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Indonesia gov’t to aid pic biz

FIlms will be exempt from entertainment tax

JAKARTA — Indonesia’s beleaguered president B.J. Habibie admits he’s never seen an Indonesian film, but his government is taking the first steps to assist the moribund local film industry.

Habibie said the government will exempt Indonesian films from the entertainment tax levied on cinema tickets, which varies from 25% to 33%.

The chairman of the Indonesian Artists Assn., Sys Ns, is hopeful the government will cut or abolish the tax on film stock. However, the tax remains on cinema tickets for all other films in a market where U.S. pictures predominate.

The country’s leading director, Garin Nugroho, welcomed the president’s promise to grant filmmakers complete artistic freedom, delivered when Habibie spoke at a ceremony on National Film Day.

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