MARKET ANALYSIS 2018
The year 2018 turned out to be extremely complex for the Bulgarian film industrу. Public support for film was blocked and the Bulgarian National Film Center was forbidden to allot financing. The restrictive measure was applied because the country had failed to adjust its film and audiovisual legislation to the European requirements within the official deadline of 12 December 2017.
It became imperative that the state institutions catch up on their delay by amending the Film Industry Act and putting it in line with the Communication on State Aid for Films and Other Audiovisual Works (2013/C 332/01), the Commission Regulation No 651/2014 of 17 June 2014 and the Commission Regulation No 1407/2013 of 18 December 2013.
In October 2018 Sofia hosted the 152nd meeting of the Eurimages Board of Management.
Milko Lazarov’s Ága closed the Official Competition (Out of Competition) of the 68th Berlinale and afterwards received 21 prestigious awards all over the world.
Two Bulgarian production companies got involved as minority coproducers in two prestigious Romanian films. Agitprop coproduced Adina Pintilie’s Golden Bear winner Touch Me Not, while Klas Film was a coproducer of the 53rd Karlovy Vary IFF’s Crystal Globe winner “I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians” by Radu Jude.
Seventeen feature films were produced in 2018, of which 12 were supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center and five were privately financed.
Three of the supported films were made with minority financial participation from other countries. The debut films were five in number and they were all supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center.
The Bulgarian National Television backed the production of 8’19”, a six part omnibus film directed by Peter Valchanov, Lubomir Mladenov, Theodor Ushev, Nadejda Koseva, Vladimir Lyutskanov and Kristina Grozeva, and took part as a minor coproducer in Milko Lazarov’s Aga and in Victor Bojinov’s Heights.
A total of 21 short films were made in 2018, of which seven were supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center.
In late autumn of 2018 Stefan Komandarev shot the bigger part of his urban nightly sequel Rounds aka Patrol Cars in Sofia. Each episode was filmed in a single hand-held shot, without editing cuts. Rounds is coproduced by Bulgaria’s Argo Film, Serbia’s Film Pro and French outfits Deuxième Ligne Films and EZ films. The film is supported by Eurimages and will be sold by Beta Cinema.
Victor Chouchkov completed shooting on his international drama 18% Gray, based on Zachary Karabashliev’s bestseller. Filming took place in the UK, Belgium and Germany. The film is a coproduction between Bulgaria’s Chouchkov Brothers, Germany’s Ostlicht Filmproduktion, Serbia’s Cinnamon Films, Belgium’s Raised by Wolves and Macedonia’s Sektor Film Skopje.
Acclaimed director Ivan Nichev shot Could You Kill aka Old Men, an alarming drama on sharp contemporary topics like poverty, unemployment, terrorism and illegal immigration. Cinemascop is producing with the support of the Bulgarian National Film Center.
Famous for his successful animated films, director Anri Koulev shot his period drama Once Upon a Time There Was a War, reminding military conflicts in the Balkans from 1885, with British star Ben Cross in the cast. The director is producing through Koulev Film Production in cooperation with the BNT. The Bulgarian NFC is supporting.
Known for her internationally acclaimed Monkeys in Winter (2006, Bulgaria’s Proventus Film House and Germany’s Tatfilm), Milena Andonova completed the shooting on her sophomore film The Shepherd in 2018. The period drama is about St. Ivan Rilski, the patron saint of the Bulgarian people. Proventus Film House is producing in cooperation with the BNT and the Sofia based Nu Boyana Film Studios.
In 2018 Milko Lazarov’s Ága, coproduced by Bulgaria’s Red Carpet, Germany’s 42 film and France’s Arizona Productions, closed the Official Competition (Out of Competition) of the 68th Berlinale and went on to receive 21 prestigious awards all over the world, including best film at the 37th Fajr IFF, the 24th Sarajevo IFF and the 36th Golden Rose NFF.
The 36th Golden Rose NFF also gave its best debut prize to Nadejda Koseva’s Irina, produced by Art Fest. The film, and especially its lead actress Martina Apostolova, impressed international film festivals such as the 36th Warsaw FF, the 28th Cottbus FF, the 16th Tirana IFF (best film) and others.
In 2018 RFF International involved Bulgaria as minority coproducer in Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s The Wild Pear Tree, next to France’s Memento Films, Germany’s Detailfilm, Macedonia’s Sisters And Brother Mitevski, Sweden’s Film i Väs, The Chimney Pot and Turkey’s Zeynofilm.
Tonislav Hristov’s Finnish/Danish/Bulgarian long documentary The Magic Life of V was selected to compete in the 2019 Sundance FF and the 69th Berlinale’s Generation section, while Petar Krumov’s short film Shame was nominated for the European Film Academy Awards.
The 24th Golden Rhyton Festival for documentary and animated films was to take place in December 2018, but just before its start the event was canceled. According to the official statement of the Bulgarian NFC “the number of films that applied is insufficient and makes it impossible to reach the level of the recent years and to compose strong competition programmes“.
Despite the fact that a significant part of the documentary and animated film production from 2018 could not get enough visibility, several titles received positive recognition. Boris Missirkov’s and Georgi Bogdanov’s Palace For the People (Agitprop) won the Dok Buster Award 2018 for the audience's favourite at Doc Leipzig 2018.
Stefan Ivanov’s A New Life, coproduced by Bulgaria’s Geopoly Film and Canada’s Les Ivanov productions, was well received in Canada, where many Bulgarians had found their second home country. Gospodin Nedelchev’s The Citizen Sis (Dido Film), on the Czech war correspondent Vladimir Sis, and Ralitza Dimitrova’s A Saga For Wasted Opportunities (B Plus Film), on national feelings 100 years after the signing the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine, were among the successful documentaries in 2018.
Ten foreign films were partly or entirely shot in Bulgaria in 2018, most of them serviced by Bulgaria’s leading film production studios - Nu Boyana Film Studios, including The Outpost (Ghost House Pictures, Millennium Media) directed by Rod Lurie, and Rambo 5 (Millennium Media) directed by Adrian Grunberg. The first one recreates violent war scenes in Afghanistan, while the second involves Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone in the role of John Rambo for the fifth time.
Launched as the first part of a trilogy, the Indian fantasy Brahmāstra (Dharma Productions) directed by Ayan Mukerji largely used the Nu Boyana sets.
According to the NFC, a total of 289 films were theatrically released in 2018: 111 from the USA, 138 European films, 30 domestic and 10 films from other countries. Total admissions were 4,900,408, of which American films had 3,852,296 admissions, European films 532,802 admissions and domestic films had 388,006 admissions.
In 2018 the country’s leading distribution companies were again Forum Film Bulgaria and Alexandra Group, with around 75 percent of the market. In 2018 they had respectively five and four American titles in the top ten. The privately financed Bulgarian feature film Attraction (Spirit Production House), released by Lenta (the distribution branch of the private TV channel Nova TV), ranked 8th in the top ten.
bTV Studios (the distribution branch of the private TV channel bTV) showed good results with two other independent Bulgarian films: Dimitar Gochev’s Revolution X (Di – Dreams) and Niki Iliev’s All She Wrote (Euro Dialogue Productions).
A+Films successfully reached the audience with Yassen Grigorov’s Lilly The Little Fish (TFA – The Flying Agency) and kept its traditional interest in distributing European and domestic films.
EXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE
In 2018, the number of officially registered screens was 219, with 178 equipped for 3D screenings.
In 2018 total admissions were 4,900,408 and total box office was 23.5 m EUR. Compared to 5,566,585 admissions and the total box office of 25.9 m EUR in 2017, there is a decrease by 11.97 percent and 9.11 percent, respectively.
American films had 3,852,296 admissions and 19,118,053 gross, while European titles had 532,802 admissions and 2,555,649 EUR gross.
With 30 Bulgarian titles (including re-releases and holdovers) the number of released films stood nearly the same as in 2017.
The admissions for domestic films were 388,006 and the box office was 1.6 m EUR gross in 2018. Compared to 2017, when the admissions were 512,521 and the box office was 2.1 m EUR gross, there is a decrease by 24.29 percent and by 23.80 percent, respectively.
Martin Makariev’s Attraction (Spirit Production House) became Bulgaria’s domestic box office topper with 112,934 admissions and 444,184 EUR gross. Dimitar Gochev’s Revolution X (Di – Dreams) ranked second with 54,575 admissions and 230,470 EUR gross, followed by Niki Iliev’s All She Wrote (Euro Dialogue Productions) with 41,836 admissions and 178,283 EUR gross.
Stephan Komandarev’s Directions (produced by Argo Film and distributed by Purple Rain Film Distribution) ranked 4th with 37,623 admissions and 160,697 EUR gross, followed by Stanislav Todorov – Rogi’s low budget Bubblegum, produced by Dynamic Arts and distributed by Lenta, with 39,195 admissions and 156,835 EUR gross.
Two films focusing on younger audiences - Maria Veselinova’s debut feature Smart Christmas, produced by Juli Maruli Entertaiment and released by Lenta, and Yassen Grigorov’s Lilly The Little Fish (TFA – The Flying Agency), had 37,576 admissions and 153.638 EUR gross, and 35,095 admissions and 138,795 EUR gross respectively. The rest of the domestic films attracted less than 1,000 viewers each.
GRANTS AND NEW LEGISLATION
The procedure of bringing the existing film state aid schemes in line with the European Commission’s Communication on State Aid for Films and Other Audiovisual Works (2013/C 332/01) started on 6 March 2018, when Bulgaria’s Parliament adopted three important amendments to the Film Industry Act. The first one terminated the requirement for Bulgarian citizenship of the authors applying for state support. The second one fixed at 75% the lowest percentage of the allocated funds to be spent in Bulgaria. The third one submitted the definition of a “difficult film”, a film whose only version is in Bulgarian language and its budget is not higher than the average budget of the previous year.
The adjustment process was completed on 5 December 2018, when Bulgaria’s Parliament adopted the definitive amendments to the Film Industry Act. Only after this date did it become possible for the Bulgarian National Film Center to sign agreements with producers having already closed the budgets of their films. According to Jana Karaivanova, Executive Director of the Bulgarian National Film Center, by the very end of the year “the institution signed 90 agreements and unblocked over 2.2 m EUR”.
It was specifically indicated that public financing for film will be implemented through three main schemes in the future. Two of them are for the support of production and distribution. The third one is for the support of festivals and meets the European Commission's requirement for the de minimis state aid.
In October 2018 Sofia hosted the 152nd meeting of the Eurimages Board of Management. A group of experts analysed the facts and figures characterising the gender equality situation in the country’s audiovisual sector.
In 2018 Bulgaria also signed cooperation agreements with Romania, Macedonia and Kosovo.
The Bulgarian National Film Center and Nu Boyana signed a cooperation agreement on joint activities in the development and the stimulation of the production, distribution, display and promotion of Bulgarian films.
In June 2018 HBO acquired broadcast rights for 19 Bulgarian films (16 feature films and three documentaries) produced after 1989. The deal was part of HBO’s newly expanded distribution policy in the HBO Adria region, which gives subscribers from Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina access to the catalogue of the TV channel.
The Bulgarian film package was launched on 1 July 2018 with Victor Bojinov’s box office topper Heights, a the Bulgarian/Macedonian coproduction between Bulfilm and Dream Factory..
Two major TV series financed by the Bulgarian National Television were shot in 2018 and creative filmmakers with original artistic approach were invited to direct. Peter Valchanov and Kristina Grozeva directed The Blue Birds Island, based on Alexander Sekulov’s novel The Island, an adventure series filled with funny summer vacation stories (executive producer Red Carpet), while Pavel G. Vesnakov directed Father’s Day, a series inspired by real stories of divorcing parents who fought to remain an equally important part in their children’s lives (executive producer Agitprop).
BULGARIAN NATIONAL TELEVISION General Director: Konstantin Kamenarov 29, San Stefano Str. 1504 Sofia, Bulgaria Phone: + 359 2 814 22 14 Phone.: + 359 2 944 49 99 (switchboard) www.bnt.bg
Report by Pavlina Jeleva (2019) Source: the Bulgarian National Film Centre
MARKET ANALYSIS 2017
The year 2017 started with the appointment of a caretaker government by the Bulgarian president, General Rumen Radev, designated to act in a limited time. Centre-right GERB party won the parliamentary elections and in May 2017 Boyko Borisov became Prime Minister for the third time since 2009.
On 31 December 2017 European Commission’s monitoring of the aid scheme approved until 31 December 2017 expired. In order to bring the state film aid scheme in line with the European Commission Communication on State Aid for Films and Other Audiovisual Works (2013/C 332/01), Bulgaria’s Council of Ministers adopted a draft of an amended Film Industry Act. As the changes were not officially adopted before the start of 2018, state subsidies for film will be allotted only after the completion of all legal procedures.
