Exhibitors strike: Filmmakers scramble to reschedule release dates

'Family' will hit theatres on February 22. Photos | Imdb

With the film exhibitors, under the aegis of the United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK), remaining firm on their decision not to screen movies in cinemas from February 23, filmmakers of smaller budget films are scrambling to reschedule the release of their movies.

Makers of the Malayalam movie 'Family' directed by Don Palathara have advanced the release by a day to February 22. The movie revolves around sexual abuse and the protection given to predators by society and families. “Family will only have a limited release in Kerala, in 35 theatres. We had originally slated the release date for February 23 but made last-moment plans due to the FEUOK strike. However, rescheduling the slots in theatres and the Book My Show app was not easy,” said a person part of the team that is releasing the movie.

Nadir Shah's film 'Once Upon a Time in Kochi', scheduled to release on February 23, has now been postponed. The director attributed the strike as one of the reasons for the change in plans. He also said the film will now be released in April after the Ramadan season to ensure a smooth run in the Gulf countries.

Smaller films, which will be released in the coming days, may bear the brunt of FEUOK's decision, filmmakers fear. The big-budget movie 'Manjummel Boys' directed by Chidambaram has been spared from the strike. Originally, FEUOK had planned to begin the strike on February 22, but decided to postpone it for a day after pressure from the Kerala Film Producers' Association, which threatened not to cooperate with theatres if they failed to screen 'Manjummel Boys'.

FEFKA condemns FEUOK's strike
The Film Employees Federation of Kerala issued a strongly-worded statement against the FEUOK strike. According to FEFKA general secretary B Unnikrishnan, the decision not to release Malayalam films in theatres was condemnable. “FEUOK, through its decision, is showing its contempt to Malayalam cinema, workers, history, audience, Malayalam lovers and the society. This is highly condemnable. We expect FEUOK will reexamine its decision to go ahead with the strike,” he said.

FEUOK announced the strike alleging the Malayalam film producers were violating the agreement regarding the time gap between theatrical and OTT releases.

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