More Protection

May 6, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka is to tax film producers who use foreign stars in a move to protect its own movie market and combat cheaper imported labour from India, an industry official said Sunday. Domestic film makers who use foreign actors in a lead role will have to pay 250,000 rupees (2,400 dollars) for every picture made, starting this month, National Film Corporation Chairman Asoka Serasinghe told AFP.

A foreign star in a supporting role will cost 150,000 rupees (1,400 dollars), under the move aimed mainly at imports from India which is the world’s biggest producer of movies.

The taxes will not apply to films made jointly with overseas producers or foreign movies produced in Sri Lanka, Serasinghe said.

“We have many talented artistes, technicians here, but local producers are bringing down Indians and depriving our people of work,” he said.

There are no official figures on locally produced films but Indian actors and technicians are frequently hired because they cost less and are thought to be more talented.

Local film makers have also fallen on hard times, losing audience share to television, satellite TV and pirated Hollywood and Bollywood movies.

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