In September 2017 Konstantin Kamenarov took over the position of Director General of the Bulgarian National Television from Vyara Ankova, who headed the public broadcaster since 2010.
Two months later actress/producer Jana Karaivanova was appointed as Executive Director of the Bulgarian National Film Center. Kamen Balkanski, who had been running the national institution during the last two years, became Deputy Director.
The year 2017 was also marked by the most spectacular return of the audience's interest in national cinema since 2010. One after another, several new Bulgarian feature films became box office hits throughout the year. The highest grossing title turned out to be Victor Bojinov’s historical drama Heights (coproduced by Bulgaria’s Bulfilm and Macedonia’s Dream Factory). Admissions to domestic films almost tripled in Bulgaria from 176,395 in 2016 to 512,521 in 2017, while domestic films cashed in over 2 m EUR in 2017 compared to 612,000 EUR in 2016.
Total admissions increased by 2.49 percent and total box office by 5.7 percent compared to 2016.
In 2017 Stefan Komandarev’s Directions, coproduced by Bulgaria’s Argo Film, Germany’s Aktis Film Production and Macedonia’s Sector Film, was applauded in Cannes in the Un Certain Regard official competition. Ilian Metev’s feature debut 3/4 (Three Quarters), coproduced by Bulgaria’s Chaconna Films and Germany’s Sutor Kolonko, grabbed the Golden Leopard in the Cineasti Del Presente international competition of the 70th Locarno Film Festival. Ralitza Petrova’s Godless (coproduced by Bulgaria’s Klas Film, Denmark’s’ Snow Globe and France’s Alcatraz Films and Film Factory) was nominated for the European Film Academy’s European Discovery 2017 – Prix FIPRESCI. Tonislav Hristov’s Finnish/German/Bulgarian long documentary The Good Postman won the European Film Academy’s Documentary Award – Prix Arte.
Twenty one feature films were produced in 2017, of which 16 were supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center. Five of the supported films were made with minority financial participation from other countries. There were six debut films (five supported and one privately financed) and three low budget films. The Bulgarian National Television coproduced three feature films. Bulgaria also took part as a minor coproducer in six other feature film coproductions and in two short film productions.
A total of 39 short films were made in 2017, of which six were supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center.
Some domestic feature films were shot in the country, but also abroad.
In the spring of 2017 Milko Lazarov completed the shooting of his sophomore film Aga aka Nanook in the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic within the Russian Federation. The aesthetically ambitious film is coproduced by Bulgaria’s Red Carpet, Germany’s 42Film and France’s Arizona Films. The Bulgarian National Television and ZDF/Arte are also involved in the production.
Victor Chouchkov began shooting his international project 18% Gray, based on Zachary Karabashliev’s bestseller. Shooting will continue in the UK, Belgium and Germany in 2018. The film is a coproduction between Bulgaria’s Chouchkov Brothers, Germany’s Ostlicht Filmproduktion and Serbia’s Cinnamon Films. The Bulgarian National Television is the national coproducer.
Kostadin Bonev, whose The Sinking of Sozopol (Borough Film) was awarded at numerous international film festivals, wrapped the shooting of his fourth feature film The Wolves Come Out, produced through his company Trivium Films. The cultural club of the town of Yambol became the main location for a story taking place in a small provincial theatre.
Known for her internationally acclaimed 2006 Monkeys in Winter (Proventus Film House Bulgaria and Tatfilm Germany), Milena Andonova partially shot her sophomore film The Shepherd in 2017. The period drama is about St. Ivan Rilski, the patron saint of the Bulgarian people. Proventus Film House is producing in cooperation with the BNT.
Nadejda Koseva, who became famous for her critically acclaimed short film Omlette, completed the two-step shooting of her debut feature The Deal. Focusing on surrogate motherhood, the low budget film is produced by Art Fest.
Martin Makariev’s Attraction, coproduced by Indifilm, Spirit Production and Nova Broadcasting Group, and Niki Iliev’s Knock out or All She Wrote, coproduced by Euro Dialog Productions and Nu Boyana, were the main privately financed films shot in 2017. The first one relies on the attractiveness and choreographic abilities of the actress Yana Marinova, the second on the American actor Gary Dourdan’s participation in a story partially shot in New York.
Youlia Kantcheva’s In the Mirror, Maria Averina’s From Cremona to Cremona, Tzvetan Dragnev’s Village People, Kostadin Bonev’s Uprooting, Adela Peeva’s Long Live Bulgaria, were among the most acclaimed documentaries in 2017. Animation also showed good health with films like Travelling Country by Vessela Dantcheva and Ivan Bogdanov, Restart by Gospodin Nedelchev, 20 Kicks by Dilyan Elenkov, No Way by Ivan Stoyanovich, and others.
Bulgaria’s leading film production studios, Nu Boyana Film Studios serviced or got involved in the production of 18 films. Four of them were American productions and four were non-American films with partial American funding. The company also serviced four European and six Bulgarian coproductions. Neil Marshal’s Hellboy (Millennium Films) starring Milla Jovovich, David Harbour, Ian McShane and Sasha Lane; Ariel Vromen’s The Angel (Netflix) starring Marwan Kenzari and Toby Kebbell, and Eric Bress’s Ghosts of War (Miscellaneous Entertainment) starring Brenton Thwaites, became the new ‘business cards’ of the company.
According to the NFC, a total of 291 films (including re-releases and holdovers) were theatrically released in 2017: 126 from the US, 116 European films, 28 domestic and 21 films from other countries. Total admissions were 5,566, 585, of which American films had 4,585,414 admissions, European films 432,890 admissions and domestic films had 512,521 admissions.
Forum Film Bulgaria and Alexandra Group remained the country’s leading distributors, like in the previous years. In 2017 they had seven and two American titles in the top ten, respectively.
Thanks to an exceptional advertising campaign lasting for more than a year, the distributor A+Films made a huge breakthrough with Victor Bojinov’s historical drama Heights (coproduced by Bulgaria’s Bulfilm and Macedonia’s Dream Factory). In only two months the title broke into the domestic top ten.
Also due to the long term marketing campaign Nova Helps Bulgarian Films, the distribution branch of the private TV channel Nova TV, Lenta, successfully released several Bulgarian titles and actively contributed to the nearly threefold increase of the national share.
By the very end of 2017 the Bulgarian National Center gave a green light to the 23rd edition of the country’s main non-feature film national festival Golden Rhyton, cancelled in 2016. Over 90 documentaries and animated films displayed the crop of two years, of which 63 participated in the documentary and animated films’ competitions. The jury decided to encourage a bigger number of filmmakers by doubling the honors. As a result, more films were awarded, part of them ex-aequo. Among them were Tonislav Hristov’s The Good Postman (coproduced by Finland’s Making Movies OY, Germany’s Еlemag Pictures and Bulgaria’s Soul Food), awarded best documentary, Anri Koulev’s All So Much Hogwash, awarded best animated film, and Catherine Bernstein’s and Assen Vladimirov’s The Bookseller (coproduced by Bulgaria’s Pro Film and France’s Les Films de l’Aqueduc) and Nikolay Todorov’s 72 minutes animated political satire Made in Brachycera (produced by ET Club No Nikolay Todorov), both winning the ex-aequo Special Jury Award.
In 2017, the number of officially registered screens was 216. Practically all screens in the country are digitalised.
Total admissions increased by 2.49 percent and total box office by 5.7 percent. In 2017 total admissions were 5,566,585 and total box office was 25.9 m EUR, compared to 5,431 028 admissions and 24.5 m EUR total gross in 2016.
With 28 Bulgarian films (including re-releases and holdovers) the number of films released significantly increased in comparison with the two previous years, when it was 16 and 17 respectively.
Admissions to domestic films almost tripled from 176,395 in 2016 to 512,521 in 2017, while the domestic films cashed in over 2 m EUR in 2017 compared to 612,000 EUR in 2016.
The encouraging results were due mostly to Victor Bojinov’s Heights, which ranked first with 130,470 admissions and 546,160 EUR gross. Katerina Goranova’s and Asen Blatechky’s spectacular action debut Broken Road (Cinequanone) came second with 98,822 admissions and 406,331 EUR gross, followed by Zornitsa Sophia's Voevoda (MQ Pictures Ltd ) with 87,604 admissions and 345,761 EUR gross. The last two films were distributed by Lenta.
Magdalena Ralcheva’s relatively small and privately financed teenage comedy 12A, produced by 12А Ltd and released by A+Films, surprisingly ranked fourth with 57,593 admissions and 226,736 EUR gross. Ilian Djevelekov’s Omnipresent (Miramar Film), which won the main award at the 35th Golden Rose NFF, came fifth with 45,782 admissions and 195,188 EUR gross.
After Omnipresent, Lenta also released Stanislav Todorov–Rogi’s debut feature Bubblegum (Dynamic Arts), which attracted 44,773 viewers and had 190,760 EUR gross.
Three other privately financed films ranked seventh, eighth and ninth: Georgi Kostov’s Sex Academy – Men, produced and released by Media Production with 10,038 admissions and 38,754 EUR gross; Todor Anastasov’s Damascena, produced and released by Damascena Film Company, with 8,655 admissions and 31,101 EUR gross, and Andrey Andonov’s NoOne (Egregore Films), released by A+Films, with 4,391 admissions and 15,538 EUR gross. The 10th place was taken by Radoslav Spassov’s The Singing Shoes with 4,004 admissions and 13,812 EUR gross.
In 2017, the Bulgarian National Film Center provided the main funding for film production and the Bulgarian National Television contributed with pre-sales to the budget of some national films, already supported by the NFC.
In 2017, the National Palace of Culture, which registered in 2015 at the NFC as a film production company, continued to support selected Bulgarian films by offering for free Hall 1 to Galin Stoev’s debut feature The Infinite Garden. The film opened the 31st edition of the Cinemania Film Panorama.
In accordance with the Film Industry Act adopted in 2003, Bulgaria’s main institution’s annual support is calculated based on the total average budget of seven feature films, 14 long documentaries and 160 minutes of animated films.
Similarly to the two previous years, in 2017 the NFC’s annual state support for film was 7,370,272 EUR, while the amount for production, distribution and exhibition was nearly 7 m EUR.
As no legal changes were made, the two-tier system was kept in 2017: a project can receive the approval of the NFC expert selection committee, but the NFC funding becomes usable only when the producer of the film has 100% of the budget in place.
Based on this rule, in 2017 the NFC approved financial support for 11 feature films, six with budgets over 300,000 EUR, three with budgets below 300,000 EUR, two debut features and seven short films. Eleven projects received development support.
Nine films were approved in the documentary section, two of which were debuts. Seven projects were selected for development support. In the animated films section seven films of up to 24 minutes and two films of up to 60 minutes were approved for support.
The Film Industry Act also requires that up to 20% from the NFC’s annual budget is allotted to Bulgarian minority coproductions. In 2017 seven coproductions were approved for financial support: four feature films, two documentaries and one animated film.
Over 240,000 EUR were allotted for domestic distribution of Bulgarian and European films in 2017, and nearly 200,000 EUR were dedicated to the support of local film festivals and international promotion of Bulgarian cinema.
Bulgarian National Television is still the only TV channel obliged by the law to support independent producers with 10% of its total budget. In 2017 the annual amount did not differ a lot from the usual one, around 3 m EUR.
On the other hand, the activity in the private audiovisual sector increased.
The private TV channel bTV backed the shooting of 170 episodes of Dear Heirs, taking place in an artificially built village. Some of them were directed by Todor Chapkanov and Niki Iliev. The broadcast of the series started on 15 January 2018.
In cooperation with Global Films, the other main private TV channel Nova TV backed the shooting of Policemen from the End of Town, the first Bulgarian police comedy based on the Spanish hit series Los hombres de Paco. Nova TV also backed the detective series The Devil's Throat (in cooperation with Dream Team Films). The first six episodes were entirely shot in the picturesque surroundings of the town of Smolyan.
BULGARIAN NATIONAL TELEVISIONGeneral Director: Konstantin Kamenarov29, San Stefano Str.1504 Sofia, Bulgaria Phone: + 359 2 814 22 14 Phone.: + 359 2 944 49 99 (switchboard)www.bnt.bg
Report by Pavlina Jeleva (2018)Source: the Bulgarian National Film Centre
The Ministry of Education and Culture in Cyprus made great efforts in 2018 to expand the country’s activities in various aspects concerning the cinema, including film production, film education and providing incentives for foreign productions.
The biggest achievement is the Council of Ministers’ approval of a Scheme for a whole range of new incentives to attract international productions to the island and to boost its own small film industry. Incentives for local and international productions include a cash rebate and tax credits of up to 35%, tax discounts on investments made on equipment and infrastructure and other incentives. The scheme is run by CIPA (Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency).
