A new and improved Compulsory Screening Scheme is in place to better the film industry.
SOME improvements have been made to the Compulsory Screening Scheme ( Skim Wajib Tayang) by National Film Development Corporation Malaysia ( Finas). The scheme, which aims to help local filmmakers, enforces cinema operators to showcase local ( or joint- venture) films in the cinema halls for a period of time.
“I feel this scheme still has its importance to the Malaysia film industry,” said Zahrin Aris, Finas Skim Wajib Tayang’s president during a press conference held at the Content Malaysia Pitching Centre in Kuala Lumpur recently.
At the event, he also quelled the rumour of the abolition of the scheme which caused a bit of an uproar among filmmakers.
He said, one reason for the improvement is to increase the quality of the films made in Malaysia and so that the scheme is not abused by any party.
Under the previous scheme, a local film has to be screened for 14 days in the biggest hall of a given cineplex.p The improvedp version states thatt if the local film does not fill up 15% of the hallh capacity within three days, Finas enc courages the operators to move it to a sm maller hall.
“With the mo ove to a smaller hall, the film does n not have to carry the huge burden off filling a large number of audiencee and can instead continue to be screened in the cinema,” Zahrin no oted.
Datuk Yusof Haslam, president of Malaysia Film P Producers Association ( PFM) – who wasw present at the press conference – sa aid this makes more sense. “In a lar rge hall, 15% seems like an unachievab le target sometimes. Whereas in a 1 100- seater hall, we just need 15 pe eople to watch it and the cinemaa operators can continue to o show the film for the rem maining period,” he said.
On Finas offi icial website too, it states an nother condition for the mo ove to a smaller hall: “.. .. the number of viewers in the initial hall are less s than 30% of its total seati ing capacity on the first f four consecutive days o of its screening.”
Another welc come change to the s scheme is, a film has to be e shown at least five tim mes a day compared to pr revious four times a da ay.
Besides the im mprovements, Finas ha as also added a new ru ule to the scheme – one th hat Finas hopes will enco ourage filmmakers to m make quality films fo or the benefit of the audiencea and the film in dustry.
Zahrin expla ained: “Come July this s year, the films that wew deem as ‘ poor’ will bee vetted by a second pa nel comprising journal lists, film critics, lecturer rs, film stu- dents, etc. This is to ensure a film is truly worthy to be screened at the cinema for public consumption and we are not rejecting a film based on one party’s opinion. If the film does not pass both levels, it will not fall under the Compulsory Screening Scheme.”
At this point, Zahrin said, the producer of the said film has to deal directly with the exhibitor if they want the film to be screened at the cinema.
According to Datuk Kamil Othman, director general of Finas, the improvements and addition to the scheme is a way to boost the quality of local films. His long- term plan for Malaysia is to get local films to travel to the international market successfully.
Yusof added: “I have found that cinema operators are very encouraging of this Compulsory Screening Scheme as they do want the local films to make money. The low- quality films aren’t that many, but filmmakers need to realise that there has to be a standard for the consumption of paying public.
“We want to make sure that the future producers and filmmakers are better than us, and with this new rulingg the standard can be made higher.”
For more information on the
scheme go to finas. gov. my
Kamil hopes the additional ruling in the Finas Compulsory screening scheme will improve the quality of local films. — AZLINA ABDuLLAh/ The star