#Showbiz: Call for more investors to boost local film industry

THE National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) is encouraging local filmmakers to work with corporate companies as investors to produce international-level scripts with solid commercial value.

This could be a winning strategy for 2024 to enable the Malaysian film industry to flourish.

The makers of the film 'Abang Adik', produced by More Entertainment Sdn Bhd and New Century Southward Development Co Ltd, had successfully used this formula.

It recorded an impressive box office collection in Taiwan amounting to more than NT$40 million, recently.

Finas chief executive officer Datuk Azmir Saifuddin Mutalib said cooperation with investors could also indirectly reduce the dependence of film producers on government funds.

"A joint-venture approach with investors that include corporate companies, would see a reduction of dependency on the government in addition to generating greater capital.

"The government can only help to a certain extent.

"So, when there is an injection of capital from investors, producers can come up with more impressive films.

"They also cannot depend on just one company. Instead, they should try to work with several investors like the method used for the movie 'Abang Adik'.

"When there are many investors, then the film distribution aspect can also be increased," he said.

Azmir added that several other local films, such as 'Polis Evo' and 'MALBATT: Misi Bakara', had also found success by cooperating with many investors.

He added that Finas wants to see more distribution companies established in the local film industry ecosystem.

"So far, there are only a few companies that stand out as film distributors, like Media Prima Berhad (MPB), Astro Shaw, and Skop Productions.

"We hope more companies of a similar ilk can be established," he said.

Azmir said throughout the past year, Finas has helped a lot with digital streaming media or over-the-top platforms (OTT) and that effort will continue in 2024.

"Finas is very proud of the achievements of several OTT platforms such as iQIYI that successfully penetrated the Chinese market.

"As an effort to balance the industry, Finas will help production companies on the OTT platform through funding.

"We have seen a lot of success achieved by OTT platforms abroad.

"We will use the same model to further develop local companies such as MPB via its Tonton platform and Suke TV which is owned by Datuk AC Mizal," he said.

In another development, Azmir said that a new act touching on the issue of production crew and behind-the-scenes personnel will be presented in the Dewan Rakyat, this year.

"The issue of insurance and salary scale has long been voiced by Persatuan Seniman Malaysia and the Malaysian Film Directors Association, but the relevant act is still not there.

"We will refine it and try to bring this to Parliament as soon as possible," he said.

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