The Independent Cinemas Association of Australia and Cinedigm Digital Corp have announced the ICAA-Cinedigm Virtual Print Fee program, which has so far been successful in securing five major studios.
The VPF program marks a turning point for Australian and New Zealand independent cinemas and their conversion from 35mm film to digital.
ICAA CEO Adrianne Pectotic confirmed the availability of the program during her opening address at the 2013 ICAA Conference held in Melbourne.
“At this time last year, we announced that ICAA and Cinedigm had secured commercial terms for a VPF Program for independent cinemas with the US studios. It has taken exhausting and exhaustive efforts to deliver on that program and it is now available. The Independent Cinemas VPF Program will reward all our efforts by enabling studios and independent distributors to help you recoup the significant costs of the conversion to digital technology,” she said.
Disney, Fox, Sony, Universal and Paramount have all separately negotiated non-exclusive VPF agreements with the Australian and New Zealand program.
Additionally, ICAA and Cinedigm are in final negotiations with Warner Bros, Roadshow and several independent distributors across Australia and New Zealand, including member distributors of the Australian Independent Distributors Association.
Pecotic admitted the process had not been easy.
“The legal complexities and sheer force of will required to navigate the drafting, and repeated re-drafting, with six separate multinationals, of thousands of pages of complex text, put a whole new definition to the word tenacious,” she said. “And for every independent cinema in Australia and New Zealand waiting for the outcome, – a whole new definition to the word patient.”
Pecotic went on to reveal that 75 per cent of cinema screens are now digital and, “cinema owners of the remaining screens are preparing themselves to address this challenge.” '
The ICAA Conference, which started on Tuesday, will conclude tomorrow.