Dear Mr Ahmad Fuad Onah aka The President of PFM,
Thank you for highlighting the plight of Malay film producers to the public. No not the plight that Malay movies aren't attracting the crowds, but the plight of the producers who have leaders like you.
Your idea for the increase in ticket prices for foreign films in order to maybe get the public to consider watching Malay movies as the ticket prices will be cheaper, is to say the least not thought out properly.
If you think Malay movies are like Air Asia you must be out of your skull. You want to tell the world :"Now everyone can watch Malay movies?".
I am quite embarrassed with the statement which have been picked up by the international press. What kind of industry do we have that we need to do this?
And I think you have also given rather generalised statements. You said it is common practice in Jakarta, and I beg to differ. Local movies in Indonesia do not get preferential treatment. If you go to Blitz or XXI cinema halls, the local films are priced similarly to the foreign movies. If you want to pay less to see local movies, you go to the cinema halls that are usually meant for local movies ONLY. These would be the kind of halls we once used to have in smaller towns.
Furthermore, I believe your proposal to be detrimental to the whole industry. If implemented, the consequences are far reaching - it may even spell the demise of the cinema industry along with it the local film industry.
In your past statements, you have always championed commercial main stream fare because you said you weren't interested in making films that win awards and do not make money at the box office. Well, most local movies do both - they don't make money and they don't win awards.
Is this a knee jerk reaction to the under performances of high profile local movies like Cicakman 2 and Antoo Fighter? If it is, that you have done wrong. Being the President of PFM you should be concerned about the bigger picture of our film industry, not just to salvage the pride of under performing local movies produced by a few.
I also need to ask you or rather PFM. You have been receiving 2 percent of all box office receipts from local movies - whether they make money or not. This percentage is from the tax rebates you get from the state arranged by FINAS.
As far as I know, this has been happening for at least ten years. I am not sure of the amount, but it should be substantial. What has happened to this fund which I believe was supposed to have helped the local film industry - development, education and promotion at least.
Can I know the amount PFM has received and what it has been used for? I hope not to pay for travel for association members to international film festivals. As producers who can afford to pay millions to produce movies, they should be able to pay for their own travel expenses.
Finally, I do hope that PFM retract that statement which I believe was done without the support of the members of PFM, and take a good look at what ails the industry and how well the industry associations like PFM and FDAM can help it without making the industry look bad.
Film Directors' Association of Malaysia.