Cypriot films won important awards at various international festivals abroad: Smuggling Hendrix by Marios Piperidis won the 1st Best Foreign Film Award at the Tribeca International Film Festival 2018, Sunrise in Kimmeria by Simon Farmakas won the 1st Best Newcomer Award at the 17th Debut Film Festival in St. Petersburg and Pause by Tonia Mishiali screened in competition of the Karlovy Vary IFF 2018 and won the Emerging Greek Directors' competition at the 4th Greek Film Festival - Hellas Filmbox in Berlin.
In 2018 the country hosted a number of international and national feature and short film festivals, the largest being Cyprus Film Days and the International Shor Film Festival of Cyprus (ISFFC).
Four feature films started shooting in 2018 and all of them are supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture: Brothers directed by Gianna Americanou and produced by Filmblades Ltd, The Man with Answers directed by Stelios Kammits and produced by Felony Films, and The Siege on Liberty Street directed by Stavros Pamballis and produced by Med Focus, which is a part of Green Olive Films.
Three feature films were completed in 2018: Pause directed by Tonia Mishiali and produced by A.B. Seahorse Film Productions in coproduction with Soul Productions and with the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus, the Greek Film Centre and the SEE Cinema Network; Clementine directed by Longinos Panayi and produced by Roll-Out Vision Services Ltd. in coproduction with Cypriot FilmBlades, with the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus; and Smuggling Hendrix directed by Marios Piperides and produced by AMP Filmworks, Germany’s Pallas Film and Greece’s Viewmaster Films in coproduction with ZDF/Arte and with the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus, MDM-Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, Greek Film Center and Eurimages.
In October 2018 the Cyprus News Agency (CAN) reported that the new Cypriot company Screentale has signed an agreement with Robert De Niro’s company Tribeca Enterprises NY. CNA quoted Tribeca saying, “We are in exploratory conversations with Screentale about live entertainment events they are considering creating, to take place in Cyprus.” Tribeca came to Cyprus in November 2018, for meetings there.
In general, there are no worldwide distributors specialised in the distribution of domestic films and usually distribution of domestic films is done via the producer within Cyprus. In the case of coproductions, the release of the film in the respective coproducing countries is handled by either the coproducer or a local distributor.
Smuggling Hendrix, the debut feature by Marios Piperides, became one of the most acclaimed Cypriot films. It was selected for more than 25 international festivals and received several awards including Best International Narrative Feature at the 17th Tribeca Film Festival, New York, Bridging Borders - Honourable Mention Award at the 30th Palm Springs Int. Film Festival, Best First Feature Award at the 8th Québec City Film Festival, International Jury Special Mention at the 59th Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Best Audience Award in the International Competition at the 10th Les Arcs Film Festival, France and Best Audience Award at the 9th Carbonia Film Festival, Italy.
Smuggling Hendrix was picked up by German sales agent The Match Factory.
Pause, directed by Tonia Mishiali, was awarded the FIPRESCI Award for best film and the ERT Award at the 2018 Thessaloniki IFF. The film also received the Film Union of Greece Award at the 2018 Athens Panorama of European Cinema and was screened in the East of the West Competition of the 2018 Karlovy Vary IFF.
Clementine by Longinos Panayi premiered at the Cyprus Film Days International Film Festival, running from 19 to 28 April 2018. Later the film was screened at Pantheon Cinema in Nicosia.
Sunrise in Kimmeria by Simon Farmakas won the Best Cypriot Film award at the Cyprus Film Days International Festival in 2018. The film was produced by FotoCine Studios Ltd.
The 16th Cyprus Film Days International Festival, an annual showcase of international and domestic films, was held in Nicosia and Limassol from 19 to 28 April 2018. Ten films competed in the Glocal Images programme and three in the national competition programme. The domestic films were made with the participation of the Cyprus Cinema Advisory Committee and were funded by the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture through the Funding Programmes Regulation for the Support of Cinematographic Films.
The National Competition programme of the 8th International Short Film Festival of Cyprus showcased 19 films, which were automatically included in the international competition. The festival ran from 13 to 19 October 2018. More than 40 short films were submitted to the national competition programme, a number which was overwhelming compared to previous editions. The festival, which also had an international, student, documentary and music video competitions, is organised by the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Rialto Theatre.
The 13th Cyprus International Film Festival Golden Aphrodite ran in Paphos from 23 June to 1 July 2018 with 18 films competing for the Golden Aphrodite in the Feature Film Competition. The festival is organised by the CINE@ART HQ & Programming Office under the auspices of the Municipality of Paphos.
The third Paphos International Film Festival (PIFF), running 22-24 June 2018, screened 19 international short films and 11 student films.
The main exhibitor in Cyprus is K Cineplex, with two cinemas in Nicosia, one in Larnaca, one in Limassol and one in Paphos.
There is also the Rio Cinema in Limassol. The Pantheon in Nicosia has started to screen some mainstream as well as art house films.
Other small cinemas exist in the countryside and they screen various foreign and Cypriot films. In the main towns there are also various associations that function more like film clubs, generally showing European films, such as the Cinema Friends Society in Nicosia and Larnaca and the Pahos Cinema Society.
GRANTS AND NEW REGULATION
Cinema in Cyprus is governed by the Regulations for the Funding of Programmes to Support Cinematographic Films (2017-2020) under the Ministry of Education and Culture. According to the Regulations, low budget features may be funded by the ministry with up to 70% (in the category of difficult films) of their budget, to a total of 850,000 EUR.
The Ministry provides up to 595,000 EUR or a percentage of up to 70%, whichever is lower.
For high budget films there is no limitation on budget, but priority is given to films with a budget of up to 2,500,000 EUR. The ministry provides up to 850,000 EUR or up to 70%, depending on whichever is lower.
For script development, funding for a fiction film is up to 20,000 EUR, 7,000 EUR for a long documentary, up to 13,500 EUR of funding for a long animated film and up to 4,000 EUR for a short fiction film or short documentary.
The ministry’s funding participation in development is up to 35,000 EUR for a low budget feature, up to 45,000 EUR for a high budget feature and from 15,000 EUR to 35,000 EUR for documentaries and animated films of up to 60 or 90 min.
Continuing its efforts to encourage filmmakers in Cyprus, a country with a population of 850,000, the Ministry announced in 2016 that it would accept applications for a script development grant for low budget feature films and short films. The winners of the grants – amounting to 85,500 EUR for script development for low budget feature films and 239,000 EUR for short film production - which were put in place for the first time since 2013, were approved and contracts were signed in 2017. These include a total of 23 projects, of which 14 are short films.
The Cyprus Cinema Guild is extremely active in offering annual seminars and professional training to its members and to the public. Two institutions in Cyprus, the University of Nicosia and the Frederick Institute of Technology, offer programmes that have to do with education in the fields of media and audiovisual communication.
With the introduction of a 35% cash rebate programme in September 2018, Cyprus is poised to join its EU neighbours on the film production scene. Applications for the rebate programme are open to both film and TV projects with a minimum spend of 200,000 EUR and a cap of 1.5 m EUR. The rebate will apply to funds spent in Cyprus and is expected to increase domestic production, minority coproductions and production services on the island.
The incentives package was rolled out at the first Cyprus Film Summit, which was held in Nicosia from 9 to 12 October 2018. The event attracted over 100 producers, investors and other film professionals, who turned up to hear about what the island can offer as a shooting location.
Cypriot film director Tonia Mishiali told FNE: “We have great locations, great weather and film professionals who can be part of these productions. Foreign productions have been coming to Cyprus for years now but the tax incentives are another great reason for more productions to come.”
Mishiali, who is also the artistic director for Cyprus Film Days, added, "I work as a freelance producer/line producer as well and have worked on productions from Egypt, Lebanon and Dubai. As far as I know, productions from Belgium, France, Greece, Russia, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, the UK, Sweden and many more countries have come here."
Application forms and more information about the scheme can be found on Film in Cyprus.
Approximately 70 international producers among a total of 120 film professionals attended the Cyprus Film Summit (9-12 October 2018). Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency invited producers from Bollywood, Hollywood and Pinewood along with a contingent of international representatives.
There are more than 10 studios located in Cyprus and specialised in TV production. Local TV channels usually produce original comic and drama series, and also local sketches.
Local TV channels are: Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC 1, 2, HD and Sat), Sigma TV, OMEGA (previously called TV One), Ant1, Plus TV, Capital and Alpha TV.
REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS – MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND CULTURE Cultural Services 27 Ifigenias Street 2007 Strovolos – Nicosia, Cyprus Phone: +357 22 809 811 Fax: +357 22 809 873 http://filmingincyprus.gov.cy/ http://www.moec.gov.cy/en/
Report by Iulia Blaga (2019) Sources: the Ministry of Education and Culture
MARKET ANALYSIS 2017
The Ministry of Education and Culture in Cyprus made great efforts in 2017 to expand the country’s activities in various aspects concerning the cinema, including film production, film education and providing incentives for foreign productions. The launch of the new website Filming in Cyprus is part of this effort.
The Ministry of Education and Culture put in place the Regulation for Funding Programmes for the period 2017-2020. The programmes offer an amount of up to 50 percent of the budget for feature films and up to 60 percent for cross-border productions.
The programmes also offer funding of up to 70 percent for difficult feature films, which are to be filmed in one of the two official languages of the Republic of Cyprus or a combination of the two. For feature films with an extremely low budget (lower than 85,000 EUR), the programme offers a funding of 80 percent. Short films may receive up to 80 percent of the funding.
In 2017 the country hosted a number of international and national feature and short film festivals, the largest being Cyprus Film Days and the International Shor Film Festival of Cyprus (ISFFC). More information about festivals in Cyprus can be found on the Filming in Cyprus website.
Domestic films successfully participated in international film festivals all over the globe. Screenings of Cypriot and European cinematographic works are mainly achieved thanks to the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture. The island steadily produces documentaries and short films, and has an active TV production industry.
Even though funding for film production has been reduced in relation to the years before the financial crisis in 2013, the Ministry of Education and Culture reviewed the regulations for its funding programme for the period 2016-2017 to help with the production of 23 projects with a low budget. The programme approved funding for nine feature fiction scripts and for 14 short films.
The feature films financially supported and coproduced by the Ministry of Education and Culture in Cyprus, which were completed in 2017 are: Rosemarie, directed by Adonis Florides and produced by AMP Filmworks, Sunrise in Kimmeria, directed by Simon Farmakas and produced by FotoCine Studios Ltd, Happy Birthday, directed by Christos Georgiou and coproduced by Lychnari Productions Ltd, Viewmaster, Twenty Twenty Films and Manny Films, Clementine, directed by Longios Panayi and produced by Roll Out Vision Services in coproduction with Film Blades Filming Solutions, and the documentary Price of a Daughter, directed by Yelis Shukri and produced by Tetraktys Film Productions.
Smuggling Hendrix, directed by Marios Piperides and produced by AMP Filmworks, Sotiris Christou’s White Small Envelopes, produced by Out of Focus, and Tonia Mishiali’s Pause, produced by A.B. Seahorse, are in final stages of postproduction.
Four films are expected to start shooting in 2018: Brothers, directed by Gianna Americanou and produced by Filmblades Ltd, Life Beneath, directed by Alexia Reuters and produced by Filmblades Ltd, The Man with Answers, directed by Stelios Kammits and produced by Felony Films, and The Siege on Liberty Street, directed by Stavros Pamballis and produced by Med Focus (which is a part of Green Olive Films).
Some of the above-mentioned feature films have European coproducers (Greece, Germany, France) and have been supported by Eurimages and the SEE Cinema Network.
Two films stood out in the international festival circuit in 2017 – Rosemarie by Adonis Florides and Happy Birthday by Christos Georgiou. Both of them were shown at the 58th Thessaloniki IFF. Rosemarie, which was supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture in Cyprus, received there the prestigious Greek Film Critics Association Award and also won the best film award in the main international competition at the 15th International Cyprus Film Days Festival.
The independent short film Antidote, directed by Michael Hapeshis, continued to be screened at festivals in Philadelphia, Helsinki, Stockholm and Leuven in 2017. It was also screened at the Sundance Film Festival.
Boy on the Bridge (which received support from the Ministry of Education and Culture in Cyprus), directed by Petros Charalambous and produced by FilmWorks, continued to be successful in 2017. The film won the Audience Award at the 15th International Cyprus Film Days Festival, and it participated in the 7th Julien Dubuque IFF in the U.S., as well as in the 8th Cinema of the Future Society IFF in Albania, where it won best feature film for children and teenagers. It also won best film at the second Buzz Cee International Film Festival in Buzău, Romania, and best director award at the 15th Russian Amur Autumn Film Festival. The main actor in the film, Konstantinos Farmakas, was awarded best actor at the 11th Greek Film Festival in Australia.
