Which is the Virtual Print Fee or VPF

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The VPF appears with the beginning of the digitization of cinema. When producers and distributors stop working with physical copies of celluloid and replace them with digital copies (much cheaper) the exhibition industry raises its head and comments: "to be able to exhibit films through of a hard drive, the rooms we have to change the projection equipment and therefore we have to make big investments. We need help to tackle digital conversion. ”
So far it seems logical, but the problem is that the agreement is reached between the world's largest distribution and exhibition groups in the United States. The United States is a film giant and is demanding that the deal only include aid to theaters that are profitable for distributors. And what are these? The multi-rooms, which are the ones that are mostly in large urban centers or the rooms that are part of the important exhibition chains.
What is the agreement they are closing? The distributor will pay a price for each digital copy that is shown in the cinemas that are part of this great deal. Hence the name Virtual Print (digital copy) Fee (rate or price) and its acronym VPF.
The first effect is that cinemas in rural areas, towns and small cities - which do not enter into this great agreement because they consider that the profits that produce to producers and distributors the exhibition of their films are not enough - are forced to close because digitalization must be paid for by the cinema itself (As is the case of Cambrils when the City Council decided to close the Cinema Rambla).
In return, however, this agreement has also done a lot of damage to independent distribution because it works mainly with films of European or little-known origin that do not generate large amounts of money despite being of high quality. These distributors have had to give up releasing their films in the cinemas of more viewers or pay a VPF that is often more expensive than the income they get and without the theaters making any effort to help - at the same time- to the little ones.
In this way, the big cinemas - which mostly show commercial cinema from transnational distributors - have been able to undertake technological change to the detriment of public service cinemas and films that deserve a chance to be seen.
And, if we season this mess with the companies that have managed the technological change in exchange for receiving revenue from VFP, we find the current situation and the lack of cinemas in many parts of the territory.
The bottom line is that despite being aware of this injustice, the cultural administration has done nothing and has remained obsessed with its usual ghosts - dubbing, for example - which we will talk about soon and which it does not know how to solve.
Cambrils 18 May 2020

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