Slovakia Reaps Film Industry Benefits


BRATISLAVA: The Slovak film industry is seeing the results of governmental film investment initiatives, on both the domestic and the international landscape, while expanding distribution support.

Speaking with FNE, Martin Smatlak executive director of Slovak Audiovisual Fund said 2015 has been “the most successful year.” The country’s new film incentives landed its first foreign production, working on season two of the Netflix series Marco Polo for The Weinstein Company. The series filmed in Slovakia for three weeks, ending production there in early September 2015, and spending an estimated 2.2 m EUR in Slovakia. Slovakia’s film incentives have a minimum spend of 2 m EUR. Smatlak said that, as the first year of the film incentives draws to a close, he is in discussions over whether the minimum spend is too high, a concern that has been expressed by Slovak producers.

The fund is now looking at ways to support distribution of Slovak films domestically and will introduce a new support scheme with 1 EUR for each admission to a Slovak film going directly to the cinemas. Smatlak said the support scheme will “encourage cinemas to show and promote more Slovak films.” He added, “It’s necessary because the market is very small and very limited. We want to help and give financial support to the cinemas.” The new scheme will begin in January 2016.

The initiative comes on the heels of one of a very strong year for Slovak films in domestic release. Smatlak said that with domestic films already totalling over 200,000 admissions, it is expected that Slovak films will reach 250,000 admissions by the end of 2015, giving them a market share of approximately 5 percent. That would be a welcome contrast to years when the domestic share struggled to reach even 1 or 2 percent. Slovakia is producing between 20-25 full-length films per year, including documentary films, which hold a special place on the Slovak market. Slovak films have also had an especially strong year internationally, with Slovak films premiering at major festivals, such as Berlin, Toronto and Shanghai, and gathering international prizes.

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