The documentary Beloved Day, directed by Constantinos Patsalides and produced by Walking Around the World in coproduction with the Ministry of Education and Culture, Filmblades, Atlantis and Roll Out Vision Services, premiered at the Umeo International Film Festival in Sweden. The film has secured an agreement for its global distribution.
In general, there are no worldwide distributors specialised in the distribution of domestic films, and usually distribution of domestic films is done via the producer within Cyprus. In the case of coproductions, the release of the film in the respective coproducing countries is handled by either the coproducer or a local distributor.
The main exhibitor in Cyprus is K Cineplex, with two cinemas in Nicosia, one in Larnaca, one is Limassol and one in Paphos.
There is also the Rio cinema in Limassol. The Pantheon in Nicosia has started to screen some mainstream as well as art house films
Other small cinemas in the country are more like film clubs, such as Cinestudio in Nicosia and the Larnaca Cinema Society in Larnaca. These film clubs do not generally show mainstream films.
Cinema in Cyprus is governed by the Regulations for the Funding of Programmes to Support Cinematographic Films (2017-2020) under the Ministry of Education and Culture.
According to the Regulations, low budget features may be funded by the ministry with up to 70% (in the category of difficult films) of their budget, to a total of 850,000 EUR.
For high budget films there is no limitation on budget, but priority is given to films with a budget of up to 2,500,000 EUR. The ministry provides up to 850,000 EUR or up to 70 per cent, depending on whichever is lower.
The ministry provided the means for future or current filmmakers to learn from some of the top professionals in the industry during the Cyprus Film Days and the International Short Film Festival of Cyprus (ISFFC). In 2017 the Cyprus Film Days Festival included a masterclass with cinematographer Phil Meheux BSC and two workshops with director Richard Kwietniowski.
The Cyprus Cinema Guild is also extremely active in offering annual seminars and professional training to its members and to the public. Two institutions in Cyprus, the University of Nicosia and the Frederick Institute of Technology, offer programmes that have to do with education in the fields of the media and audiovisual communication.
There are more than ten studios located in Cyprus and specialised in TV production. Local TV channels usually produce original comic and drama series, and also local sketches.
Local TV channels are: Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC 1, 2, HD and Sat), Sigma TV, TV ONE (previously called Mega One), Ant1, Plus TV, Capital and Alpha TV.
In 2017 the important new domestic series were the comedy La Pasta Pomilori, which was directed by Theodosis Ekonomidis and Antonis Sotiropoulos and broadcast on Ant1, and the period drama Halkina Hronia, directed by Corina Avramidou and Christos Nikolaou and aired on CyBC 1.
There are no local channels broadcasting only films.
REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS – MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND CULTURECultural Services27 Ifigenias Street2007 Strovolos – Nicosia, CyprusPhone: +357 22 809 811Fax: +357 22 809 873http://filmingincyprus.gov.cy/ http://www.moec.gov.cy/en/
Report by Maria Gregoriou (2018)Sources: the Ministry of Education and Culture
Czech cinema enjoyed domestic and international successes of both feature films and documentaries in 2018, with the Czech Film Fund effectively supporting the development and production of numerous quality films (including a strikingly high number of debut features), a growing number of coproductions, returning international film crews shooting on Czech locations and exceptional box office results.
Film production in the Czech Republic in 2018 was marked by a growing interest of domestic producers in international coproductions including minority coproductions, which enjoyed a significant support from the Czech Film Fund. The range of coproducing countries is getting wider than before, including – next to traditional partner countries - also new partners from the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, France or the USA.
As far as the topics and genres are concerned, period films seemed to prevail in 2018, both from older and more recent Czech history. Numerous domestic comedies are still being made - traditionally a very successful genre in Czech cinemas, as well as films for children, including long animated films. Together with experienced and renowned directors shooting new films, a strikingly high number of debut features was produced in 2018.
Among the most important and at the same time most expensive titles shooting in 2018 there were: the epic period film Medieval / Jan Žižka by Petr Jákl, a US/Czech/UK coproduction produced by WOG FILM, the war dramaThe Painted Bird / Nabarvené ptáče, directed by Václav Marhoul and produced by Silvescreen, (a coproduction between the Czech Republic, the Ukraine, Slovakia) and The Glass Room / Skleněný pokoj by Julius Ševčík produced by IN Film Praha.
Other titles which were shot in 2018 and which deal with important political topics were The Prague Orgy / Pražské orgie by Irena Pavlásková produced by Prague Movie Company, the Czech/German coproduction National Street / Národní třída directed by Štěpán Altrichter and produced by Negativ, and On the Roof / Na střeše directed by Jiří Mádl and produced by Dawson Productions.
Important coproductions shot in 2018 are the children film My Grandpa Is an Alien by Drazen Zarkovic and Marina Andree Škop, a coproduction between Croatia, Luxembourg, Norway, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, produced by Studio Dim, and the Danish/Czech coproduction In Love and War / I Krig & Kærlighed, directed by Kasper Torsting and produced by Fridthjof Film and Film United.
Agnieszka Holland’s new feature film Charlatan / Šarlatán, produced by Marlene Film Production, started shooting for one week in 2018 with the main shooting set for 2019.
There were numerous big and small foreign productions shooting in the Czech Republic in 2018, including the big budget TV series Wiskey Cavalier and the second season of Knightfall, most of them supported by the film incentives programme.
A total of 70 new domestic features and documentaries were theatrically released during 2018. Numerous important feature films were inspired by events and personalities from the Czech history and literature: the Czech/Slovak drama Jan Palach directed by Robert Sedláček, produced by Cineart TV Prague and distributed by CinemArt (which was nominated for six Czech Critics’ Awards), Toman by Ondřej Trojan, produced by Total HelpArt T.H.A.. (which was released by Falcon in October 2018), the long awaited fairy tale The Magic Quill / Čertí brko directed by Marek Najbrt, produced by Punk Film and distributed by Falcon, and the adaptation of the acclaimed novel Hastrman directed by Ondřej Havelka, produced by První veřejnoprávní, and distributed by CinemArt.
The list of comedies successfully distributed in Czech cinemas in 2018 includes What Men Long For / Po čem muži touží directed by Rudolf Havlík, produced by Fénix Film in coproduction with Flamesite and distributed by CinemArt, Patrimony / Tátova Volha directed by Jiří Vejdělek, produced by Infinity Prague and distributed by CinemArt, and Desperate Ladies Act Desperately / Zoufalé ženy dělají zoufalé věcí directed by Filip Renč, produced by Mojo Film and distributed by Bioscop.
The year 2018 was very good for Czech cinemas. The results surpassed even the box office record year 2016. The total admissions reached 16,344, 483, the total box office was 88,595,963 EUR / 2, 268, 942, 623 CZK, compared to 15,233,432 admissions and total box office of 78,814,200 EUR / 2,004,245,131 CZK in 2017.
The average ticket price in 2018 was 5.42 EUR / 138.82 CZK.
There are eight distribution companies in the Czech Republic with a market share of over 1%.
In 2018, CinemArt, the distributor of some major US studios’ productions and also high-profile Czech films, had 40.8% market share and replaced the top distributor of 2017, Falcon, which had 28.1% market share. Vertical Entertainment (Freeman) ranked third with 12.7%, followed by Bontonfilm with 6.2% market share.
The most attended film in Czech cinemas was Bohemian Rhapsody (distributed by CinemArt) with 1,073,638 admissions and 6,466,605 EUR / 165,609,745 CZK gross.
The most attended Czech film in 2018 was the comedy What Men Long For / Po čem muži touží, with 558,988 admissions and 3,226,102 EUR / 82, 620,472 CZK.
In 2018 the market share of multiplexes, counting 256 screens and 44,464 seats, reached 65.88% (attendance). The largest multiplex cinema operators are Cinema City and Cine Star.
The main tool for public support of Czech cinema is the Czech Film Fund. The funding is granted in 10 areas: development, production, distribution, promotion, technological development, publications, education and training, festivals and events, protection, preservation and access to film heritage. The Fund, through its division Czech Film Center, represents and promotes Czech cinema and film industry and increases the awareness of Czech film worldwide. It also supports through its division Czech Film Commission the activities of film offices in the Czech Republic, helping Czech and foreign filmmakers to shoot in various regions of the country.
In 2018, the Czech Film Fund issued a total of 30 calls for domestic grants with a total funding of 14.098,809 EUR / 361 m CZK, of which 11,169,693 EUR / 286 m CZK was earmarked for Czech film development and production of all film genres, including minority coproductions.
Among important feature films supported in 2018 there are: Havel directed by Slávek Horák and produced by TVORBA Films, with 560,603 EUR / 14.5 m CZK, Zátopek directed by David Ondříček and produced by Lucky Men Films, with 579,039 EUR / 15 m CZK, Bourák directed by Ondřej Trojan and produced by Total Help Art T.H.A., with 386,026 EUR / 10 m CZK, Snake Gas / Hadí plyn directed by David Jařab and produced by Cineart TV Prague, with 386,026 EUR / 10 m CZK, Princip Kriegel aneb Muž, který stál v cestě directed by Ivan Fíla and produced by Bio Illusion, with 386,026 EUR / 10 m CZK, Krajina ve stínu directed by Bohdam Sláma and produced by Luminar Film, with 425,285 EUR / 11 m CZK, Admin directed by Olmo Omerzu and produced by endorfilm, with 425,285 EUR / 11 m CZK, Chyby directed by Jan Prušinovský and produced by Offsidemen, with 270,270 EUR / 7 m CZK, and the children and youth film A City Boy and the Forest Secret / Mazel a tajemství lesa directed by Petr Okropec and produced by BFilms, with 289,575 EUR / 7.5 m CZK.
The Czech Film Fund also administrates film incentives for film and TV productions shooting in the Czech Republic. The incentives are granted in the form of a 20% cash rebate on Czech production costs and 66% on the withholding tax on non-resident labour costs paid in the Czech Republic. The incentives are available for feature films, TV and animation series, animated and documentary films. Maximum eligible costs are set at 80% of the total budget. The Czech Film Fund is currently trying to increase the rebate to 25%.
More than 38.9 m EUR / 1 billion CZK were allocated to the incentive programme in 2018.
For eligibility criteria and application process, check the Czech Film Commission’s website.
The amendment to the audiovisual law approved in May 2016 came into effect on 1 January 2017. An improved incentives scheme was introduced, which makes the system more flexible for film productions.
The rebates allotted in 2018 include the action series Whiskey Cavalier (8,748, 291 EUR / 224 m CZK) directed by Peter Atencio, produced by Doozer and Warner Bros. Television and serviced by Stillking Films, with almost 100 shooting days in the Czech Republic; the second season of the historical series Knightfall (5,702,011 EUR / 146 m CZK) directed by Rick Jacobson, produced by A+E Studios, Midnight Radio and The Combine with Stillking Films servicing (90 shooting days); the US/German coproduction Jojo Rabbit (1,390,353 EUR / 35.6 m CZK) directed by Taika Waititi, produced by Fox Searchlight Pictures and serviced by Czech Anglo Productions (40 shooting days); the French biopic Edmond (812,341 EUR / 20.8 m CZK) directed by Alexis Michalik, produced by Légende Films, Ezra, Gaumont (FR), Nexus (BG), Sirena Film, which also serviced in the Czech Republic (41 shooting days); Norwegian Amundsen (523,335 EUR / 13.4 m CZK) directed by Espen Sandberg, produced by Motion Blur (NO), SF Studios (SE) and serviced by Film Kolektiv (22 days), Amazon Studios’ horror series Lore (1,093, 536 EUR / 28 m CZK) by Darnell Martin, Thomas J. Wright, Michael E. Satrazemis and produced by Amazon Studios, Propagate Content, Valhalla Entertainment, serviced by Milk & Honey Pictures.
Also benefiting of the rebates in 2018 were: the German mini-series The Wall (1,132,591 EUR / 29 m CZK) directed by Michael Krumennacher and produced by Gabriela Sperl Produktion, Wiedemann & Berg Television, ZDF Enterprises, with Wilma Film coproducing and servicing; the BBC series World on Fire (2,069, 908 EUR / 53 m CZK); three German TV films for the Der Zurich-Krimi series (488,186 EUR / 12.5 m); the German/Austrian feature film Narziss und Goldmund (585,823 EUR / 15 m CZK) directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky, produced by Tempest Film Produktion Und Verleih, Mythos Film Produktions, Lotus-Film and serviced by Mia Film; the US/UK TV mini-series The Little Drummer Girl (410,076 EUR / 10.5 m CZK) directed by Park Chan-wook, produced by AMC Networks, BBC, Endeavor Content, The Ink Factory and serviced by Sirena Film.
