FDC in need of a facelift | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 26, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 26, 2011


FDC in need of a facelift

Bangladesh Film Development Corporation, better known as 'FDC', started functioning (in the late '50s) with the most modern filmmaking facilities available. Shortly afterwards, FDC added latest equipments like BNC camera with accessories; latest Arriflex camera with all type of lenses; lighting equipments, ark lamps, dollies, trolleys; sound recording equipments; dialogue recording for indoor and outdoor shooting; editing machine; Oxberry optical equipment for special effects, animation stand; black and white as well as color film processing machine etc.
When the colour lab was completed, Zahir Raihan produced the first colour film of erstwhile Pakistan, “Sangam”, which I had the honour of photographing, as well as the first cinemascope film, “Bahana”.
It was the golden age of our film industry. Now what we see of FDC are huge buildings, which they call “shooting floors”! It spends money unnecessarily without much shooting facilities for a cinematographer. Two sound complexes have been constructed, spending crores of public money. The equipments have been unusable for more than a year and need repair.
FDC demolished the old sound complex and built a new one, named it Digital Sound Complex, even though the older building had not been declared unfit or unusable. The old complex consisted of a preview theatre, sound recording studio, dubbing and mixing facilities etc. It could have been renovated and new equipment could have been installed there.
The old sound complex had been constructed during the tenure of a Managing Director, who then imported very expensive recording equipment. The equipment arrived before completion of construction of the sound complex, and was kept in the corridors of the administrative building for two years! When the equipment was finally opened to be installed, many vital electronic parts had been damaged due to bad storage conditions. They are still lying in the building unused, uncared for and unrepaired.
The new Digital Sound Complex with its state of the art equipment faced the same fate. The building is under lock and key and all equipment unusable. Sadly, both sound complexes are like graveyards. A few years ago, a high government official wanted to turn one of the complexes into a museum. The reality is that it already is a museum! It is full of old and unusable equipments, broken lights, trolleys and dollies etc. There are many unused expensive equipment too.
FDC is still buying expensive and sophisticated laboratory equipments one after another, but unable to produce quality prints. Producers have to go to India to get quality prints, which is very expensive. New and fancy shooting floors have been constructed without proper logistical support for technicians.

The writer is a noted Bangladeshi cinematographer.

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