Producer/exhibitor Thushan Rangana discusses the scene in Sri Lanka

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It’s always very exciting to introduce new territories to our readers. Today, we bring you news about EAP Films & Theatres (Pvt) Ltd., which comprises about 60% of the 152 cinemas on the island of Sri Lanka.

Headed up by executive director Thushan Rangana, EAP is not only a theatre circuit but the second-biggest Sinhala film producer in Sri Lanka.

EAP is the largest investor in Sri Lanka's exhibition industry, having spent more than US$18 million on air-conditioned, new and refurbished theatres.

Rangana commented exclusively to FJI: “The exhibitor makes the largest investment in the film industry and also helps to generate the highest employment in the industry. The presidential committee in 1985 expressed its view pertaining to the role of the exhibitor: ‘However important, production alone does not constitute the whole of cinema. Without cinema houses to screen them, films would be meaningless as a mass art; hence the wellbeing and stability of the exhibition trade are also essential to the continued existence of a cinematic culture.’”

Rangana continues, “EAP Films has been playing its role as a film producer, distributor and exhibitor. As a result, we have a clear understanding of the industry. We are proud to state that EAP Films has been playing a major role to uplift the industry."

Notes Rangana, "On May 23, 2009, Sri Lanka ended war with the LTTE terrorists, and slowly people are adjusting to a normal, peaceful life. Since that time, we have experienced a gradual improvement of the industry. For instance, two blockbuster movies, Avatar and 2012, did more than $124,600. (The present price of a ticket is $3.)

Furthermore, EAP was able to change the history of the film industry by breaking all records pertaining to the maximum collection from one theatre through the release of Ice Age 3. It did more than $142,400 at Liberty Cinema. It was released in July 2009, after peace was offered in Sri Lanka.

“We encourage the government to further liberalize the industry, allowing foreign direct investment,” Rangana urges. “After all, while multiplexes around the world are rushing to digital projection, we have yet to put in place a digital projector. We are moving in that direction; however, with increased foreign investment into the industry, modernization would take place much faster. We also encourage removal of the quota system imposed on foreign films.

“To improve the cinema industry in Sri Lanka,” Rangana continues, “we need to build multiplexes. For this purpose, the quota system imposed on foreign film imports must be removed. For instance, multiplexes with four theatres would run one Sinhala movie with three English movies per month. With the current quota system (we can only import 13 English movies per year), the multiplex would only be able to run for three to four months; the rest of the time, the multiplex would have to close some of its auditoriums due to unavailability of English movies.

“Also, at present Sri Lanka cannot release more than two Sinhala movies at a time, since the Sri Lankan market is so small. To overcome this issue, the government must allow film importers to dub foreign movies in Sinhala or Tamil, so that small theatres can release these movies in their respective areas."

It is truly interesting to see the development of the exhibition industry in the small country of Sri Lanka. Hopefully, the Sri Lankan government will heed Rangana's suggestions, which will further liberalize the industry and spur foreign direct investment into the nation-state.

Stambaugh Leaves Technicolor
Here in our home base of Bangkok, we’re sorry to hear that Paul Stambaugh is leaving Technicolor Asia to return to the USA. After his second "tour of duty" out here, Stambaugh will go into semi-retirement at home in L.A. Taking over the managing director slot is Sergio Bosso.

Reliance Restores Indian Classic
If you did not catch the news during the Cannes International Film Festival in May, Reliance ADA, which operates one of the world’s largest and most advanced restoration facilities, restored and screened Mrinal Sen’s award-winning 1984 film, Khandahar.

Sen’s film tells the story of a city-based photographer who falls in love with a heartbroken woman living in a ruined village. The film suffered from a number of material issues including bad splices, tearing, dirt, scratches, flickers, stabilization issues, grain, noise, splice bumps and image warps. Similarly, the film’s audio was impaired with various anomalies following years of deterioration.

Reliance ADA undertook the restoration as a part of the National Film Archive of India initiative for digital restoration and content processing. The restored files were color-graded under the guidance of veteran filmmaker Govind Nihalani and rendered out in XYZ as per DCI specifications, therefore resulting in a richness of color.

The film was encoded into a Digital Cinema Package (DCP) in the original aspect ratio of 1.37 along with French subtitles.

Contact Scott Rosenberg with relevant news stories at prdivision@gmail.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @scott_cos.