Rebates were also given to large scale Czech coproductions such as Agnieszka Holland’s feature film Charlatan / Šarlatán produced by Marlene Film Production - 429,603 EUR / 11 m CZK, and Glass Room / Skleněný pokoj by Julius Ševčík, produced by InFilm - 468,658 EUR / 12 m CZK.
The main TV companies in the Czech Republic are NOVA group, the Czech Television and PRIMA group.
The Czech Television currently runs six channels: CT1, CT2, CT24, CT sport, CT:D and CT Art.
NOVA group channels include NOVA, NOVA 2, NOVA Cinema, NOVA Action, NOVA Gold, NOVA Sport and NOVA Sport 2.
Prima group consists of Prima Family, Prima COOL, Prima LOVE, Prima ZOOM, Prima MAX and Prima Comedy and Prima Crime.
TV stations also increased the number of programmes available on the internet, bringing them to a larger audience. TV NOVA has its video library Voyo.cz, Prima group runs PrimaPlay.cz, while the Czech TV offers its programmes via iVysílání.cz.
The market for TV advertising is dominated by Nova and Prima (90%), while advertising on the Czech Television is limited to the minimum by the law. The television is traditionally the strongest advertising medium in the country.
Television stations play a large role in the production of quality content for local film and TV productions. The Czech TV has become a permanent partner of Czech cinema, with its in-house production sector Film Center coproducing increasing numbers of feature films. Czech TV is also a coproducer of almost all documentaries released in Czech cinemas.
Among TV projects produced by the public television in 2018 there are: the Czech historical TV miniseries Rašín directed by Jiří Svoboda, A Pilot Tale / Balada o pilotovi by Jan Sebechlebský and the film for children Magician Zito / Kouzelník Žito by Zdeněk Zelenka. Important miniseries dealing with the Czech history are also Jan Hrebejk´s Redl and the 8-part series Lynč directed by Klára Jůzová, Jan Bártek and Harold Apter. The Czech TV coproduced many important feature films including The Magic Quill by Marek Najbrt, Winter Flies by Olmo Omerzu, On the Roof by Jiří Mádl and Toman by Ondřej Trojan.
PRAGUE FILM FUNDMariánské náměstí 2/2, 110 00 Praha 1www.praguefilmfund.eu
ASSOCIATION OF CZECH ANIMATION FILMHeřmanova 3, Praguehttp://en.asaf.cz/
Report by Denisa Strbova (2019) Sources: the Czech Film Fund, the Czech Film Center, the Czech Film Commission, the Film Distributor´s Union
Czech cinema had a good year in 2017, with international success of both feature films and documentaries, a film fund effectively supporting the development and production of numerous quality films, a growing number of coproductions, returning international film crews shooting on Czech locations and excellent box office results.
Among the most important titles shooting in 2017 were several period films, including Painted Bird / Nabarvené ptáče, directed by Václav Marhoul and produced by Silvescreen, Jan Palach, directed by Robert Sedláček and produced by Cineart TV Prague, and Toman by Ondřej Trojan, produced by Total HelpArt T.H.A..
The long awaited fairy tale The Magic Quill / Čertí brko, directed by Marek Najbrt and produced by Punk Film, was shot in the summer of 2017.
The romantic fantasy based on the acclaimed novel Hastrman, directed by Ondřej Havelka and produced by První veřejnoprávní,, was shot from July to September 2017.
The comedies filmed in 2017 included Dad´s Volha, directed by Jiří Vejdělek and produced by Infinity Prague, and Desperate Women Do Desperate Things / Zoufalé ženy dělají zoufalé věcí, directed by Filip Renč and produced by U.F.O. Pictures..
There were also numerous foreign productions shooting in the Czech Republic in 2017. Unique Czech locations, the experience and expertise of the Barrandov Studio, which hosts one of the largest costumes and props rental houses in Europe, are constantly attracting big and small productions.
The year 2017 saw a boom of German TV productions shooting on Czech locations. According to Helena Bezděk Fraňková, the Director of the Czech Film Fund, 14 television films and series spent over 33 m EUR / 850 m CZK in nearly 400 filming days in the Czech Republic. “German television productions have in recent years been our most loyal ‘clients’ and Germany clearly surpasses other countries in terms of the number of foreign projects shooting here”, Helena Bezděk Fraňková said.
The eight-part series Das Boot, directed by Andreas Prochaska and produced by Bavaria Fiction, is the biggest German production shot in the Czech Republic since the introduction of incentives in 2010. Stillking Films provided services. Out of the total budget of 25 m EUR, about 14 m EUR were spent at the Barrandov Studio.
Other German productions shot in the Czech Republic in 2017 were: Der Prag-Krimi, directed by Nicolai Rohde and produced by Schiwago Film GmbH, the Charité series, directed by Anno Saul, produced by UFA Fiction for ARD and serviced by Mia Film, and the two-part thriller Walpurgis Night, directed by Hans Steinbichler, produced by Wiedemann & Berg Television GmbH & Co. KG for ZDF and serviced by Czech Wilma Film.
Other important international productions shot in the Czech Republic in 2017 were: the first season of the Genius series, directed by Ron Howard and produced by Fox 21 Television Studios, Imagine Television, OddLot Entertainment and EUE/Sokolow for the National Geographic channel and with Stillking Films providing services; the postwar drama The Aftermath, directed by James Kent and produced by Fox Searchlight Pictures and Scott Free Productions with Sirena Film servicing; Xavier Dolan’s Death and Life of John F. Donovan, produced by Lyla Films and Sons of Manual and serviced by Film United;; Ben Levin’s The Catcher Was a Spy, produced by PalmStar Media, Animus Films, Serena Films, in association with Windy Hill Pictures, with Czech-Anglo Productions servicing, and the two-part film Maria Theresa directed by Robert Dornheim and produced by Maya Production, MR-Film Gruppe (A) and BETA Film GmbH (A).
A total of 26 domestic feature films, two long animated films and 27 documentaries longer than 60 minutes had their premieres in 2017. Of these, 13 are debuts and 20 are coproductions, including six minority coproductions.
Many important feature films released in 2017 were inspired by events and personalities from the Czech history.
Jan Svěrak´s Barefoot / Po strništi bos, produced by Biograf Jan Svěrák Pictures, became the best attended Czech film in 2017. Jan Svěrák returns to the war childhood of his father, Zdeněk Svěrák, and makes a prequel to another extremely popular film of the Svěráks’ tandem, The Elementary School / Obecná škola (1991, Barrandov Film Studio).
A Prominent Patient / Masaryk, directed by Julius Ševčík and produced by In Film, premiered in the Berlinale Special section of the 2017 Berlin IFF. This drama, focusing on the controversial figure of the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Masaryk in the 40´s, was domestically released by Bioscop in the spring of 2017.
Milada, directed by David Mrnka and produced by Loaded Vision Entertainment, was released by Bohemia M.P. in 2017 and is available in numerous language versions on Netflix, which co-funded its production. The film is based on the tragic story of the politician Milada Horáková, who was unjustly sentenced and executed during Stalin's political processes in the 50s.
The medieval road movie Little Crusader / Křižáček, directed by Václav Kadrnka and produced by Sirius Films, won the Crystal Globe for best film at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival 2017.
Ice Mother / Bába z ledu, directed by Bohdan Sláma and coproduced by the Czech company Negativ, Slovakia’s Artileria and France’s Why Not Productions, was voted as the Czech Oscar bid in the Foreign Language Film category in 2017. The film was distributed in the Czech Republic by Falcon.
Among the most interesting documentaries in 2017 were Červená by Olga Sommerová and Miroslav Janek´s Universum Brdečka, both produced by Evolution Films and released in cinemas by Aerofilms.
Minority coproductions also had a successful life at festivals. Czech minority coproduction Spoor / Pokot, directed by Agnieszka Holland and produced by TOR Film Production, was awarded the Alfred Bauer Prize for Artistic Contribution at the Berlin IFF 2017.
Little Harbor/ Pátá loď, directed by Iveta Grófová and produced by Silverart and endorfilm, won the Crystal Bear for best film of the Children's Jury in the Generation Kplus section of the 2017 Berlin IFF.
Filthy / Špína, directed by Tereza Nvotová and produced by Bfilm and Moloko Film, premiered at the Rotterdam IFF.
There are seven distribution companies in the Czech Republic with a market share of over 1%.
In 2017, Falcon, the distributor of some major US studios’ productions and also high-profile Czech films, had 32.1 % market share and replaced the last year’s top distributor Cinemart, which had 29, 2% market share. Vertical Entertainment (Freeman) ranked third with 16.8%, followed by Bioscoop/AQS with 11.5% market share.
The year 2017 was very good for Czech cinemas. Although the results slightly decreased compared with 2016, it was still the second best year in the history of the independent Czech cinema market.
Total admissions were 15,233,432 and total box office was 78,814,200 EUR / 2,004,245,131 CZK, compared to 15,621,923 admissions and 79,081,565 EUR / 2,011,044,198 CZK in 2016.
However, there was a considerable drop of over 10 percent in the admissions to domestic titles, which reached only 20 percent of the total admissions in 2017.
The most attended Czech film in 2017 was Jan Svěrak´s Barefoot / Po strništi bos with 505,282 admissions and 2.55 m EUR / 64,813,015 CZK gross. The film was distributed by Bioscop.
There were three Czech films in the admissions top ten: Barefoot, the comedy River Rascals / Špunti na vodě directed by Jiří Chlumský, produced by Fresh Lobster in coproduction with Fénix Film, Sibira Pro and Fénix Distribution (distributed by Bioscop), and the 2016´s hit Angel of the Lord 2, directed by Jiří Strach, produced by Marlene Film Production and distributed by Falcon .
A total of 284 new releases hit Czech cinemas in 2017, of which 56 were Czech titles.
The average ticket price in 2017 was 5.18 EUR / 131.57 CZK (compared to 5.07 EUR / 128.73 CZK in 2016).
Total admissions top ten is topped by the US animation Despicable me 3 directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, with 610,882 admissions and 3.26 m EUR / 82,848,893 CZK gross, followed by Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge, directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, with 567,665 admissions and 3.25 m EUR / 82, 651,627 CZK gross.
In 2017 the market share of multiplexes, counting 256 screens and 44,464 seats, reached 75.4%. The largest multiplex cinema operators are Cinema City and Cine Star.
The Czech Film Fund remains the main tool for public support of Czech cinema. The funding is granted in 10 areas: development, production, distribution, promotion, technological development, publications, education and training, festivals and events, protection, preservation and access to film heritage. The fund also supports the activities of film offices in the Czech Republic, helping Czech and foreign filmmakers to shoot in various regions of the country.
In 2017, the Czech Film Fund issued a total of 36 calls for domestic grants with the total funding of 14.6 m EUR / 370 m CZK, of which 11.3 m EUR / 287 m CZK (80%) was earmarked for Czech film development and production of all film genres, including minority coproductions.
The most important films supported in 2017 were: My Sunny Maad, directed by Michaela Pavlátová and produced by Negativ and France’s Sacrebleu Productions (744,000 EUR / 19 m CZK); Šarlatán, directed by Agnieszka Holland and produced by Marlene Film Production (509,000 EUR / 13 m CZK); Opravdoví bratři, directed by Petr Nikolaev and produced by Daniel Severa Production (587,544 EUR / 15 m CZK); Kryštof, directed by Zdeněk Jiráský and produced by Fulfilm (528,790 EUR / 13.5 m CZK) and Jan Palach ,directed by Robert Sedláček and produced by Cineart TV Prague (430,865 EUR / 11 m CZK).
Since the introduction of the new law in 2013, the Czech Film Fund has also administered the Czech incentives scheme. The incentives are granted in the form of a 20% cash rebate on Czech production costs and 66% on the withholding tax on non-resident labor costs paid in the Czech Republic. The incentives are available for feature films, TV and animation series, animated and documentary films. Maximum eligible costs are set at 80% of the total budget.
The pre-condition of eligibility for the incentive is the minimum volume of the Czech cost:
555,000 EUR / 15 m CZK for a feature, animated or TV film (minimum runtime 70 min.) 74,000 EUR / 2 m CZK for a theatrical documentary (minimum runtime 70 min.) 295,000 EUR / 8 m CZK for a TV episode (minimum runtime 30 min.) 147,500 EUR / 1 m CZK for an animated episode (minimum runtime5 min.)
