Tamil film industry arrives at a solution for VPF, new films to release in theatres

According to their recent agreement, by 31 March 2021, a permanent, agreeable solution for VPF will be arrived at by all three parties concerned.
Cinema hall inside
Cinema hall inside
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Virtual Print Fee (VPF) is a bone of contention in Tamil cinema. This issue, that stems from “who has to pay?” question, has almost threatened the economics of the entire industry with producers refusing to release new films in theatres that have just opened after being closed for almost seven months.

Now, about a week since cinema halls re-opened, Tamil cinema producers, theatre owners and Digital Service Providers (DSP) in the state have come to an understanding. This was conveyed by Tamil Film Active Producers Association (TFAPA) in their latest press statement.

According to it, QUBE, a prominent DSP in Tamil Nadu has agreed to slash a considerable percentage off the VPF currently being paid by producers and a memorandum has been signed to this effect. “According to this memorandum, by 31 March 2021, a permanent, agreeable solution for VPF will be arrived at by all three parties concerned,” reads this statement. Consequently, big and small budget films will have a smooth release in theatres from now and TFAPA members hope that this will help the industry recover.

Even just a day before theatres across Tamil Nadu were set to reopen, theatre owners and producers were at loggerheads with the latter refusing to foot the bill anymore. Their reasoning was that the producers have borne VPF for almost 10 years and now it was time for the theatre owners to bear the costs themselves. VPF is the subsidy paid by a film distributor or an exhibitor towards the purchase of a digital cinema projection equipment.

As a result of the disagreement between three parties concerned, Deepavali turned out to be a damp affair this year, not counting the effects of the pandemic. However, two new Tamil films - Santhanam’s Biskoth and Santhosh’s adult horror comedy Irandam Kuthu - have released in theatres. 

Among the many precautions put in place to lure back patrons, theatres are also introducing offers to make the re-opening smooth. Notably, AGS Cinemas announced that it has slashed ticket prices and food costs. 

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