Screening rights or copyright
If you want to show any movie (DVD, VCD, VHS,or whatever format), you need to find out who owns the screening rights or copyright. It may be distributor or filmmaker or whoever. You will then have to ask them for permission to show the film and to get a copy of it. Sometimes it can take months to do research on the Internet to find out who owns the copyright. If there is a local copyright holder in Singapore then it will take a lot less time.
However, some movies may have an international copyright holder, so it may take more time for you to get permission to show it. It could be very expensive. For example, many films from overseas will charge at $1000 to $2,500 U.S for copyright and film rental for 16 mm or 35 mm film. Of course, DVD, VHS, or Beta will cost a lot less. Could be a few hundred dollars U.S.
Also, if there are very limited copies of the film available for rental, then you may have to wait to get it.
If you plan on showing the movie in a proper theatre or venue, then you will also need to rent a hall, projector (depending on what equipment is available in the venue and the format of the movie you want to show), and projectionist. You can rent a venue from Golden Village, Cathay, Shaw, Filmgarde, Alliance Francaise, Singapore History Museum, The Arts House, or Substation. Rental fees will vary but they usually charge more for weekend time slots.
If you are showing a R21 movie, then you need to make sure that the venue has a R21 license. Otherwise, you cannot show it at that venue.
All films should be sent to Media Development Authority for censorship and rating before you show them with the proper forms filled out. The MDA will charge you a fee. (See the next FAQ for details.)
It will give you the procedure for holding public screenings. It also has some information about copyright.
Basically, when the SFS organizes a screening, we have to:
- Decide which film we want to show.
- Look for the owner of the copyright on the Internet etc.
- Make contact with him/her to find out how much it costs to show or rent it.
- Submit copies (this can be DVD or VHS) to the MDA for censorhip and rating.
- Book the venue and equipment.
- Arrange for delivery of the reels of film if we are going to screen 16 mm or 35 mm film format at the venue.
- Publicize the screening to our members.