Thursday, February 24, 2011

Random News Generator- Indonesia

The Oscars are coming up, and you know what that means: the annual speculation on who will win the Montage of Dead People. (Come on. You know you do it.) Also there will apparently be some awards handed out for whatever people thought was halfway decent this year.

One thing you might hear about is people who use the nomination list for Best Picture as a kind of homework assignment: they feel obligated to watch everything nominated that they have not yet watched. In Indonesia, they would love to have this problem. Right now, however, they are fighting for the ability to be able to watch any of them, as the MPAA is ordering Hollywood films removed from Indonesian cinemas.

There are two reasons for the MPAA taking this step. First, the taxes on importing the film to Indonesia has more than doubled, from 20 cents per meter of film to 43 cents, plus an import duty tax and a cut of the profits. This is too expensive for Hollywood. Second, it's not like they see much of the profits anyway, as piracy is rampant. European and Asian distributors have thought along those lines as well.

So okay, maybe Indonesia is watching the movies. Just not the way they're supposed to.

'Why not just watch the locally-produced films', you might ask. Because, by their own admission, the locally-produced films suck, nobody actually watches them, and there aren't enough of them to meet demand anyway, that's why. In response to immense pressure from all corners, distributors, theaters and filmgoers alike, the tax has come under review; it will take about two weeks to render a final verdict.

Indonesia's Finance Ministry, for their part, has called it a misunderstanding, claiming that the taxes were simply being moved from the back end to the front end of the import process. It doesn't appear to be convincing anyone.

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