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The movie producers behind political thriller Daulat have claimed that iflix hasn’t paid up for the first instalment of the license fee to stream it.

Director Imran Sheik (of SS15 speakeasy Jibril and Publika restaurant MONA) told Vulcan Post that the company had yet to pay up and has been unresponsive to their enquiries up till today.

Unfortunately, the amount owed couldn’t be disclosed to us.

Now, they’ve issued a letter of demand to the streaming platform in hopes that change would happen.

In a Facebook post, Daulat’s team shared that they had been depending on the license fee to keep Jibril and MONA’s businesses running, as they’d suffered an 80% loss in sales during the MCO.

While still able to operate, the license fee would greatly ease the financial burdens they were currently facing.

They Emptied Their Pockets To Produce It

Daulat is the first film produced by Lacuna Pictures, and it took RM500,000 of their own money and 14 days to shoot.

It was then released for free on iflix on April 2020 to be available until 2023, but it wasn’t made for iflix exclusively.

Imran said, “Initially, we were looking for a cinema release, but we have challenges getting the Film Censorship Board’s (LPF) approval because they asked us to change a lot of things, which we don’t have money to do. We also believe it will jeopardise the story.”

Behind the scenes of filming Daulat / Image Credit: Lacuna Pictures

They’d reached out to 2-3 other platforms to host Daulat, but ended up going with iflix as it had closed the deal the fastest, which had been ideal for the producers at the beginning of the MCO.

Aside from the license fee, Lacuna Pictures and iflix also have a profit-sharing arrangement which isn’t due to be paid yet.

Imran shared that he’s not sure why iflix hasn’t even paid the first instalment of the license fee, and admitted that he’d been initially concerned about the news of iflix making huge losses (US$158 million as of 2018).

“But since they’re bought by Tencent, we still hope that they will pay up,” he added.

Turning To Fans For Some Financial Help

We then wanted to know what the next step would be for Lacuna Pictures if iflix still doesn’t pay up, but Imran politely declined to share more.

The team at Lacuna Pictures / Image Credit: Lacuna Pictures

As for whether Daulat will eventually be streamed on other platforms, he said that they hadn’t gotten their lawyers’ advice on this, since the agreement states that they can’t go to other channels until this October.

To help with their financial burdens, Lacuna Pictures opened up an account on buymeacoffee.com, a donation platform where a “coffee” costs US$3 (RM12.80).

At the time of writing, they have 16 supporters who have donated a cumulative sum of over RM600, complete with messages of love for Daulat and the team behind it.

Everyone will be keeping a close eye on this situation, as iflix has consistently been in the news now, and not always in a positive light.

Aside from all the news of its losses, iflix was also facing a debt crisis whereby it would’ve had to redeem just over US$47.5 million of convertible loans if not listed by July 31, 2020.

Being bought over by Tencent seems to have taken the deadline off its back, but the Chinese giant had said that it wouldn’t be taking on the debt.

One has to wonder if iflix’s financial struggles for the past few years have now manifested into the company being unable to pay a single instalment of a license fee.

And if news of one deal not being honoured has just been made public, are there actually more out there that we don’t know of?

  • You can read more on what we’ve written about iflix here.

Featured Image Credit: Lacuna Pictures

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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)