Producers, exhibitors reach consensus over OTT release

The Kerala Film Producers Association (KFPA) and the Film Exhibitors United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK) resolved its differences over the issue of the direct-to-digital premiere of Malayalam movies at the talks convened by Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

Producers who wish to release their movies first on the over-the-top (OTT) platforms have to submit their requests before May 30. “We will send letters to the producers of over 50 movies, who were not able to release their works owing to the pandemic crisis, asking them whether they would like to opt for digital release or wait till the cinemas reopen,” said B. Rakesh, KFPA treasurer.

Lack of clarity

The producers association had earlier taken a stance that producers cannot be stopped from releasing their movies on the digital platform following the lack of clarity on when cinemas will reopen amidst the continuing curbs.

Mr. Rakesh said that OTT release was an alternative for producers to tide over the financial crisis in this unprecedented situation.

“We will work out solutions to minimise the impact of digital release on theatre owners. Those producers who wish to release their movies on the streaming platforms would have to return the advance, if any, collected from the exhibitors,” he said.

Positive outcome

M. C. Bobby, FEUOK general secretary, termed the talks positive and said that producers can opt for direct-to-digital release considering the delay in the reopening of cinemas. “The producers’ association has taken the lead to work out an amicable solution over the issue of OTT release,” he said.

Sufiyum Sujathayum directed by Naranipuzha Shanavas will be the first Malayalam movie to skip its theatrical release to have a direct-to-digital premiere on Amazon Prime Video. It figured among the seven Bollywood and regional movies acquired by the OTT platform after the cinemas downed shutters in the wake of the pandemic.

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