Sri Lanka Film Exhibitors Association President and veteran film producer Buddhi Keerthisena pledged support to the new film distribution move by the National Film Corporation, but insisted that such a move should not be based on old circulars and old notions.
He said it should be streamlined in a novel, transparent and flawless manner so that all stakeholders in the film industry would not be deprived of their returns.
“We supported the move initiated by the then Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe to bring film distribution under the National Film Corporation. We pledged our solidarity as the Film Exhibitors Association with the support of 117 films halls. That was about one year ago. Then the film distribution circuits went to courts against the move and got an interim injunction order. The circuits continued with the film distribution.
But recently court lifted the interim injunction order, meaning the NFC would take up the task of film distribution. We are happy about it, because we feel the film circuits had some shortcomings triggering this move. But the NFC should not adhere to old circulars, old ideas and old modules to engage in film distribution. We need a new structure with a new vision agreed upon by the majority of main film stakeholders,” Dr. Keerthisena said.
“While the interim injunction was in operation, the new subject Minister Sajith Premadasa held discussions with us and all stakeholders in a bid to iron out differences and reach consensus towards uplifting and boosting our industry. We too submitted a series of proposals towards that move. The minister promised us a couple of workshops to dicuss and reach consensus. But with the sudden withdrawal of the interim injunction order, all such moves of a workshop appear to be overlooked. We earnestly seek this workshop from the minister, so that all stakeholders could come out with their views and present a set of positive proposals to enhance the local film industry.
Minister Premadasa promised us that a monitoring body comprising film industry professionals with expertise in the filed would be appointed to form a monitoring body that will work alongside the NFC. We earnestly hope the minister will intervene to sort out these issues soon, to give us that promised workshop. One may argue that we are late and running out of time. But a period of two weeks will not make a big difference. We might fall into pitfalls by rushing into things at this vital stage. We are always standing by the NFC and have no willingness to hand over distribution to film circuits. So we hope our appeals would be taken in the right spirit,” he said.