Thursday, December 11, 2008

CineAsia honors Thai studio exec for anti-piracy efforts

CineAsia, the convention for the movie-exhibition business in the Asia-Pacific, began on Tuesday in Macau. Among the hot topics at the three-day confab is piracy, particularly the illegal camcording of movies.

Being honored for his efforts to combat movie piracy in Thailand is Jareuk Kaljareuk, the president of the Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand and the managing director of Kantana Group, which is a major hub of post-production in Asia. As head of the FNFAT, he also was president of the Bangkok International Film Festival this year.

He is being honored with the Asia-Pacific Copyright Enforcer Award at CineAsia. Kong Rithdee has written a short profile of Jareuk for Variety. A more lengthy profile of Jareuk ran in the Bangkok Post back in August.

His anti-piracy efforts have included the establishment of a joint fund by the multiplexes and studios that is used to make a uniform, concerted effort to stop movie piracy.

A visit to a multiplex in Thailand is now like the security theater at the airport, with metal detectors and bag checks. For major film premieres, cellphones and cameras - even those that don't shoot video - must be left outside the auditorium.

But even as the security measures have been stepped up, piracy is increasing, says Mike Ellis, president and managing director of the Motion Picture Association in the Asia-Pacific. The MPA traced 96 illegal camcorder movies to Asia-Pacific theaters in 2008, a jump of 336% from 2007 when 25 incidents were recorded. Ellis is quoted by Variety:

Our region has close to 40% of the world's movie screens, and it produced half of the nearly 5,000 films created last year. With the rise of day-and-date releases and world premieres in Asia-Pacific, unauthorized recordings in the region have risen exponentially."

Thailand and the Philippines were singled out as hotbeds of movie piracy, according to Variety. A new program, Operation ZoomOut, will help cinema operators work with law enforcement to catch the camcorders.

Cinema operators also got to watch a training video, Make a Difference 2, which provides guidelines to cinema staff on how to prevent illegal recordings. Business of Cinema has more on that.

Update: Business of Cinema has a followup on Jaruek's award, with quotes:

Presenting Kaljareuk with the Award, Motion Picture Association presidentand managing director Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis said, "Despite the challenges faced in Thailand, Kaljareuk has worked tirelessly with the MPA on several fronts. In particular, he led the local industry to support anti-camcording efforts and is promoting the establishment of a local coalition to support enforcement, PR and outreach efforts to fight piracy. Kaljareuk's tremendous leadership, generosity and enthusiasm set a good example for many of us in the industry. We wish the industry had a partner like him in every market in the Asia-Pacific region."


Speaking after receiving the Award, Kaljareuk said: "I feel very honored to receive this award. I would like to thank the Motion Picture Association for their unstinting support of the Thai film industry in this important fight against pirates who don't care for the creative efforts of others."

(Via Screen Daily, Variety, Hollywood Reporter)

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