9 Dec – While the Compulsory Screening Scheme (Skim Wajib Tayang) was introduced to protect local movies from being sidelined in the cinemas, it has also created a phenomenon where local movies of discernible lack of quality are now consistently flooding the big screens.
To overcome this rising issue, the National Film Development Corporation (FINAS) along with the likes of Malaysian Association of Film Exhibitors (MAFE) and Malaysia Film Producers Association (PFM) have decided to make amendments to the existing Compulsory Screening Scheme.
"The new scheme will assure only high quality local movies will be screened," said FINAS Director-General Datuk Kamil Othman during the press conference held at the Content Malaysia Pitching Centre, Platinum Sentral yesterday.
Datuk Kamil Othman explained that starting next year, local movies submitted on 1 July 2016 onwards for Compulsory Screening will be subjected to the new scheme, which will have stricter evaluating stages.
Two committees will be doing the evaluation whereby the first committee will decide whether a movie passes the quality test or not. If given a green light, said movie will be given a release date without going through the second committee's evaluation.
The second committee will only come into action if the first committee rejects said movie. While the first committee is more from professionals and business' point-of-view, the second is more from laymen and audiences' view.
If the movie is deemed as something local audiences would watch, it will be passed back to the first committee to be allocated a slot for release in local cinemas.
If a movie fails to get approval from both committees, Datuk Kamil Othman said that the next option for the producers would be to either appeal, choose the option of Video-on-demand (VOD), release the movie in DVD format or lastly, try selling it outside of Malaysia – as some movies that are deemed unsuitable for local market don't necessarily mean they are unacceptable in other markets.
It is hoped that with the new scheme, local filmmakers will pay more attention to the quality of their end products instead of continuing the current trend where movies are mostly produced in a slapdash manner.
Currently all local movies under the Compulsory Screening Scheme must be allowed to be screened at local cinemas for at least two weeks, despite the film's quality or box office performance. This scheme was introduced in 23 June 2005 by means of supporting the local film industry, however this year has seen the local box office collection falter disappointingly, collecting only RM49 million from 80 local titles (to date).
Film insiders blame the drop of collections due to the poor quality and content of majority of the films, and also the amendment to the scheme which took place on 24 May 2012, where from just one, two local films were allowed to be shown in Malaysia's cinemas in a week up to now.
The new Compulsory Screening Scheme is set to take effect on 1 July 2016.