7 Nov – Malaysian Film Producers Association Treasurer, Pansha Nalliah said that despite the National Film Development Corporation's (FINAS) decision against the levying of this Virtual Print Fee (VPF) last March, some cinema operators continue to impose it on local film companies.
Pansha Nalliah explains that the VPF is claimed by the cinema to finance the purchase of equipment in the form of Digital Cinema. The cost of converting the digital technology equipment is valued at around RM150,000 to RM400,000.
"Until now, almost all filmmakers complain about how they have to pay RM1500 to each cinema hall, where the film produced will run digitally. It was seen as unfair to the publisher and they had to sign a contract because if not they will not show the movie."
"FINAS has sent a letter to exhibitors on the matter but it was ignored. It is time to take drastic action against them!" he said.
Pansha also added that the VPF deemed as a 'dirty' idea and the Exhibitors take advantage of it when producers manage to reduce the cost of producing a film after using Digital Cinema, as the use of 35mm film is even more expensive.
Exhibitors are said to excuse the cost savings to contribute the cost of converting digital equipment replaced by the cinema.
"Actually, the cinema had no choice due to current technological changes in which Hollywood films are now in digital form instead of 35mm. But local producers could be the victim to cover the cost of digital cinema conversion tool. I think it's time that the exhibitors, who increasingly dominate the local film industry, should be penalized," he said.
PFM hopes that Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery and his ministry can initiate a dialogue between them and the exhibitors to resolve the VPF issue.