New Import Policy Will Kill Indonesian Film Industry: Noorca

By webadmin on 08:15 am Feb 21, 2011
Category Archive

Jakarta Globe

Prominent film figure Noorca M. Massardi has appealed on the government to revoke
a new import policy that has led to the halting of foreign-film distribution in Indonesia and could deal a crippling blow to the Indonesian cinema and
film industries. 

He
called on all concerned citizens to harness the power of social media to demand the government revoke the unusual regulation.  

In
a letter sent to Kompas.com, Noorca, who is the chairman of the Indonesian Cinemas
Association and spokesman for 21 Cineplex, Indonesia’s largest movie theater chain with
500 screens,
clarified that the decision was taken after the government refused
to respond to the arguments presented against the import policy that went into
effect in January 2011. 

“It
is an outrageous import tax on distribution rights that has never before
existed in any film business practice in the world,” he wrote in the letter. 

He
explained that before the new tax was imposed, each film brought into Indonesia
was already slapped with three kinds of tax that total 23.75 percent of the
value of the item. A further 15 percent revenue tax goes to the country’s tax
coffers, and, in addition, district governments impose entertainment taxes
ranging from 10 to 15 percent of ticket sales. 

“Tax
should only be imposed on imported items,” he wrote. “Films are copyrighted
materials … People can only watch films screened at cinemas, they can’t bring
the films home. The government is disrespecting and exploiting copyrights if it
continues with the new regulation to charge the distribution rights.”  

Aside
from not bringing in new foreign films to Indonesian cinemas beginning Feb. 17, Noorca said that films that have already entered the
country, such as “Black Swan,” “True Grit,” and “127 Hours,” will also not be
shown in cinemas.  

As
a result, he said, the 10,000 employees of 21 Cineplex and their
families are threatened.  

“Every year, cinemas screen 50 to 80 local titles and 100 to 150
foreign titles. If the government does not revoke this new policy, it will kill
the cinema industry in Indonesia,” he told the Jakarta Globe Friday evening.
“If no solution is found, Indonesian cinemas will close down one by one.”  

Further,
he said in the letter to Kompas, the impact of the policy would also be felt by
restaurants and other establishments near cinemas in shopping malls. 

The
central and local governments also will lose film import tax and entertainment tax
revenues, he added.  

He called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to immediately order his
subordinates to revoke the regulation. And he called on lawmakers to question the officials responsible for the policy.