Makers of documentaries - who commit their lives to serious causes - do not get any kind of support in India, documentary director Rajan S. Jala has said.

He was speaking at a meet-the-press programme organised at the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club. The screening of Jala's film Children of the Pyre kicked off the 3{+r}{+d} International Documentary and Short film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK), here, on Friday.

The documentary-maker has to find monetary support to get his project off the ground. Then, he also has to find money to market his product. In foreign countries, the government supports documentary-makers with liberal budget and does not question the ‘line' of their work.

“In India, Rs.4 lakh or so given by organisations such as the Public Service Broadcast Trust (PSBT) does not even amount to five per cent of the budget of a documentary shot over two to three years. The trust commissions 20 to 30 films a year and there are close to 2,000 documentary-makers in India.”

The PSBT budget of Rs.3 lakh a film is more suited for a documentary made over a few months.

Moreover, the PSBT gives the director guidelines. Only within such directives will a person be able to make a documentary. So, a director does not have full freedom to make a documentary.

Children of the Pyre, which won acclaim and awards at the film festivals at Montreal and Sao Paulo, narrates the lives of seven children whose livelihood depends on keeping the funeral pyres burning at ‘Manikarnika' in Varanasi - perhaps the largest crematorium in India.

Director Ritu Sarin, who has made documentaries on Tibet, said documentary-makers in Europe get money both for producing and marketing their films.

In India, there was a pressing need to bring audiences to documentary makers and film festivals, she said.