Reflecting on Digital Asia: The Film Industry

Over the past few years, Asian cinema has become increasingly more popular within the film industry. Due to the rise of technology, the world is more open to engage with media from other cultures. Online streaming services such as Netflix have changed the way the world is interacting with cinema and allows the world to access films from anywhere. As a result, a lot of Western audiences are more open to watching films produced by Asia because there is now access online.

The four main countries that account for the majority of the Asian film market are China, Japan, South Korea, and India. Paksiutov (2021) highlights that “In 2010-2018, the total box office revenue in the Asia-Pacific countries approximately doubled to $16.7 billion from $8.5 billion”. In this post, I have researched the Indian film industry to demonstrate how digital Asia has changed over the past few years. 

Indian Film Industry 

A lot of people don’t realise that there is much more to the Indian film industry than mainstream Bollywood. The Indian film industry is made up of many different styles such as Kollywood and Tollywood as well. Ghosh Dastidar & Caroline Elliott (2020) reveals that “​​India continues to be by far the world’s largest producer of films, producing 1724 films in 2013 compared to 738 films produced in the USA, and 638 films produced in China”. As you can see, thousands of films are produced in India and these films are slowly appearing in Western media too. 

An example of Indian film is a documentary called India In A Day (2016), which was edited by a Canadian-Indian film director Richie Mehta. This film is part of a sector in the Indian film industry that I recently engaged in. It is a unique addition to the Indian film industry as the footage was crowdsourced from locals and shot on cameras & smartphones. A majority of the film is well photographed and the overall cinematography provides a unique personal experience for the viewer. The overarching theme in this documentary is the rise of technology in India. But it is also a great example of how Asia has transformed and is starting to rely on technology as they grow.  

It is clear that “both elders and young adults look around them and note how different the world is now from what it was in their youth” (Staff, 2016). Even though India’s living conditions and environment is not as advanced as other countries around the world, they are still on their way to becoming digitally advanced. Because of the availability of smartphones and connectivity in India “it is home to one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing bases of digital consumers and is digitizing faster than many mature and emerging economies” (Kaka, Madgavkar, Kshirsagar, Gupta, Manyika, Bahl & Gupta, 2019). 

For instance, in the opening scene of the film the clip highlights how one of the locals relies on their neighbours WiFi to use technology. As mentioned in my tweet, I thought that this was a beautiful representation of how sometimes they might be disconnected from the world but they are always connected to each other. Likewise, the social transactions in Asia have “brought substantial benefits to users, notably for the regions’ many labour migrants and their families in, often, provincial settings” (Antique, 2019). Therefore, due to the rise of technology in India, connectivity around the world is possible.

Overall, I have learnt that technology has enabled people to engage with media from outside their own culture. This is exactly why Western audiences are more likely to engage with media from around the globe. Digital Asia is now expanding their media for audiences to access across the globe, which is why the Asian film industry is now so popular.

References 

Paksiutov, G., 2021. Transformation of the Global Film Industry: Prospects for Asian Countries. Russia in Global Affairs, 19(2), pp.111-132. Available At: https://eng.globalaffairs.ru/articles/global-film-industry-asia/ 

Dastidar, S.G., Elliott, C. (2020). The Indian film industry in a changing international market. Journal of Cultural Economics 44, 97–116. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10824-019-09351-6 

Staff, T., 2016. ‘India in a Day’: Film Review. [online] The Hollywood Reporter. Available at: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-reviews/india-a-day-955299/ 

Kaka, N., Madgavkar, A., Kshirsagar, A., Gupta, R., Manyika, J., Bahl, K. and Gupta, S., 2019. Digital India: Technology to transform a connected nation. [online] McKinsey Digital. Available at: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/digital-india-technology-to-transform-a-connected-nation 

Athique, Adrian (2019). Digital Transactions in Asia. Digital Transactions in Asia: Social , Economic and Informational Processes. (pp. 1-22) edited by Adrian Athique and Emma Baulch. New York, NY United States: Routledge.

2 thoughts on “Reflecting on Digital Asia: The Film Industry

  1. Hi Michaela,

    My blog for this week also reflected on Asian cinema and how this has advanced alongside technology.

    I agree with your argument that streaming services have changed the way the world interacts with cinema.

    Mike Goodridge – artistic director of Macao’s International Film Festival and Awards makes a really valid point that “in the past, we’ve been at the mercy of what you call American cultural imperialism” however, streaming services have meant that more local films and TV are being produced to encourage subscribers in each country to patriciate with these services.

    For me, this subject has immersed me into Asian cinema and allowed me to engage with content that I have not necessarily engaged with before.

    Thanks!
    Grace

    Like

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