I just returned from a week-long trip to Sarawak to produce a documentary on SCORE (Sarawak Corridor For Renewable Energy)...and so was too busy to update anything since internet during the journey between Bintulu to Sarikei and Sibu and Mukah was difficult though not impossible.
Anyway, coming home I was hit with a barrage of events that should have shook the industry. Firstly I feel sad that the targets set by a certain producer for his film was not achieved. He was so confident of getting RM40 million in box office tickets sales for his maiden feature film, but alas, his ticket sales, from what I heard did not even hit the RM400,000 mark.
My dear friend's Estet, a movie that I thought is much better than most of the crap that are being produced locally, too did not make a dent at the box office. To date, it has collected less than half a million in ticket sales. Why oh why didn't the people turn up. Why oh why didn't FINAS help a film that is worth promoting to the public?
Whilst ESTET was going South, another crappy horror movie Nangkung, was making big bucks hitting RM6million since its release. It is still going strong and might even affect Mamat's latest directorial effort Rumah Mak Limah which begins its run today. I wish both Mamat and Gayathri the best of luck.
Meanwhile I haven't checked how well TU's first foray into producing a Tamil movie fared. Appalam, their Tamil remake of Adflin's award winning Papadom began its run a couple of weeks back.
But on the 1st of December two things of note happened. One TV Al Hijrah, Malaysia's first Islamic free-to-air TV station was officially launched. On what channel? I don't know. Read the newspaper reports lah...because you need a normal TV antenna to tune in to the channel (which I don't have). Hopefully, Astro will agree to carry the channel, so that the 3 million households who don't use TV aerials can view the channel.
The second thing of note, however, took the film industry by surprise. On this date, FINAS stopped the practice of rebating the entertainment tax for all local feature films to the producers.
This is startling news for producers as it can be a huge amount. For example, Nangkung who according to some statistics has received RM6 million in ticket sales, will be paying RM1.2 million in entertainment tax from the takings. Before 1st December 2010, this tax would have been rebated to the producer. Now it will not be rebated.
So producers are just wondering, what they hell do they need FINAS for? Right now, they line up to register with FINAS for dates because they want the rebates. Those who don't follow this procedure are not entitled to the rebates.
Since the rebates doesn't exist anymore, getting screening dates through FINAS is redundant because distribution companies can now get the best dates for their films directly from the cinema owners.
Meanwhile, the Film Producers' Association has remained silent on this issue much to the chagrin of its members.
We live in interesting but tough times.