Netflix & Modi govt collaborate for video series on ‘women change-makers’

New Delhi: The Union Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry announced its collaboration with OTT platform Netflix Tuesday to launch a short video series documenting the lives of “women change-makers” who have “broken the glass ceiling” in different fields.

I&B Minister Anurag Thakur said the idea behind this collaboration is to “develop a creative ecosystem by organising training programmes” for film-makers across the country.

The project took off during an event called ‘Azadi Ki Amrit Kahaniya’, an extension of the ongoing “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” celebrations, which were inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 12 March.

Three short videos were released at the launch that demonstrated the achievements of Basanti Devi, a Padma-award winning environmentalist known for her efforts to save the Kosi river, Anshu Jamsenpa, a Padma Shri awardee who scaled Mount Everest twice in 2017, and Harshini Kanhekar, India’s first female firefighter.

The three women were present at the event along with Netflix’s head of Global TV Bela Bajaria.

The first seven videos, including the three showcased Tuesday, will be available on all social media platforms and Doordarshan. They will be available in multiple languages, including Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, English and Malayalam.

By this year’s Independence Day, Netflix will release around 30 videos for the I&B ministry that will showcase the “extraordinary lives” of “women change-makers”.

Content on ‘freedom struggle’ in the pipeline

The I&B Ministry will push out more content on the freedom struggle through Netflix. Secretary Apurva Chandra said “a deeper collaboration featuring a long-running series on our freedom struggle and the stories that need to be told to the world is in the pipeline”.

The partnership between the ministry and the OTT platform will also entail developing training programmes (both virtual and in-person) for film-makers across the country. In March, a virtual scriptwriting programme for women was launched by Netflix and the National Film Development Corporation, which comes under the I&B Ministry. There are also plans to undertake skill development workshops, masterclasses, film screenings and short film competitions.

“Netflix and the ministry will partner to develop a creative ecosystem by organising training programmes for post-production, VFX, animation, music production, among others, and will be organised on the ground and virtually,” Anurag Thakur announced during the event.

He said the ministry will try to make India the “content hub” of the world where film-makers have all the means to push content.

“I hope that, after this collaboration, film-makers from across the world will come to India to make films and documentaries for not just the Indian audience but to showcase it to the entire world,” Thakur added.

Netflix began collaborating with the I&B Ministry last November during the 52nd International Film Festival of India in Goa.

Last week, the streaming platform revealed that it had lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022 and feared losing two million more subscribers in the second quarter, compelling the company to devise various revival strategies, including push for local content.

Also read: Why govt has blocked 16 YouTube ‘news’ channels from India & Pakistan in 2nd crackdown in a month


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