The rebate is no longer subject to a yearly cap. Producers can register the project at any time during the year and immediately receive a registration certificate. Upon receiving the registration certificate, the producer can apply for the allocation of the rebate. The timing of the application is important. Within four months after the application is filed, at least 10 shooting days must be completed in the Czech Republic. Rebates are allotted throughout the year, depending on the beginning of production. For animated films, if shooting in the Czech Republic is longer than 10 days, producers are able to receive their grants in two parts: first upon the completion of the shooting in the Czech Republic and the second part after the completion of all Czech production.
Large amounts of incentives were allotted in 2017 to: Carnival Row (10.3 m EUR / 261 m CZK), directed by Paul McGuigan and Anna Foerster, produced by Legendary Television, Ophelia (1.7 m EUR / 42.6 m CZK), directed by Claire McCarthy and produced by Covert Media (US), Bobker / Kruger Films (US) and Forthcoming Films (UK), both with Stillking Films servicing, and the Czech production Jan Palach (294,000 EUR / 7.5 m CZK), directed by Robert Sedláček and produced by Cineart TV Prague.
The National Film Archive handles both domestic and international sales of films made in Czechoslovakia before 1991 and produced by Barrandov and Zlín film studios (both state owned at the time).
The Czech Film Center is in charge of the promotion of Czech films abroad and is the official national representative of Czech cinema and film industry at key film festivals and markets. The Czech Film Commission is the official film office supporting and promoting audiovisual production in the Czech Republic. Both institutions are a part of the Czech Film Fund.
There are three major TV groups in the Czech Republic, reaching a cumulative market share of approximately 80% in the target group of viewers 15+ in 2017: the public TV Czech Television with a market share of 29.26%, NOVA group with 30.26%, Prima group with 20.76% and Barrandov TV with 8.91%.
TV companies are introducing new channels in order to compensate for the declining audience of flagship stations. The Czech Television currently runs six channels: CT1, CT2, CT24, CT sport, CT:D and CT Art.
NOVA group channels include NOVA, NOVA 2, NOVA Cinema, NOVA Action, NOVA Gold, NOVA Sport and NOVA Sport 2.
Prima group consists of Prima Family, Prima COOL, Prima LOVE, Prima ZOOM, new Prima MAX and Prima Comedy.
The market for TV advertising is dominated by Nova and Prima (90%), while advertising on the Czech Television is limited to a minimum by the law. The television is traditionally the strongest advertising medium in the country.
Television stations play a large role in the production of quality content for local film and TV productions. The Czech TV has become a permanent partner of Czech cinema, with its in-house production sector Film Center coproducing many feature films, including the already mentioned high-profile films Barefoot, Little Crusader, Jan Palach or Garden Store. The Czech TV is also a coproducer of almost all documentaries released in the cinemas.
Report by Denisa Strbova (2018)Sources: the Czech Film Fund, the Czech Film Center, the Czech Film Commission, the Film Distributor´s Union
Estonian films had a breakthrough year in 2018. Domestic films had more than 647,600 admissions, which is an all-time record. In 2017 Estonian films had 282,421 admissions. The success of 2018 is mostly due to the Estonian Republic 100 film programme. Two record-breakers, The Little Comrade / Seltsimees laps directed by Moonika Siimets and produced by Amrion, and Phantom Owl Forest / Eia jõulud Tondikakul directed by Anu Aun and coproduced by Luxfilm and Kinosaurus Film, were both part of the programme.
However, the most popular Estonian film was Class Reunion 2: A Wedding and a Funeral / Klassikokkutulek 2: Pulmad ja matused directed by René Vilbre and produced by Taska Film, with more than 146,000 admissions.
The last films from the Estonian 100 programme wrapped production in 2018 and premiered at the beginning of 2019. One of them, Lotte and the Lost Dragons / Lote un pazudušie Pūķi by Janno Põldma and Heiki Ernits, will have its international premiere in the Generation 14plus section of the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival. Lotte and the Lost Dragons, the only animated film in the Estonia 100 programme and the third instalment of Estonia’s animated franchise, is produced by Eesti Joonisfilm. The film reached the domestic screens on 2 January 2019 with 45,946 admissions in the first two weeks.
Truth and Justice / Tõde ja õigus, directed by Tanel Toom and produced by Allfilm, wrapped filming in August 2018, with the domestic premiere set for February 2019.
The Estonian production company Kopli Kinokompanii is in production with Sandra Gets a Job / Sandra saab tööd by Kaupo Kruusiauk, which will have its premiere later in 2019, and is the producer of The Real Life of Johannes Pääsuke by Hardi Volmer, which premiered on 10 January 2019.
Class Reunion 3: Godfathers / Klassikokkutulek 3: Ristiisad directed by René Vilbre and produced by Taska film, started shooting in June 2018. The premiere is set for January 2019.
Several international productions are currently in various stages of production.
Scandinavian Silence / Skandinaavia vaikus by Martti Helde, which started shooting in 2016, is still in production. The film is an Estonian/French/Belgian coproduction between Three Brothers, ARP Selection and Media International. The domestic premiere is scheduled for March 2019.
Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway is a sci-fi thriller directed by Miguel Llanso set to be completed in 2019. The film is a Spanish/Estonian coproduction between Lanzadera Films and Alasti Kino.
The Estonian/Polish coproduction Rain by Janno Jürgens will be completed in 2019. The film is an Estonian/Polish coproduction between Alasti Kino and Furia Film.
The Finnish/Estonian coproduction Maria’s Paradise / Marian Paratiisi by Zaida Bergroth will also be completed in 2019. The film is produced by Elokuvayhtio Komeetta (Finland), Stellar Film (Estonia) and Kaiho Republic (Finland).
Peeter Rebane started shooting his debut feature Firebird in September 2018. The film is produced by UK’s The Factory and No Reservation Entertainment, and it was supported by the Estonian Film Institute through the cash rebate programme.
The independent road movie Chasing Unicorns directed by Rain Rannu and produced by Tallifornia, will premiere in September 2019.
The Last Ones / Viimased directed by Veiko Õunpuu and produced by Estonia’s Homeless Bob Production and Finland’s Bufo, is currently in postproduction. The project was selected for the Work in Progress section at Les Arcs IFF in December 2018.
The Estonian/Finnish coproduction Goodbye Soviet Union / Nägemiseni NSVL by Lauri Randla is a coming-of-age story set during the collapse of the Soviet Union. The film is produced by Exitfilm (Estonia) and Bufo (Finland) with the premiere set for 2020.
Nearly 300 films were distributed in Estonia in 2018. The average ticket price was 5.67 EUR, representing a 2.5 percent increase from 2017. A total of 24 Estonian films premiered in 2018 including 14 feature films and 10 documentaries. Additionally, three short-film collections made it to the cinemas.
Four Estonian films made it to the top ten. Class Reunion 2: A Wedding and a Funeral directed by René Vilbre and produced by Taska Film, was the most-watched film in 2018 with over 146,500 admissions. Phantom Owl Forest directed by Anu Aun and produced by Kinosaurus Film, which ranked 3rd, premiered in December 2018 and gained more than 110,000 admissions within a month.
The Little Comrade directed by Moonika Siimets and produced by Amrion, ranked 4th with over 116,000 admissions. The Fourth Sister. Under the Clouds directed by Toomas Kirss and produced by Kartulid ja Apelsinid OÜ ranked 10th with over 66,500 admissions.
The second edition of the Estonian Film & Television Awards was held in March 2018. November directed by Rainer Sarnet and produced by Homless Bob Production, received eight awards, including best film and best director. Sulev Keedus won best screenplay for The Manslayer / The Virgin / The Shadow produced by F-Seitse (Estonia) and Era Film (Lithuania), Tõnu Kark won best actor for Green Cats directed by Andres Puustusmaa and produced by Leo Production, while Martin Männik won best editor for Terje Toomistu’s documentary Soviet Hippies produced by Kultusfilm.
There were more than 3.6 m admissions altogether, which is an all-time record, resulting in 2.75 admissions per capita. Total box office reached over 20.6 m EUR.
Domestic films racked up over 647,600 admissions, adding up to a record 17.8% of the market share. It is twice as much as in 2017. Estonian films got 16.25 % of the box office. The most successful Estonian film was Class Reunion 2: A Wedding and a Funeral by Rene Vilbre with over 146,500 admissions and over 858, 990 EUR gross.
The Estonian Film Institute’s budget for grants and film industry was 7,882,135 EUR in 2018. That includes the budget for the Estonia’s cash rebate system FilmEstonia. Estonian Cultural Endowment supported the film industry with 2,032,631 EUR.
In 2018, the Estonian Film Institute provided production and postproduction grants for the following feature films: The Last Ones directed by Veiko Õunpuu and produced by Homeless Bob Production and Finland’s Bufo, Erik Stoneheart directed by Ilmar Raag and produced by Amrion, Class Reunion 3: Godfathers directed by René Vilbre and produced by Taska film, Goodbye Soviet Union directed by Lauri Randla and produced by Estonia’s Exitfilm and Finland’s Bufo, Dead Woman directed by Kadri Kõusaar and produced by Meteoriit, Chasing Unicorns directed by Rain Rannu and produced by Tallifornia, Grown-ups directed by Priit Pääsuke and produced by Alexandra Film, On the Water directed by Peeter Simm and produced by Filmivabrik and O-2 directed by Margus Paju and produced by Nafta Films.
Six minority coproductions received funding from the Estonian Film Institute in 2018: Gateway 6 directed by Tanel Toom and coproduced by Allfilm, Maria’s Paradise directed by Zaida Bergroth and coproduced by Stellar Film; Undergods directed by Chino Moya and coproduced by Homeless Bob Productions, On the Way to Heaven directed by Carl Olssen and coproduced by Allfilm, Quicksand directed by Margot Schaap and coproduced by Homeless Bob Productions and Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway directed by Miguel Llanso and coproduced by Alasti Kino.
In 2018, the budget of Estonia’s cash rebate programme FilmEstonia reached over 2 m EUR. It is an increase of more than 50% compared to 2017. FilmEstonia supports feature films, documentaries, high-end TV dramas and animated films, and it offers up to 30% support for international coproductions.
Estonia’s cash rebate system supported seven projects with the amount of 2,111,067 EUR in 2018. Undergods by Chino Moya received 80,949 EUR, the Swedish TV-series Hamilton, coproduced by Estonia’s Allfilm, received 641,474 EUR, Gateway 6 directed by Tanel Toom and coproduced by Allfilm, received 308,212 EUR, Maria’s Paradise directed by Maria Bergroth and coproduced by Estonia’s Stellar Film, received 219,995 EUR, All the Sins directed by Mika Ronkainen and coproduced by Taska Film, received 25,813 EUR, Firebird by Peeter Rebane, produced by UK’s The Factory and No Reservation Entertainment, received 455,562 EUR, and Helene directed by Antti Jokinen and coproduced by Estonia’s Stellar Film, received 379,062 EUR.
In 2018, Enterprise Estonia supported two audio-visual projects with a total of 4,293,420 EUR, to be spent within three years. The VR-centre set in the historic Noblessner quarter received 2,390,300 EUR and the Interactive WOW! Center in Kuressaare, which will also have a 4D cinema, received 1,903,120 EUR.
There are three main TV broadcasters in Estonia. The Estonian Public Broadcasting, which operates ETV, ETV2, and the Russian-language ETV+. The two leading commercial broadcasters are Kanal2 and Viasat-owned TV3.
The 10-part TV drama series The Bank / Pank, produced by Itamambuca, aired in 2018. This 1.5 m EUR production received 781,000 EUR from the Estonian Film Institute. The Bank was sold to MHz Networks to air in North America in October 2018.
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Report by Aurelia Aasa (2019) Sources: Estonian Film Institute, Cultural Endowment of Estonia
Estonian cinema had a successful year in 2017 and continued to break records. Total admissions reached an all-time high of 3.51 m, a 6.3 percentage-point increase from 2016. Another record is 2.67 admissions per capita. Total box office reached a record of 19.39 m EUR, with 9.1 percentage points more than in 2016.
Domestic films had 282,421 admissions, adding up to an 8% market share. The Dissidents, directed by Jaak Kilmi and produced by Taska Film, topped the box office with 85,306 admissions and over 480,000 EUR gross.
Enterprise Estonia, the country’s industry development agency, supported two creative industry initiatives with a total of 522,063 EUR to be spent over the next two years.
In 2017 major production of feature films for the centennial film programme Estonian Republic 100 took place. Most of the premiere dates are already scheduled.
The Little Comrade, directed by Moonika Siimets and produced by Amrion, was shot in August 2016-June 2017 and is set to be released on 15 March 2018.
The Riddle of Jaan Niemand, directed by Kaur Kokk and produced by Homeless Bob Production, was shot in March-June 2017 and will premiere on 5 October 2018.
