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The Show Must Go On

Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism Pledges to End Row Over Taxes on Foreign Films.

(3/7/2011) Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, promises that the current uproar over new taxes threatening to stop the presentation of foreign feature films at Indonesian theatres will be resolved by the end of March 2011.

Speaking at the President's office, Wacik told Bisnis Bali he will meet in the second week of March with foreign film importers to discuss what is an acceptable level of tax on imported films and how best to protect the local film industry. The Minister is targeting that the controversy threatening to end the importation of foreign films into Indonesia [See: What's Wrong with this Picture?] will be sorted out by National Film Day on March 30, 2011.

The minister also said he hoped that the tax burden of national film makers could be minimized or even eliminated altogether in order to support his goal of producing 200 Indonesian feature films each year.

The current crisis threatening film distribution in Indonesia began on January 10, 2011 when tax officials announced dramatic increases on value-added and income tax on film royalties for foreign films. The new taxes, in addition to performance taxes already applied to every ticket sold at an Indonesian theatre saw the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) threaten to end the import of films to Indonesia. At present, almost two-thirds of all films shown in Indonesian theatres are foreign feature films.