25 Years of NETPAC
Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema, is a worldwide organization founded in 1990 by Aruna Vasudev as the result of a conference organized in New Delhi by Cinemaya, The Asian Film Quarterly, at the request of UNESCO, to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of Asian films and filmmakers at a time when Asian cinema was just coming into its own but was relatively unknown regionally and internationally. Cinemaya, launched independently by Aruna Vasudev in 1988, had already paved the way. When, as a result of the New Delhi conference, NETPAC was established as a regional and international network, Cinemaya became its official journal.
NETPAC is a voluntary organization managed entirely by cinephiles who have worked tirelessly and selflessly without remuneration over a period of 25 years to promote Asian cinema. Daunting as the task may seem, we have succeeded in creating and sustaining a singular organization unprecedented in the annals of cultural activism for having single-handedly brought a significant portion of the cinematic products of the Asian continent to world awareness.
NETPAC is especially proud to have brought to international attention independent and non-mainstream films by new directors whose works might well have remained unknown because of a lack of publicity and promotion caused by lack of funds and resources. Now Asian films have a prominent presence in cinemas worldwide.
Among the many initiatives that NETPAC has taken over the past 25 years are:
The presentation of the NETPAC Award for Best Asian Film at 30 film festivals throughout the world, including Berlin, Rotterdam, Warsaw, Moscow, Jeonju, Busan and Hawaii, to focus attention on the talent of young emerging filmmakers to facilitate funding for their future works. This award was first presented at the Berlin Film Festival in 1994.
We have published and co-published books on Asian cinema. Among them are “Modernity & Nationality in Vietnamese Cinema” by Ngo Phuong Lan, the first book on Vietnamese cinema in English by a Vietnamese author. The most recent publication is “When Strangers Meet: Visions of Asia & Europe in Film”, co-published by NETPAC and the Asia-Europe Foundation, Singapore.
Conferences on Asian cinema have been organized since 1991 in Yamagata, Hawaii, Manila, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and New Delhi.
NETPAC has programmed special packages of Asian films for international film festivals across the world.
Cinefan, the NETPAC Festival of Asian Cinema was launched in New Delhi in 1999 and the Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival (JAFF)was launched in Jogjakarta in 2007.
The Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) in collaboration with NETPAC has instituted an award - the APSA NETPAC Development Prize - worth US$5,000 to an emerging filmmaker from Asia. NETPAC played an instrumental role in the development of Asiapacificfilms.com which is an Asian Pacific digital film library streaming artistic and culturally significant films from Asia and the Pacific. The site was launched in October 2009 and can be accessed at www.asiapacificfilms.com
NETPAC now has a wide network of contacts among film festivals, film organisations, government and non-government agencies, film scholars, critics, programmers and festival directors with whom we work collaboratively in mutually beneficial activities to advance the cause of Asian cinema.
After 25 challenging and fruitful years, we can report with pride that NETPAC has succeeded in achieving its objectives.