Truth and Justice, directed by Tanel Toom and produced by Allfilm, started filming in April 2017 and will wrap in August 2019, with the domestic premiere scheduled for 2019.
Lotte and the Lost Dragons, the third instalment of Estonia’s most famous animated franchise and the only animated feature in the centennial film programme, directed by Janno Põldma and Heiki Ernits and produced by Eesti Joonisfilm, will wrap production in early 2018. The film will reach the screens in 2019.
Take It or Leave It, directed by Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo and produced by Allfilm, will finish production in January 2018. The release is planned for September 2018.
The last Estonian Republic 100 film to enter production is Eia's Christmas at Phantom Owl Farm, directed by Anu Aun and produced by Luxfilm and Kinosaurus Film. Principal photography is due to begin in January 2018 with the premiere set for December 2018.
Other films wrapped production in 2017.
Estonian minority coproduction Scary Mother, directed by Georgian Ana Urushadze and coproduced by Allfilm, has already collected nine awards at international film festivals since its premiere in August 2017.
The Finnish/Estonian/Swedish coproduction The Eternal Road, directed by AJ Annila and coproduced by Taska Film, received the first ever FilmEstonia cash rebate support and premiered in August 2017 in Finland and December 2017 in Estonia. The film was in the Official Selection of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.
The Confession aka The Monk by Academy Award nominated director Zaza Urushadze, an Estonian/Georgian coproduction produced by Allfilm, was finished and premiered in 2017.
The Estonian/Russian coproduction Green Cats, directed by Andres Puustusmaa and produced by Leo Production, was finished in 2017 with the premiere set for 12 January 2018.
The Swan, directed by Ása Helga Hjörleifsdótir, is a coproduction between Iceland, Germany and Estonia (Kopli Kinokompanii), set to hit Estonian cinemas in January 2018.
Class Reunion 2: Wedding and Funeral, the sequel to the 2016 film still holding the box office record in Estonia, directed by René Vilbre and produced by Taska Film, was also finished in 2017 with the premiere scheduled for 13 February 2018.
Portugal, directed by Lauri Lagle and produced by Allfilm, which won the First Look main award along with postproduction support in Locarno, will be domestically released on 5 April 2018.
The Estonian/French/Belgian coproduction Fire Lily, directed by Maria Avdjuško and produced by Meteoriit, will open in May 2018. The film, starring the Hollywood-based Estonian-born actor Johann Urb, was shot in November-December 2017.
Morten and the Spider Queen, a long animated film directed by Kaspar Jancis and coproduced by Estonia’s Nukufilm, Ireland’s Telegael, Belgium’s GRID VFX and UK’s Calon, finished production at the end of July 2017 and it set to open in 2018. Its English version will be voiced by Ciaran Hinds and Brendan Gleeson among others.
Mihkel, directed by Ari Alexander Magnusson and coproduced by Iceland’s True North and Estonia’s Amrion, was shot in Estonia for five days in May-June 2017, after an Icelandic shooting in the autumn of 2016. The film is set to premiere on 24 August 2018.
Rain, a debut feature directed by Janno Jürgens and produced by Alasti Kino, was shot over several periods from August 2017 to February 2018, and will premiere in late 2018.
The Last Ones, directed by Veiko Õunpuu and produced by Estonia’s Homeless Bob Production and Finland’s Bufo, was shot in August-November 2017 and will premiere in 2019.
The recipients of the FilmEstonia cash rebate grants in 2017 are: the animated series Bibi Blocksberg, directed by Aina Järvine and produced by A Film Eesti, the TV series Bordertown, directed by Miikko Oikkonen, Jyri Kähönen, Juuso Syrjä and produced by Amrion, and the long animated film Checked Ninja, directed by Anders Matthesen, Thorbjørn Christoffersen and produced by A Film Eesti.
A total of 355 films were distributed in Estonia in 2017. The average ticket price was 5.53 EUR, a 2.3 percentage point increase year on year from 2016. The largest number of titles, 179, originated from Europe. The US came second with 111 films.
A total of 21 Estonian Films premiered in cinemas through 2017 and two of them made it to the top ten. The Dissidents, directed by Jaak Kilmi and produced by Taska Film, ranked 2nd, while Swingers, directed by Andrejs Ekis and produced by Platforma Film, ranked 7th.
In March 2017, the first ever Estonian Film & Television Awards ceremony was held with The Days That Confused by Triin Ruumet, produced by Kinosaurus Film, bringing home the majority of the film awards, six in total, including Best Film and Best Director. Livia Ulman and Andris Feldmanis won Best Screenplay for Pretenders by Vallo Toomla, produced by Amrion, Jaagup Roomet won Best Production Design for The Polar Boy by Anu Aun, produced by Luxfilm, and Tiina Mälberg won Best Film Actress for Mother by Kadri Kõusaar, produced by Meteoriit.
Total admissions reached an all-time high of 3,510,932, a six percent increase from 2016. Another record is 2.67 admissions per capita. Total box office reached a record of 19,399,483 EUR, 9.1 percent more than in 2016.
Domestic films had 282,421 admissions, adding up to an 8% market share. The most successful Estonian film was The Dissidents, which made box office No 1 with 85,306 admissions and over 480,000 EUR gross.
The distribution market was dominated by ACME Films with 36% and Estonian Theatrical Distribution with 30% of market share. Forum Cinemas in the third place had 22% of the market share.
In 2016, the annual state support for film industry was 9,877,146 EUR with 7,025,151 EUR from the Estonian Film Institute, 2,141,995 EUR from the Cultural Endowment, and 710,000 EUR from the Ministry of Culture.
In 2017, the Estonian Film Institute provided production and postproduction grants for the following feature films and minority coproductions: The Dissidents directed by Jaak Kilmi; The Man Who Looks Like Me, directed by Katrin Maimik and Andres Maimik and produced by Kuukulgur Film; The Last Ones directed by Veiko Õunpuu; Mihkel directed by Ari Alexander Magnusson; Man Wanted, directed by Irida Zhonga and produced by Nukufilm; The Man Who Surprised Everyone, a Russian/French/Estonian coproduction coproduced by Homeless Bob Production, directed by Natalya Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov; Rain directed by Janno Jürgens; Sandra Gets a Job, directed by Kaupo Kruusiauk and produced by Kopli Kinokompanii; Class Reunion 2: Wedding and Funeral directed by René Vilbre; Green Cats directed by Andres Puustusmaa, and Fire Lily directed by Maria Avdjuško.
In 2017, the budget of Estonia’s cash rebate system FilmEstonia, targeted at foreign feature and quality TV productions, reached 1 m EUR. Estonia’s cash rebate allows for reimbursement of up to 30% of locally incurred costs. The system imposes a 1 m EUR minimum budget threshold for feature films and 2 m EUR for animated films, as well as minimum requirements for local spend (200,000 EUR for feature films, 100,000 EUR for animated films).
Estonia’s cash rebate system supported three projects with the amount of 118,279 EUR in 2017.
In 2017, Enterprise Estonia, the country’s industry development agency, supported two audiovisual infrastructure initiatives with a total of 522,063.90 EUR, to be spent within three years.
Creative industries development centre Creative Gate received 300,000 EUR to create an international platform as a gateway for film and audiovisual industry in collaboration with creative and service sector partners. The central export marketing channel of Creative Gate is the annual Industry@Tallinn, a part of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.
Storytek Accelerator (which received 222,063.90 EUR) brings together deep audiovisual sector knowledge, technology and funding with a selection of hand-picked tech entrepreneurs and content creators. Storytek helps creatives, producers and early stage companies to develop business, fast track their content projects, products and services to the global markets and access finances during a challenging 10-week programme held twice a year in Tallinn, Estonia.
The new building of the Estonian Film Museum was opened in October 2017.
On 27-28 November 2017, the Estonian EU Presidency Conference Pictured Futures: Connecting Content, Tech & Policy in Audiovisual Europe was organised by the Ministry of Culture in collaboration with Estonian Film Institute, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival and the European Commission. The event was co-financed by the European Commission and Enterprise Estonia.
There are three main TV broadcasters in Estonia. The Estonian Public Broadcasting operates three channels: the flagship ETV, the culturally oriented ETV2 and the recently launched Russian-language ETV+, that is yet to capture a sizeable audience of Estonia’s Russian-speaking minority. The two leading commercial broadcasters are Kanal2 and Viasat-owned TV3, both of which also beam a host of niche channels.
The 10-part TV drama series The Bank / Pank, which won a production grant from the centennial film and TV programme, started production and is planned to air in the autumn season of 2018. Itamambuca is producing on a more than 1.5 m EUR budget - more than 10 times the regular Estonian TV series.
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Report by Leana Jalukse (2018)Sources: Estonian Film Institute, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Estonian Ministry of Culture
Latvia’s film programme for the country’s centenary, which was celebrated in 2018, has led to an unheard of box office success and has shown an unprecedented rise in local box office, marking the local share of up to almost 19% of the market compared to 5.7% previously.
Domestic productions took half of the top ten in 2018 and the GBO for local productions grew to 2.5 million EUR (from 764,000 EUR in 2017).
Intensive distribution of domestic films was due to the special programme “Latvian Films for Latvian Centenary”, consisting of 16 feature films, of which 11 had their premiere in 2018.
The most popular film was Homo Novus, a historical comedy directed by Anna Viduleja and produced by Film Angels Productions, with 91,109 admissions. The independent production and debut feature The Foundation of Criminal Exellence / Kriminālās ekselences fonds, directed by Oskars Rupenheits and produced by COMETE Films, OrderOrder and Jura Podnieka Studija, gained the biggest revenue – 460,000 EUR, with 81,899 admissions.
The support for domestic film production fell after the end of the Centennial programme.
Seventeen feature films, 10 animated films and 16 documentaries were in production in 2018.
The action drama Blizzard of Souls / Dvēseļu putenis directed by Dzintars Dreibergs and produced by KultFilma, one of the most expensive productions of all times, was shot in 2018 and will be released in November 2019.
Juris Kursietis’ drama Oleg / Oļegs produced by Tasse, was also shot in 2018 and is set for release in September 2019.
The last two films of the “Latvian Films for Latvian Centenary” programme will be released in 2019. The long animated film Jacob, Mimmi and the Talking Dogs / Jēkabs, Mimmi un runājošie suņi, directed by Edmunds Jansons and produced by Atom Art, will be released by Forumcinemas in February 2019, while Gatis Šmit’s historical drama 1906 produced by studio Tanka will be released by Acme in March 2019.
A total of 310 films were distributed in 2018, including 34 domestic films.
The leading distribution companies in the country are regional Baltic distributors: Forum Cinemas, Latvian Theatrical Distribution, Acme Film and Topfilm Baltic.
Local distribution is handled by Kinopunkts, which screens films in more than 100 places outside traditional cinemas. The project is sustained by the National Film Centre and the Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia.
Small cinema initiatives focusing on the distribution of independent and art house films, such as Kino Bize and Kino Spektrs, which emerged in 2014 and 2015, continued their activity.
The Internet platform Filmas, the biggest Latvian film database launched in 2015, provides a catalogue of 2,658 films going back to the 1920s. Approximately 120 films are free of charge but for the time being only on Latvian devices, due to distribution rights. The project is supported by the National Film Centre of Latvia in cooperation with the Riga Film Museum and the Culture Information Systems Centre.
Commercial platforms Shortcut, Helio and Viaplay offer film streamings, including domestic premieres.
Core of the World, directed by the Russian director Natalia Meshchaninova and coproduced by Lithuania’s Just A Moment, won the best feature film award at the 4th Riga International Film Festival (7-17 October 2018).
The national award announced during the Lielais Kristaps National Film Festival went to Bille directed by Ināra Kolmane and produced by Film Studio Deviņi, in coproduction with Czech Masterfilm and Lithuanian Studija 2.
The annual short film festival 2 Annas took place from 26 November to 2 December 2018.
Latvia had 25 cinemas in 2018 (including four multiplexes) with 62 screens (25 3D screens) and 60 digital screens throughout the country.
Domestic films had a significant rise in admissions, adding up to almost 18,85% market share, which is unprecedented, compared to 7,83% in 2017.
A total of 34 films had their premiere in 2018 and five of them made it to the admissions top 10.
The most successful films through October 2018 are Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (94,231 admissions), Homo Novus directed by Anna Viduleja and produced by Film Angels Productions (91,109), The Pagan King / Nameja gredzens directed by Aigars Grauba and produced by Platforma Filma (83,140), The Foundation of Criminal Excellence / Kriminālās ekselences fonds directed by Oskars Rupenheits (81,899), Grinch (80,544), Bohemian Rhapsody (72,751), Bille directed by Ināra Kolmane and produced by Film Studio Deviņi in coproduction with Czech Masterfilm and Lithuanian Studija 2 (62,992), Johny English Strikes Again (47,449), Paradise ’89 / Paradīze ’89 directed by Madara Dišlere, produced by Tasse Film and coproduced with Bastei Media (57,386), Fifty Shades Freed (57,340).
