Initiatives to revive local film industry in the pipeline

The Communications and Multimedia Ministry is aware of the plight faced by those in the movie industry due to Covid-19 and will look at ways on how to revive the industry post Covid-19.

This was the assurance given by minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah today on members of the industry whose livelihood have been affected due to the Movement Control Order.

Saifuddin said the ministry is aware of the situation and plans to hold a special discussion among the ministry, National Film Development Corporation (FINAS) and members of the industry to address the matter.

“This (discussion) is for us to draft a mechanism on re-airing (tayang semula) of films and also steps on how to help members of the industry face challenges post Covid-19,” he said.

“I will also refine the implementation of the mandatory screening scheme and any other new initiatives to revive the industry post Covid-19.”

On April 22, Twentytwo13 highlighted the plight faced by those in the local film industry who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns.

With local cinemas and production houses closed since March 18 and film releases halted, the domino effect will not only hit production houses, crew members and actors but also daily paid workers in the industry.

With movie releases postponed, some indefinitely, and production halted or cancelled, the prospects of the US$136 billion (RM595 billion) film industry appear uncertain.

In our report it was noted that although the local film industry is small compared to that of other countries, it may seem to be way down in the government’s priority list.

While larger production companies may have enough reserves to last till the end of April, smaller production houses and freelancers will suffer.

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Malaysian Film Producers Association honorary secretary Zahrin Aris had previously suggested that 25 per cent entertainment tax be returned to local producers while 10 per cent tax from international films be directed to film exhibitors.

He had also said the screening dates of local films should also be re-looked once the MCO is over and he hoped Finas will be able to formulate a plan to help the industry,” he added.

Director, actor and producer Datuk Afdlin Shauki had meanwhile suggested Finas give out as many grants as possible to invigorate the industry and get people working again as soon as possible.

Afdlin had suggested for a special fund for people producing content for social media from home as this will keep them busy during the lockdown.

Film and TV producer Datuk Nancy Foo had said many freelancers like actors, directors, writers and production crew members require government assistance as not everyone has Employees Provident Fund (EPF) savings,” she said.

Concerns were also raised as to how the industry will be functioning once the MCO is over. Actress Vanidah Imran had said that work flow would be difficult as if the rules of social distancing was still in effect, it would be difficult for shooting to take place as there are easily about 20-50 people on set unless it is a documentary.

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