It is not often that a film and television industry meeting concludes with a public health outcome.

FICCI- FRAMES, Asia’s largest gathering of film and television industry, in concluding its 14th edition in Mumbai on March 14,2013 ended by opening its doors widely to public health, development and environment experts and practitioners.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Producers Guild of India launched the Third Eye, which will from now on support creative communities with key health, gender and rights issues so that story lines can include accurate and trustworthy information.

Borrowing its model from HH&S, (Hollywood Health, and Society), ACEE (Asian Center for Entertainment Education) will run this program in India. Writers and producers will have authentic information on demand. There will be workshops and study visits for those who want accurate information.

Mahesh Bhatt, the Filmmaker, heads and guides the Third Eye. ACEE, which runs Third Eye was founded Augustine Veliath, a long time communication specialist with UNICEF and Vinta Nanda, the well known film and television director.

“I lead this mission because I believe that had a service like The Third Eye existed at the time I made my film ‘ARTH’ in 1983, I would have made the film differently. The other woman, played by Smita Patil, who suffered schizophrenia could have been dealt with a lot more accuracy. It would have made so many viewers of the film across generations more sensitive to those afflicted with the condition” – said Mahesh Bhatt, Filmmaker.

Similarly in “Daddy” too alcoholism could have been dealt with more knowledge and more sensitivity, Mr. Bhatt said.

Co-Creating Success and Relevance

The Third Eye, in partnership with The Producers Guild of India and FICCI Frames, is also forging a partnerships with leading networks and studios in India to co-create and mainstream socially relevant and the same time successful cinema and television in India.

Workshops, story tours and road trips will be organized to sensitize writers and all creative forces on existing and developing issues, exposing them to real stories will be organized regularly.

ACEE will work closely with the Hollywood Health and Society (HH&S) based in University of South California which has for the last eleven years guided many film and Television production in Hollywood.

At the launch event Dr. Sandra de Castro Buffington, Director HH&S outlined the work done so far. She said ” we do not tell the writers what to write but do tell what the science is. What the facts are and take them to places where the work is being a done and engage them with true professionals. a Chris Dzialo, Program Specialist, HH&S is also in India to guide the ACEE team’

HH&S which has supported more than 500 storylines in Hollywood over 11 years, in mainstream programs including Private Practice, Greys Anatomy and Desperate Housewives.

At the launch event the well known film maker Goutam Gose focused on listening to people on the ground and understanding and feeling with them.

Kiran Joneja actor who had anchored a talk show on women spoke of the need of “compassionate listening” before scripts are written and concepts are finalized.

Jonathan Taplin, Director of the Annenberg Center for Innovations and Colin Mclay, MD, Berkman Center for Internet and Society of Harvard University were also among the well wishers of Third Eye at the panel.

Early Birds

Pooja Bhatt, Producer and Director, is subscribing to the service for one of her films soon to go under production, set at the borders of India and Bangladesh, about Cholera which is contracted by the protagonist during an intense part of her journey.

Kalpana Lajmi, Director, who is co-writing a script titled ‘Safed Doli’, based on the struggle of a girl child in a story set in the remotest corners of Bihar, is working with experts from ‘The Third Eye’ and Soni Razdan, Producer, Director and Actor, who is producing the soon to be launched talk show for women, ‘MADAT’, with Co Producer, Vinta Nanda, is also structuring the digital platform and backend to the series in consultation with experts from ‘The Third Eye’.

‘The Third Eye’ is advising the show ‘Housewife – hai sab jaanti hai’ on ZEE TV, produced by Mr. Gulshan Sachdev. The Creative Director Dhananjay Masoom is consulting experts from ‘The Third Eye’ about accurate information on the best practices to be followed by a woman during pregnancy and child birth which is a part of a narrative in the drama, about a joint family, set in Allahabad, UP.

[Sent by Augustine Veliath]

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