Entertainment industry in loss due to COVID

Entertainment industry in loss due to COVID

The entertainment industry in the country is suffering losses due to the COVID.

Usually, all movie theaters used to be full house and packed but due to the pandemic, all the movie theaters and entertainment sectors are closed in the country to maintain social distancing. The hardest hit has been on the Film Association of Bhutan (FAB) and other entertainment sectors which were dependent on it.

Executive Director of FAB, Ngawang Tobgay said that like other business sectors, they are also suffering. “It has been a few months with movie screenings remaining suspended. Eight to nine movies are yet to be screened. When screening is at a halt, it is a great loss to producers as they will not get paid. Moreover, movie shooting has also been stopped and it is the main source of income for all the individuals involved in movie shooting.”

He said there are almost total of 1,000 members working in the FAB with some solely dependent on it.

“Crew members, technical individuals, and other members who are fully dependent on producing of movies are in immense trouble,” said the ED.

But, through the office of FAB, they got aid from Royal kidu. At first, a batch of eight individuals got registered for the Royal kidu and the second batch, 46 have applied for the kidu of which 12 were selected by Government. The rest have applied individually.

However, FAB has also been provided the opportunity to produce short films and MTVs in which they are involving more individuals. Further, they are involved in Chik-thuen program screened on BBS2 where they take turns to participate for two hours.

He said they have requested the government to authorize movie shooting permission as there are no local transmission till now which signifies less threat. Moreover, in the field, he said they are just like quarantined while shooting as they are placed in a particular place where they continue their work until complete.

Those who receive kidu, through BCCI, are involved in location hunting where they will tour and produce a data for cost and effect of a best place. “If international professionals enquire about the site then it would be easy to answer them through our data,” he said.

Actor Chencho Dorji said his sponsors for reality show (voice of Bhutan) have withdrawn their partnership as their business are down, so he is in huge loss. Usually they hold event management as voice of Bhutan alone cannot make a fund, but due to social distancing protocol, no events are being supported. “I am running my event on losses,” he said. They used a travel agent to run their event but due to pandemic, this has also come to a halt.

Adding, movie director Karma Jerry said due to theaters being closed and no gathering allowed, they do not have additional work apart from shooting. “In my team there are around 20 members without work. So some are involved in making short movies and few have applied for kidu,”he said. He had planned three movies to be produced but luckily he has not invested in them. Two of his movies are yet to be screened. 

A crew member, Kelzang Tshering, 24, from Trongsa said after the pandemic, they have become jobless with nothing to do as their sole source of income is gone. “But I am involved in making short films.” 

Tenzin Lhamo from Thimphu