10 Dec – National Film Development Corporation (FINAS) has decided that it is high time for the licensing fees in Malaysia to be raised.
During the press conference held at the Content Malaysia Pitching Centre, Platinum Sentral yesterday, it was revealed by FINAS Director-General Datuk Kamil Othman that a 40 percent raise can be expected for the licenses.
"The fees haven't been changed since 1983," said Datuk Kamil Othman.
There are currently six types of license issued by FINAS, which are Film Production (PF), Video Production (PV), Film Distribution (DF), Video Distribution (DV), Film Exhibition (EF) and Video Exhibition (EV).
Most of the licenses have a current annual fee of RM100 with a refundable deposit of RM1,000, except for License PV which requires RM5,000 deposit. Licenses DV and DF's annual fees are RM400 each and deposits are RM2,500 and RM1,000, respectively.
Up until October 2015, there have been 5,604 licenses issued by FINAS. Unfortunately, most of the license holders are either inactive or unaware of proper work procedures.
"Some of the film producers are even unaware of what Film In Malaysia Incentive (FIMI) is about and end up misinforming the foreign companies that come to film here," Datuk Kamil Othman explained, saying this is one of the reasons why the fees are to be raised – to ensure that only serious and well-informed filmmakers will apply for licenses.
This will in turn lessen the production of low-quality local movies as it is deduced that due to the filming licenses being readily available, movies are currently being produced without much thought and effort put into them, thus the oversaturation of dissatisfactory end products in the local market.
Expected to take effect in the first quarter of 2016, current license holders who do not wish to pay for the higher fees may choose to hand over their licenses and their deposits will be refunded to them.
FINAS is unquestionably tightening its quality control on local movies; apart from raising the licensing fees, the Compulsory Screening Scheme (Skim Wajib Tayang) too will undergo changes in order to ensure only high quality local movies will be screened in cinemas.