MANILA, Philippines - SM Cinema and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) recently signed a contract for the digitization of SM cinemas at MOA’s Premier Lounge and Resto.
SM Cinema SVP Edgar Tejerero and FDCP chairman Briccio Santos signed the contract through which the FDCP will assist SM in the digitization project. “By Sept. 14, 2012, 100 percent of movies in SM Cinemas will be in digital format,” Tejerero announced.
Apart from giving moviegoers a more delightful viewing experience through clearer images and sounds, there are many benefits of digitizing the movie theaters. It could help stop piracy of movies through the tighter copy protection that comes with digital conversion. It will also help end the circulation of illegal copies before the premiere of the movies, as the deterrent of prints no longer occurs.
Digital conversion is also environment-friendly, as it would not require chemicals that are used in developing films. It will also help increase the revenue of film exhibitors because it will give way to simultaneous movie releases with provincial branches.
The digital conversion of cinemas will also help develop the country’s film industry as it lessens reproduction costs and film editing. The allocation will also be easier because it can be made through the Internet and hard disks.
The digitization will be under the Virtual Print Fee (VPF) Program, which funds the first purchase of digital cinema equipment, permitting big and small film exhibitors to fund the digitization of their theaters without interest. The program was initiated by Warner, Sony, Disney, Fox, Paramount and Universal. VIVA Films and Regal Films have also joined the VPF Program.
Japan Foundation, Manila director Shuji Takatori
DCinema will oversee the use of the VPF in the Philippines, and will arrange top-notch digital projection systems in the country. It is targeting a minimum of 400 screens for digital conversion.
The Podium has already gone 100 percent digital and other SM branches will soon follow.
The event was attended by SM Cinema and FDCP executives, and members of the diplomatic corps like Embassy of Italy cultural attache Emanuela Adesini and Japan Foundation Manila director Shuji Takatori.
A screening of Sigfreid Barros-Sanchez’s Ang mga Kidnaper ni Ronnie Lazaro, the winner of the Best Picture Award in the first Sineng Pambansa National Film Festival, the flagship program of the FDCP, was shown after the contract-signing.
The partnership brings together two of the most influential players in Philippine cinema. The FDCP was created under the office of the president of the Philippines to support Filipino filmmakers through promoting their films to both local and global markets.
SM Cinema, on the other hand, is the biggest film exhibitor in the country with 240 theaters in 44 branches and four IMAX theaters. It introduced digital technology in the country through the opening of the first digital theater at The Block in SM City North EDSA in 2007.