KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Film practitioners hope that the National Security Council will be able to set flexible standard operating procedure (SOP) that are not too "rigid" at filming sets immediately.
The Film Directors’ Association of Malaysia (FDAM) president Ahmad Ibrahim said such an SOP was important so that there would be no additional cost and manpower that could restrict the freedom to create art.
"We believe that the SOP that will be set is not the same as the existing or previous ones.
"The current SOP is quite rigid in terms of cost, requiring more manpower and restricts the freedom of filming, especially the pre-requisite for the Special Filming Certificate (SPP Khas) issued by the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) on Thursday (Sept 9),” he told Bernama.
Ahmad Ibrahim, better known as "Mat London", said allowing filming to operate again could revive and boost the film industry with new momentum and norms, thus providing relief to filmmakers who have been idle and depressed for a long time.
"FDAM hopes that the country's recovery plan does not sideline the creative industry sector, especially the film industry so that it gives more meaning and rebuilds towards happiness and viability," he said.
On Tuesday (Sept 7), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the relaxation of SOP for Phase One of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) for the creative industry, including filming inside and outside the studio, as well as cinema activities which are allowed to reopen, starting Thursday.
This relaxation is subject to the terms of the SOP approved by the National Security Council, including only to arts practitioners who have already completed the Covid-19 vaccination, as well as the permitted premises space capacity.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Film Exhibitors Association (MAFE) will ensure that the SOP in cinemas are implemented in line with the SOP adopted by cinema operators abroad in ensuring safety and increase the confidence of audiences to return to watch films at their premises.
MAFE, in a statement, said admission was only given to fully vaccinated movie-goers 14 days after the second dose along with proof of a digital certificate of Covid-19 vaccination.
He said cinema operators would also ensure that only fully vaccinated staff were allowed to work apart from improving the use of staff PPE by wearing two layers of face masks and face shields.
MAFE said the purchase of movie tickets, as well as food and beverages, would also be carried out without contact.
"With this enhanced SOP, all cinemas in Malaysia are ready to welcome the return of patrons who crave a viewing experience in a sheltered and safe environment," the statement said.
However, a check by Bernama at several shopping malls around the capital today found that cinema premises were still not open.
According to the spokespersons for cinema operators Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) and TGV Cinemas, they are still waiting for the official SOP from MKN before finalising the plan and timeline for the reopening. - Bernama