WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR MY PROPOSAL NOT GETTING SELECTED?
It is a very humbling experience to have to select and take responsibility of choosing a few proposals from the many hundreds that we receive. It is inevitable that hundreds will be disappointed, upset and some even angry. Each proposal we receive is given fair and due consideration, but given the large volume of proposals we receive, it gets difficult for us to support every proposal, as much as we’d love to. Sadly, there is no infallible way of predicting the success of a film on the basis of a written proposal and we’ve often seen outstanding proposals that do not lead to films that are equally outstanding.
We are sensitive to the time, energy, passion and hope that go into writing a proposal but, unfortunately, we are left with no choice but to disappoint approximately 19 out of 20 filmmakers who submit proposals, in spite of recognising their impeccable credentials and high potential of producing very good films.
HOW DO MULTIPLE EVALUATORS ARRIVE AT CONCLUSIVE JUDGMENTS ON PROPOSALS?
Commissioning decisions are taken by the Commissioning Editor, the PSBT Team and the Board of Trustees consultatively and we are collectively responsible for all commissioning decisions, successes and failures. There is no numerical scoring process of proposals. We primarily look for ideas that are articulated in nuanced ways – through interesting cinematic treatments and the potential of the filmmaker to deliver on them. Since there can be no absolute empirical formula that can evaluate the potential of a written proposal, we stick to a consultative process of evaluation – taking into account varying opinions of each evaluator. Additionally, we do try and support a large range of filmmakers ranging from first-timers, mid-career filmmakers and filmmakers hailing from different parts of India. We also seek to avoid supporting more than one film on the same subject, if we have supported one in recent years. We aspire to fair regional and gender representation. While we do our honest best, we sometimes end up getting it wrong.
ARE PSBT’S DECISIONS INFLUENCED BY THE GOVERNMENT?
For the record, PSBT is an independent not-for-profit organisation that receives grants from a number of sources, including the use of funds from its own corpus. We work in partnership with several organisations and the terms of our grants from the Government are governed by the rules applicable to Grants-in-Aid. We function independently and follow processes which we have established and tested over time, ensuring that our independence or that of our filmmakers is not compromised. Since there are certain technical requirements laid down in our terms of partnership and agreements, for example, with Doordarshan, we are not able to deviate from those.
PSBT is committed to transparency and happy to respond to any reasonable requests for information, not already available on our website.
In order to ensure a level playing field and keep our commissioning process free from any encumbrances, particularly for filmmakers who are not from Delhi, PSBT discourages personal meetings with filmmakers till the formal acceptance of proposals is in place. We are uncomfortable with filmmakers who try to, overtly or covertly, influence the decision making process. In such cases, we may even choose to disqualify such filmmakers and their proposals.
WHAT IF I DO NOT AGREE WITH THE COMMENTS THE EVALUATORS MAKE ON MY WORK?
It is always painful and difficult to confront and accept criticism towards one’s work. PSBT is deeply committed to the independence of the filmmaker and works towards the empowerment of the filmmaker so that you can make a film in whichever way you want to, so long as it represents facts accurately and is finally acceptable to the funding body and meets the codes and laws applicable at the time. We advise our filmmakers to be guided by a Code of Practice that helps them adopt good practices through the course of the production.
The comments and feedback we share, represent honest, well-intended, though subjective responses to a piece of work with the objective of helping the filmmaker make a better film. We deeply respect all our filmmakers and our only expectation of them is an honest effort and an open, receptive mind. At the same time, we do recognise that ultimately any response to a creative enterprise will vary and that quite a few of the works that we reject have the potential to be later celebrated. We can only urge the comments for filmmakers’ calm consideration and expect legitimate, well-motivated responses to them. Our final aim is to come up with a film that we can all be proud of. But, finally, it’s the filmmaker’s film and responsibility.