Industries & Festivals — February 11, 2013 at 8:19 am

International Film Festival Malaysia postponed

malaysia-flagMalaysia has again postponed its upcoming Kuala Lumpur Content & Communications International Market (KLCCIM) and the related International Film Festival Malaysia, according to FilmBiz Asia.

Other government involvement reform of the Malaysian film industry remains more or less on track.

Both the KLCCIM and IFFM had originally been set for launch in November last year, but were relocated to March 2013.

The previous delay appeared to come from organisational unreadiness.

The explanation this time is more closely linked to the upcoming national elections in the spring, for which the government is clearing the decks. No new dates have been set.

Despite the KLCCIM and IFFM delays, many other aspects of industry reform are proceeding apace, said Abdul Khalid MAULOD, director of marketing and promotion at the National Film Development Corporation of Malaysia (FINAS) Perbadana Kemajuan Filem Nasional Malaysia, speaking in Berlin, at the European Film Market.

The government delegation to Berlin also includes FINAS chairman Afendi Hamdan.

Maulod said that the merger of the two regulatory bodies FINAS and Malaysian Film Department Filem Negara Malaysia, has been completed.

And that former Negara director Raja Rozaimie Dalnish SHAH had taken over as director general of FINAS.

FINAS now controls the combined budget of the two organisations and is able to offer “full circle” support to the local film industry.

While FINAS’s central roles are regulation, promotion and facilitation, its sound stages are now joined by the laboratories and production equipment previously operated by Filem Negara.

This year is also set to see the introduction of a new 30 percent locations rebate scheme. The original plan was to have this functioning from 1 Jan 2013.

While the necessary bureaucractic processes have not yet been completed, FINAS says all the paperwork is ready for signature and could be signed this month.

In the meantime producers can proceed on the basis that their qualifying local spend will be acceptable as long as they obtain a provisional certificate from FINAS before shooting.

The rebate scheme is a key piece of the jigsaw of products and services that are expected to accompany the opening of the Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios in the south of the country later this year. FINAS and the studio chiefs say that the scheduled May 2013 opening remains on course.

Maulod said that the government is also re-examining the compulsory screening system (Skim Wajib Tayang) that is designed to maximise the theatrical opportunities for Malaysian films.

It obliges cinemas to give the largest screen in a complex to local films and to play the picture for two weeks.

But with local production leaping from 49 films in 2011 to 73 in 2012 a logjam of local films is now crowding multiplexes and films are cannibalising each other’s box office.

The scheme will be kept in place, FINAS says. But it hopes that the largest producers will self-regulate their output.

In the meantime FINAS is also negotiating with the exhibitors and producers trade associations about ways to soften the impact of the screening requirements.

Bilateral co-production treaties with Australia and subsequently with neighbouring Singapore are also in the pipeline.

“The ball is in the Australian court at the moment,” said Maulod.

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