UFO Moviez and Qube Cinema, major Indian digital cinema service providers, have decided to waive the Virtual Print Fee (VPF) for new films releasing pan-India in November.
The move comes as a “small victory” for the Tamil Film Active Producers Association (TFAPA), which had decided not to release any new films until the VPF was scrapped.
The VPF has been an ongoing issue between producers, digital service providers, and theatre owners in Tamil Nadu for many years now. VPF is a subsidy paid by a film distributor for the purchase of digital cinema projection equipment in cinema halls. This came into effect when film reels were replaced with digital exhibition format. Producers have been arguing that the VPF was an outdated fee and must be abolished. Last month, when the Tamil Nadu government allowed cinema halls to reopen after the Covid-19-induced lockdown, TFAPA had said that it would not release new films until the deadlock over the VPF was resolved.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Qube Cinema said that it had planned to offer a “full discount” on VPF.
UFO Moviez in a statement on Tuesday said: “While we have been suffering huge losses, we feel that it is important for the film industry to open-up in a big way during festival season of Diwali. With this object in mind, we have decided to waive all the VPF/CDC for new films released in November 2020 across India.”
UFO Moviez added that for logistics and license or Key Delivery Message management, it will charge a fee of Rs 2,000 for DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives) and Rs 1,500 for non-DCI content, per film, per property during November.
“Applicable taxes will be charged extra,” the statement added.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, filmmaker and TFAPA president Bharathiraja said: “Even if the digital organisations have removed VPF for two weeks with the intention to divide and rule, we will consider it as a small victory and we will allow our movies to be screened in theatres for these two weeks.”
The association added that they would not not screen films by paying VPF.