VPF must be brought under sunset ambit: Mukesh Bhatt
The Producers Guild of India joins the fight against VPF by introducing 2-K cinema deployment plan
Inspired by the recent uproar against Virtual Print Fee (VPF) by the Tamil Film Producers Council, the Producers Guild of India has come forward to support a new 2K cinema deployment plan which will encourage Indian producers to release their films only in 2K-format. A VPF is a subsidiary paid by a film producer towards the purchase of digital cinema projection equipment for use by a film exhibitor. Film producers have been paying VPF for the last 15 years; in India, there are about 12,500 operational screens out of which almost 8,000 screens do not satisfy the International standard (Digital Cinema Initiatives) of digital film projection and thus require outsourced equipment from Digital Service Providers (DSPs).
By eradicating the use of non-DCI platforms, the Producers Guild of India in association with digital equipment company Krian Media wishes to widely increase the footprint of Hollywood releases in India while benefiting producers and exhibitors.
Producer Mukesh Bhatt, former president and senior member of Producers Guild of India said, "Such initiatives can fuel the growth of the film industry by introducing DCI-complaint cinema projection across the country and thus bringing down the VPF payout under the sunset ambit as offered by digital integrators worldwide."
Ranjit Thakur, President of Krian Media added, "There is a clear gap in the way digital cinema is positioned in India. The first objective is to bring it at par with the world DCI-complaint standards. By owning 2-K projection equipment, exhibitors would benefit by increasing advertisement revenues and deliver a better experience to cine-goers. Meanwhile, producers will benefit by not paying VPF."
Asked if the Producers Guild of India is ready to go on strike -- a move collaterally adapted by the Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam film industries to register protest against VPF -- Mukesh Bhatt responded, "While I respect the unity displayed by the southern film industries, I do not think that confrontation is a good solution. I believe producers, integrators, distributors, and exhibitors must come together and arrive at a solution that benefits everyone. We must look at the future of digital cinema in India and introduce a standardisation in the industry."