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Seminar eyes ways to boost domestic movie distribution

Update: July, 27/2012 - 10:14

HA NOI — US blockbusters and movies produced by foreign companies were overwhelming Vietnamese productions, making up 80 per cent of movies screened in the nation's cinemas, according to a seminar on movie distribution in Viet Nam that took place in Ha Noi on Wednesday.

Themed Situations and Solutions to Promote Movie Distribution and Popularisation During 2012-15, the seminar was hosted by the Cinematography Department under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Representatives from several domestic film studios and movie distribution companies as well as cultural managers gathered at the event.

Participants evaluated the situation of movie distribution and popularisation in Viet Nam since the country joined the WTO in 2007.

While most movie-goers in big cities were satisfied with entertainment-content movies, domestic productions that received much critical acclaim were failing to attract audiences.

On a different subject, according to deputy head of the Cinematography Department Ngo Phuong Lan, the cinema boom that had been seen in recent years was subsiding because the State was no longer subsidising the Viet Nam Import-Export Film Distributing Company (Fafim Viet Nam) that used to hold a monopoly over the market.

As a result, Fafim has fallen into crisis and been unable to import any foreign films or distribute Made-in-Viet Nam productions since 2009.

Without this main distribution source, most State-owned cinemas have partially shut down, while others have turned to different business models.

Deterioration of cinema theatres has also contributed to decreasing turnover.

To solve the problem, a national programme on culture has supported some provinces to upgrade their local cinema theatres with updated equipment. In addition, some movies were dubbed with different ethnic languages, helping ethnic people from remote areas to enjoy them.

However, Lan said this support was not enough to boost Vietnamese movie distribution.

"In 2011, the number of Vietnamese movies screened in cinemas reached 16.3 per cent, with imported movies accounting for the majority. The number of Vietnamese movies screened in State-owned theatres reached 31 per cent, while in non-State owned cinemas it was much lower, at 14.68 per cent," Lan said.

During the seminar, attendees also discussed potential solutions to effectively promote movie distribution. The average percentage of Vietnamese movies screened in every cinema is targeted to reach 20 per cent this year, and 30 per cent by 2015.

Lan said cinemas that were coping with the economic crisis should not change their operations, but should upgrade and renovate their business models.

Participants also shared their opinion on several significant matters, including the control of audio-visual productions that violate copyright laws, balancing the number of movies screened in cities and rural areas, and promoting the role of mobile cinemas with the aim of bringing Vietnamese movies closer to mass audiences.

The seminar asked the State to restore the National Goal on Cinematography, which would require investment in the development of the cinema network as well as the necessary screening equipment so that movies were accessible to people from every province across the country, especially in border and remote areas which are home to ethnic groups. — VNS

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