In the clearest sign of hope yet, Indonesian officials signaled on Thursday that Hollywood blockbusters — including the last Harry Potter film — could be back on screens within a fortnight.
Djonny Sjafruddin, head of the Indonesian Cinema Companies Union (GPBSI), told the Jakarta Globe that almost all film importation issues were now solved.
“Particularly the ones related to customs, royalties and income tax,” he said. “We’re now only dealing with technical issues.”
This meant Hollywood films might arrive here in as little as 10 days, he said. “It will still take time for the films to go through customs, censors and adding the subtitles,” he explained.
A key priority is getting “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2,” he said, which premiered in London last week and began showing in Asia this week, to the chagrin of Indonesian fans.
The turn of events on Thursday was made possible by the Customs and Excise Office clearing newly registered film importer Omega Film to bring in movies.
Susiwiyono, the director of customs and excise information, confirmed the news in a text message but did not explain why.
Omega was given a film import license on May 3, but a freeze was imposed as officials sought to clarify its relationship with Indonesian film giant Cineplex 21.
Cineplex 21 is affiliated with Camila and Satrya, two major film importers banned by the Finance Ministry pending payment of Rp 22 billion ($2.6 million) in back taxes and interest.
Omega was the only company given an import license among the six that applied, as four appeared to have the same address as Omega. It was not clear why the fifth was rejected.
Syamsul Lussa, head of the film department at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, explained that companies in the film industry were not allowed to have businesses that could create “vertical integration, whether directly or indirectly.”
Vertical integration refers to a company going into businesses that form part of its supply chain or production path.
“So, if there is dodgy data about Omega Film, we are going to investigate it and revoke its business permit if necessary,” he said.
Tourism Minister Jero Wacik has said that the Motion Picture Association of America, the umbrella group for six major Hollywood studios that boycotted Indonesia from February over a royalty dispute, only wants to deal with importers it is familiar with, understood to mean Camila and Satrya and the Cineplex group.