Sri Lanka re-nationalizes film distribution under 1971 agency

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s National Film Corporation, a state agency set up in 1971 has re-nationalized film distribution under an administration of United National Party of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe creating a state monopoly giving final authority to its chief, a government notice shows.

Under a gazette notice issued this month, all films imported will have to be submitted to the NFC, and all local films have to be registered at the agency with a fee before production. A name will also have to be registered with payment.

Films not registered will not be allowed to be screened.

Under protectionism continued by the current administration the use of a foreigner as a star or main technician will be charged a penalty 250,000 rupees, and supporting cast member or assistant technical person 100,000 rupees.

All imported films will have to be given to the NFC for distribution.

A group of commissars representing the fields of anthropology, psychology, environmentalism, ‘educationology’, technology, business management, medicine and three other academics will decide whether the film has "classical-attractive", "commercial-attractive" or combination of attractiveness.

A scheduling committee, which will also include industry representatives will schedule the films.

However a ‘specific’ film could be screened outside the procedure taken for normal films.

Importers should get written permission from the Chairman of the NFC before bringing down films.

The Chairman can approve revision of the schedule.

"The Chairman of the Corporation retains all powers for revision, cancellation and determination of matters including circulars/guidelines issued for the purpose of implementation of the film screening and distribution methodology," the gazette said.

"Any decision taken by the Chairman of the Corporation regarding any matter in relation to the methodology issued to ensure proper distribution of films should be the final."