THE Supreme Court (SC) has upheld a fine against members of a post-production company in favor of Magsaysay Films International Corp. (Magsaysay).

In a 16-page resolution on Jan. 5 and made public on Sept. 9, the SC Second Division upheld with modification the P8.11-million fine for damages against Cinecolor Corp. (Cinecolor) with an interest of 6% for failing to correctly render its services to the local film company.

“It was incumbent upon defendants to release a  good quality film after post-production. It was their legal duty. It was what they were paid to do. The outcome of the film, however, was a total disaster,” the High Court said in the ruling.

It added that the original fine issued by the Court of Appeals was a reasonable amount.

The appellate court ruled the production company acted in bad faith when it failed to refund the P8 million agreed upon for the film’s production. The court ordered the production company to pay P8.11 million in compensatory damages.

In 2004, the two firms agreed upon a schedule for a film that Magsaysay planned on releasing in time for the Manila Film Festival on the afternoon of June 22 that year.

A day before the festival, Cinecolor had not finished the final mixing of the film which caused the film’s release to be rescheduled to the evening of June 22, the SC said.

When the film was eventually premiered, the final product had faulty sound work, color editing, and other technical issues, it also noted.

Cinecolor claimed that Magsaysay did not provide them with the raw materials needed to complete the film project.

Magsaysay pointed out that the production company showed inexperience and unpreparedness when it turned over a “substandard film.”

The high tribunal noted that the unfinished film that was shown to a viewing audience also damaged the film company’s reputation, which led to P8.11 million in total damages.

“Instead of a mere reassurance, defendants (Cinecolor Corp.) should have done what they were asked and paid to do,” said the High Court. “They should have corrected what was needed to be corrected to come out with a good quality movie.” — John Victor D. Ordoñez