behind them is making money,” he said.

Sherub Gyeltshen said MPAB has no objections against the initiative, but he said since it is related to films, it is the responsibility of the organisers to inform the association.

The organisers Bhutan Observer talked to said that the preparation for the award is still underway. They will inform the MPAB only after the programme is set to start.

The general secretary said while an award based on viewers’ choice would provide a platform for public participation, there is a risk of it becoming unfair and biased as judgment will involve money.

He said the idea of SMS voting was once considered for the national film award, but after witnessing many reality shows dominated by money power, it was dropped.

In the year 2010 alone, Bhutan saw the production of 31 movies.

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