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Cinema situation in Afghanistan

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Cinema situation in Afghanistan

 Cinema is a technology based audio visual media by which economic and cultural and artistic activity is taking place. But unfortunately at present the cinema situation is not satisfactory and is collapsing.

Talking to The Kabul Times reporter on this issue, director of the Afghan Film Ibrahim Arefi said currently there are four public cinema in Kabul city which including cinema Pamir, Ariana, Park and Khair Khana. Films which are imported via custom houses are sent to these cinema after assessment for screening. But there are limited number of audience because the best films are screened by private TVs and cause the people not to go to cinema.
Arefi said, it is clear that whenever jobs are not given to qualified people, the situation should be chaotic like this. In the past the cinema management depended to the Afghan film which was led by professional and qualified people and cinema operation was quite good. Unfortunately following the recent changes the cinema were divided and distributed to different departments like municipality, ministry of finance, ministry of women affairs which use cinema only as a source of income. And principle of cinema is forgotten that caused cinema destruction. Even the old buildings with a background of over 55 years may also be destroyed. Only a limited number of films are screened.
Our cinema lacks qualified management and they may collapse.
Talking on cinema Khairkhana, Arefi said, it was constructed by the then MoIC but today it is managed by cultural department of Kabul municipality and it has given it to private contractors while its government property and should be managed by government. The Afghan Film is able to undertake its management.
Arefi said, following the recent changes, the Afghan film doesn’t produce new films. But the Kabul municipality has allocated every Wednesday for screening of domestic films. 50 percent of its income goes to Afghan cinematographers and 50 percent to Kabul municipality.
Talking on cinema Zainab, Arefi said cinema Zainab is one of the historical cinema in the country which was named after wife of late president Daud Khan.
But today it is used as a conference hall by the MoWA. We ask the government authorities to hand it over again to the Afghan film so to be reactivated with a good management.
Arefi went on to say, the reason behind stagnation of cinema are lack of chairs, regular electricity and no sufficient audience. Cinema Ariana was rehabilitated by French during the management of Siddiq Barmak. Other donors and countries also want support Afghan Film. If these cinema are handed over to Afghan film, we are capable to recommission them.
Since two years I have been working as the director of the Afghan Film and in this period a lot of works have been done and much focus has been taken place to it. I want to employee and recruit professionals to work in this department. 
Because all films which was screened by all TVs and cinema are edited by the Afghan Film, so we need qualified professional cinematographers.
Shirin Dad the production director of Afghan Film said, between 1360-1370 about 36 private and government cinema were operating across Afghanistan out of which 18 cinema in capital Kabul and 18 in provinces.
Out of 18 cinema, 10 were public and 8 private. A number of cinema were destroyed during Taliban rule and the rest disappeared due to lack of audience. The income of public cinema went to Afghan film budget.
Shirin Dad added beside 4 cinema in Kabul, 5 small cinema are operating in Mirwais Maidan, Now Abad Dehmazang and 2 in Gulbahar center which their audience are elders and children.
Eng. Rahela Kohistani director of municipality cultural department said, three cinema Khair Khana, Park and Ariana belong to us which are operating by contractors. Kohistani added due to screening of American, Chinese, Iranian, Indian films by private TVs the situation of cinema is not good. Majority of cinema audience are addicted people. We allocated Wednesday, for families to attend cinema but no family was ready to go cinema.
She went on to say, we sell tickets against Afs 50. Last year in each time we had 90-100 audience but this year there are no more than 45-50. Despite of that every month we collect from 200000 to 400000 income. We initiated the preparing of Afghan Star program in cinema Arianan and collected Afs 90000.
She added cinema Park has a background of 80 years but its building was damaged. It will be rebuilt in four floors. The ground floor will be allocated to cinema and the rest for groceries conference hall. It is construction was put for bidding. Only one American donor visited it.  But it will be built from the budget of Kabul municipality. And duet to lack of audience cinema Park and Khair Khana will be shutdown. Acting director of cinema Pamir Mohamamd Ashraf said, cinema Pamir is one of the public cinema. Before it belonged to Export Promotion Bank. But following dissolving of EPB it was connected to the MoF. Now its operated by private contractors and every month Afs 600000-700000 income is sent to MoF. We are facing lack of audience due to security reasons, increasing cable TVs, Dishanthens and private TVs specially TV-7.  But during spring and summer we have 350-450 audience, while in cold season only 50-70 audience. The contractors have to pay salaries of 18 employees of all cinema.   Karima Malikzada