Ministries Disagree Over Film Import Priorities

The Jakarta Globe

With major movies still missing from Indonesia’s screens, the Finance Ministry and the Culture and Tourism Ministry are at odds over whether or not the to address the lack of competition in the import of films.

Bambang Permadi Brodjonegoro, the head of fiscal affairs at the Finance Ministry, said the near-monopoly held by the country’s main film importers needed to end.

“Two film importers handle six major studios,” Bambang said. “We should ask the major studios, such as Walt Disney Pictures, Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox to open a representative office in Indonesia.”

He added that an alternative solution would be to make sure all major studios use a separate local business partner.

The Finance Ministry’s Directorate General of Customs recently granted a new foreign-film importing license to Omega Film. However, that company is believed to be related to major cinema chain 21 Cineplex.

Omega Film is also said to be linked to two film importers banned from bringing Hollywood films to Indonesia after they were ordered by the state to pay a total of Rp 31 billion ($3.6 million) in unpaid taxes. That demand was made shortly after the Motion Picture Association of America decided to stop exporting movies to Indonesia over a dispute on royalty calculations.

Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik said on Wednesday that the specifics of the business model were less important than the problems currently preventing foreign films from entering the Indonesian market.

He added that a wider variety of film importers would not fix the royalty row, and that if a monopoly on importing would give the people access to blockbuster movies, then that option should not be rejected.

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