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Theaters may stop screening imported films JAKARTA - The uncertainty over the future of imported films in the country could cost filmgoers a chance to enjoy Academy Award nominated films such as Natalie Portman’s Black Swan, James Franco’s 127 Hours and Jeff Bridges’ True Grit on the big screen.

The issue arose after the Motion Picture Association (MPA) - the international counterpart of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) representing theatrical film and advocating for major producers and distributors of entertainment programming - announced on Thursday that they opposed the Indonesian government’s plan to impose new taxes.

Noorca Massardi, a spokesman for the 21 Cineplex theater chain, said the MPA complained about the distribution tax that would be implemented soon by the government, adding that this may force MPA-affiliated distributors to stop sending Hollywood films to Indonesia.

He added that beginning Friday, there were no new imported films screened at 21 Cineplex cinemas because producers had temporarily stopped the distribution of upcoming films. So far, he added, theaters were playing films released before the decision.

Black Swan and 127 Hours are scheduled to be released this weekend, but as of Friday, neither 21 Cineplex nor the Blitz Megaplex theater chain have received a green light to screen the films. "It would be a massive blow for the cinema industry as we would lose filmgoers," Noorca said.

Dian Sunardi, Blitz Megaplex’s head of marketing, expressed similar concerns. "This will have an impact on the cinema and film industry as well as mall and retail businesses," she added. Indonesian film producer Sheila Timothy said the situation would not boost the local film industry.

"The reason for the new tax was to develop the national film industry, which makes no sense," she said. "If cinemas cannot screen imported films, they would not be able to survive by screening only local fare. How would we filmmakers get our films seen? I’m afraid piracy would mushroom since people could no longer watch Hollywood films," she added.

Thomas Sugijata from the Directorate General of Taxation and Customs and Excise Office said no final decisions had been made regarding imported films. "MPA representatives came today to express their objections to the tax. We heard them out and will hold a meeting to discuss the issue before we make a decision,” Thomas told The Jakarta Post on Friday. However, he declined to explain in detail the new tax regulation.

Thomas also refused to disclose if the proposed tax would also be imposed on films imported from Asian countries such as India, China and Hong Kong. Indonesian film producer Sheila Timothy said the situation would not boost the local film industry.


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Posted in Culture @ 20 February 2011 03:31 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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