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  THE CONTEXT

The electronic media is acknowledged as one of "the most powerful tools of modern societies for cultural expression". Yet, Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General, UNESCO, has warned that globalisation raised the risk of a dramatic reduction in the variety of civilizations around the world. At one point, film historian, Arthur Knight, predicted that in the near future, regional film-makers may be celebrating their regions through film as, traditionally, novelists, poets and musicians have done.

Did Arthur Knight mean Diversity as we comprehend it in the 21st century? Are Asian producers equipped to fulfil such a prediction? In this context, it is important to note that regional film-makers in Asia have often experienced frustration at their inability to compete in international television. Asia is a burgeoning region in the global marketplace of television. Major players like the National Geographic, Discovery and the BBC among others, are increasing their focus in the Asian region. Obviously, the demand will first be for programming about the region. Subsequently, it is bound to metamorphose into programming by film-makers from Asia.

At the same time, not only has the space on global television shrunk for non-fiction genres, even the forms are changing beyond recognition. The demands and standards of commissioning editors and executive producers in major international networks and organizations are often opaque and ambiguous. Exposure to their "systems" is by and large still limited. In the coming years, local producers in the Asian region will be able to compete for space on global media only if they have the requisite expertise. With information and knowledge.

In Asia, India, with a one billion population, is a massive "marketplace". The curricula of media teaching institutions in the country are essentially deprived. They have been unable to correctly focus on the exhaustive nature of training required for competitive non-fiction television. Students graduating from these institutions feel inadequate once they step into the world of television programming. Negligible awareness of technique and technology at one end, combined with a poverty of socio-cultural sensitization, often leads to a disaster in terms of television programming.

It was in this backdrop that formedia was registered as a not-for-profit trust in the year 2000. With the precise objectives of imparting practical knowledge, giving an impetus to the younger generation of producers keen on non-fiction genres and sensitizing audiences towards non-fiction television programmes.

The not-for-profit foundation was set up in public interest towards the cause of high-quality creative content, especially in the field of non-fiction television programming. The objective is imbued with an underlining emphasis on the role of news and related forms of information dissemination, especially the critical genre of the documentary.
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