Admissions for domestic films reached 560,257 in 2018, compared to 194,083 in 2017.
The National Film Centre is the main film institution in Latvia. It serves as the primary source of funding for local films. The grants contest is held annually, although separate tenders regarding different stages of project development are announced throughout the year.
Total state support for the industry in 2018 was 6,192,637 EUR, including 5,455,699 EUR from the National Film Centre and 736,938 EUR from the Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia.
Approximately 3.7 m EUR was granted for the production of 43 films in 2018: 17 feature films, 10 animated films and 16 documentaries.
In 2018 a total of 576,825 EUR was distributed for servicing three projects, while 581,188 EUR was allotted as coproduction grants for 11 projects: six feature films, three documentaries, one long animated film and one short animated film.
In 2018 two Latvian minority coproductions received funding from Eurimages totalling 540,000 EUR – the Lithuanian feature film In the Dusk directed by Sharunas Bartas, and the Hungarian feature film Natural Light directed by Denes Nagy, both of them coproduced by Mistrus Media,
In 2018 the Riga Film Fund, which offers a cash rebate of up to 20% of all production costs, approved co-financing agreements for a total amount of 1,112,598 EUR, supporting five minority coproductions.
Among the projects that received co-financing agreements were two coproductions handled by Latvia’s Tasse Film, one by Forma Pro Films, one by Film Studio Deviņi and one by Rīgas Filmu Studija. The largest rebate was granted to Tasse Film’s Heirs of the Night, directed by Diederik Van Rooijen and coproduced by Lemming Film. The rebate will be up to 490,000 EUR, representing 20% of the costs in Latvia.
Latvia has a range of diverse filmmaking locations, including medieval architecture, Art Nouveau architecture and 19th century wooden architecture, therefore urban as well as natural locations in Latvia are able to double for many European places. Latvia is home to The Cinevilla Film Studio, that is located 50 km from the national capital of Riga and provides opportunities for shooting, as well as its own hotel.
The Latvian Film Producers Association with its approximately 30 members represents the most important film production companies in Latvia. The Latvian Filmmakers Union, which was established in 1962, also represents local filmmakers. An important role in the region is played by the Films Service Producers Association, whose members include, among others, the Latvian Film Angels Studio, the Baltic Pines film studio and Ego Media. These studios have vast experience in handling foreign productions shooting in Latvia.
The leading broadcaster in Latvia is the commercial channel TV3 and along with the LNT channel it was purchased in 2017 by the investment company Providence Equity Partners from its previous owner Modern Times Group.
The public broadcaster LTV is funded by the state and through advertising revenues. The Latvian Television organises an annual film project The Code of Latvia / Latvijas kods focusing on stories about contemporary life in Latvia. The project is implemented in cooperation and with the support of the National Film Centre of Latvia and the Culture Capital Foundation. New episodes are presented every year in November as a part of Latvian Independence Day celebrations.
In 2018 public TV Latvian Television launched the TV series for teenagers 16+, broadcast only on YouTube, and the TV series Two in One, produced by Ugunsgreks, which previously produced a similar TV show for commercial TV3 (https://skaties.lv/tv3/).
Report by Zane Peneze (2019) Sources: Film Riga, the National Film Centre of Latvia, the Latvian Television
Ahead of Latvia's Centennial, which will be celebrated throughout 2018, the support for local film production steadily increased to 9,109,016 EUR in 2017, with more than 2 m EUR increase compared to 2016. Film production has taken a more robust path due to the Latvian Films for Latvian Centenary special programme, consisting of 16 feature films.
Total state support for the industry in 2017 was 9,109,016 EUR, including approximately 6 m EUR as production support for 42 films.
For the second consecutive year, two domestic films are among top 10 most watched movies in Latvia. There were 16 domestic premieres in 2017, of which the most successful was Varis Brasla's family film and comedy Grandfather Is More Dangerous than the Computer with 76,068 admissions and 281,029 EUR gross. Andrejs Ekis’ comedy Swingers, which was released at the end of 2016, ranked number seven.
Domestic films continued to steadily grow, as an unprecedented state support was given to the production of films in the Centennial programme.
A total of 15 feature films were in production in 2017, as well as nine animated films and 18 documentaries.
One of the most expensive productions, the historic drama The Pagan King, directed by Aigars Grauba and produced by Platforma Filma, wrapped at the end of 2017. Another major action drama, Blizzard of Souls / Dvēseļu putenis, directed by Dzintars Dreibergs and produced by KultFilma, was also shot in 2017.
Madara Dišlere's feature film Paradise '89 (produced by Tasse Film) is set at the time when Latvia regained its independence.
Mistrus Media produced three films in 2017: Ivars Seleckis' documentary To Be Continued (about several 7 year old children and their life), Gints Grūbe's documentary Lustrum (about KGB archives) and Dāvis Sīmanis' feature film The Mover (produced by Mistrus Media) about Žanis Lipke, who sheltered Jews during the Nazi occupation.
A total of 295 films were distributed in 2017.
Local distribution is also handled by Kinopunkts, that screens films in more than 100 locations outside traditional cinemas. The project is supported by the National Film Centre and the Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia.
Small cinema initiatives focusing on the distribution of independent and art house films, such as Kino Bize and Kino Spektrs, which emerged in 2014 and 2015, continued their activity in 2017.
The internet platform Filmas, the biggest Latvian film database launched in 2015, provides a catalogue of more than 2,500 films, going back to the 1920s. Approximately 120 films are free of charge, but for the time being only on Latvian devices, due to distribution rights. The project is supported by the National Film Centre of Latvia in cooperation with the Riga Film Museum and the Culture Information Systems Centre.
Two commercial platforms, Shortcut and Viaplay, offer film streamings, including domestic premieres.
The 4th Riga International Film Festival took place from 7 to 17 September 2017. Estonian director Rainer Sarnet’s November, an Estonian/Polish/Dutch coproduction between Estonia’s Homeless Bob Productions, Poland’s Opus Film and the Dutch company PRPL, was awarded Best Feature Film. The national award at the Lielais Kristaps National Film Festival went to Chronicles of Melanie, directed by Viestur Kairish and produced by Mistrus Media. The annual short film festival 2 Annas took place from 28 November to 3 December 2017.
Latvia had 23 cinemas in 2017 (including 4 multiplexes) with 61 screens, of which 25 are 3D screens.
The average ticket price is 5.19 EUR.
In 2017 admissions were 2,476,951 and box office was 12,860,497 EUR.
Domestic films had 194 083 admissions, adding up to a 7.83% market share, which is a slight growth from 7,38% in 2016.
There were 16 domestic premieres in 2017. Among them are Varis Brasla's family film and comedy Grandfather Is More Dangerous than the Computer, produced by Studio F.O.R.M.A., which was the first film from the Latvian Films for Latvian Centenary programmme to be finished. Grandfather Is More Dangerous than the Computer was the most popular domestic movie in 2017 with more than 75,000 admissions and also the most successful domestic family film in the opening week with over 13,000 admissions. The film is domestically distributed by its production company, while Rija Films is handling the sales.
Ieva Ozolina's documentary Solving My Mother (produced by FA Filma), which won the 2017 IDFA First Appearance Special Jury Award, hit the domestic cinemas only at the beginning of 2018, but Janis Nords' relationship drama Foam at the Mouth (produced by Tasse Film) and the Latvian/Norwegian documentary Liberation Day (produced by VFS Films), about the famous band Laibach’s visit to North Korea, were released in 2017.
A total of 267 international films were released in 2017, compared to 276 in 2016.
The most successful films in 2017 were: Despicable Me 3 (128,336 admissions), Grandpa Who Is More Dangerous Than the Computer (76,068 admissions), Boss Baby (76,017 admissions), The Fate of the Furious (72,813 admissions), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (69,774 admissions), Fifty Shades Darker (63,631 admissions), Swingers (58,560 admissions), Emoji Movie (52,576 admissions), Smurfs: The Lost Village (51,038), Cars 3 (46,494 admissions).
Additionally, 748,000 EUR were given to seven international coproductions, of which five are coproduced by Tasse Film. All the seven titles are Latvian minority coproductions.
Five Latvian productions received funding from Eurimages, totalling 557,000 EUR.
In 2017 the Riga Film Fund, which offers a cash rebate of up to 20% of all production costs, approved four co-financing agreements for a total amount of 686,509 EUR for six minority coproductions.
Among the projects that received co-financing agreements in 2017 were three coproductions handled by Tasse Film and two by Forma Pro Films. The largest rebate was granted to Film Angels Production for Age of Iron, directed by Philippe Berenger, that is a coproduction with France's Slot Machine. The rebate is 135,718 EUR, representing 20% of the costs of shooting in Latvia.
Latvia has a range of diverse filmmaking locations, including medieval, Art Nouveau and 19th century wooden architecture, therefore urban as well as natural locations in Latvia are able to double for many European places. Latvia is home to the Cinevilla Film Studio, located 50 km from the national capital Riga and providing opportunities for shooting, as well as its own hotel.
The Latvian Film Producers Association with its approximately 30 members represents the most important film professionals association in Latvia. The Latvian Filmmakers Union, which was established in 1962, also represents local filmmakers. An important role in the region is played by the Films Service Producers Association, whose members include, among others, the Latvian Film Angels Studio, Baltic Pines film studio and Ego Media. These entities have a vast experience in handling foreign productions shooting in Latvia.
The leading broadcaster in Latvia is the commercial channel TV3. Along with the LNT channel, it was purchased in 2017 by the investment company Providence Equity Partners from its previous owner Modern Times Group.
The public broadcaster LTV is funded by the state and also through advertising revenues. The Latvian Television organises an annual film project The Code of Latvia / Latvijas kods, focusing on stories about contemporary life in Latvia. The project is implemented in cooperation and with the support of the National Film Centre of Latvia and the Culture Capital Foundation. New episodes are presented every year in November as a part of Latvian Independence Day celebrations.
LTV, which is also a TV film producer, produced mostly documentaries in 2017. Red Book, a new historic drama TV series, was in production in 2017 and is set to be aired in 2018 as part of Latvia's Centennial celebration. The series is coproduced with Red Dot Media.
Report by Zane Peneze (2018) Sources: Film Riga, the National Film Centre of Latvia, the Latvian Television
MARKET ANALYSIS 2016
Malta saw a somewhat quieter year in 2016, albeit still managing to attract a few names and productions of note, and making significant steps towards the establishment of film as a medium of indigenous creative expression, artistic appreciation and academic inquiry.
Local film production saw two feature films made and benefiting from financial incentives from the Malta Film Commission: Peter Sant’s Maneland, an allegorical film about a king who lives with his three daughters in an island bunker, and Mark Doneo’s The Weeping House of Qala produced by his own Mad Movies Productions, a ghost story based on an urban legend about a dilapidated house.
U-Film resumed work on their miniseries entitled The Mystery of the Brittanic, completing episodes 2, 3 and 4, with Evgeny Tomashov and Sergey Veksler taking turns in the director’s chair. The same company also serviced Bulgarian director Javor Gardev’s Ikariya, a Russian sci-fi thriller based on the myth of Daedalus and Icarus.
Lana Wachowski brought Daryl Hannah and the rest of the Sense8 cast to shoot a special episode of the Netflix series, which was serviced by Pearly Gates. Another key figure, Gabriele Salvatores, filmed parts of Indigo Film and Rai Cinema’s Invisible Boy 2 / Il Ragazzo Invisible: Fratelli, with Valeria Golino. Latina Pictures took care of the shoot in Malta.
The largest foreign production was a retelling of the 1976 hijacking and subsequent rescue in the eponymous Entebbe, with José Padilha (Bus 174, RoboCop) calling the shots, and featuring Rosamund Pike and Daniel Brühl. Pellikola serviced the production for Working Title Films. Another remake, Papillon, brought Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek to Malta for a five-day shoot in the tanks at Malta Film Studios and at a cliff-side location. Red Granite pictures appointed the Producer’s Creative Partnership, which handled the production with Twenty13.
Schiwago Film and Amour Fou steered Wolfgang Fischer’s Styx towards Malta, filming in open water around the islands, and using the storm generation facilities at Malta Film Studios. Starring Susanne Wolff and Gedion Wekesa Oduor, the film narrates the transformation of a strong woman on a solo sailing trip. Small Island Films took charge of operations in Malta, again in collaboration with Twenty13.
A mini-series based on the 1996 Yohan migrant tragedy, The Ghosts of Portopalo / I Fantasmi di Portopalo, again used the aquatic facilities at MFS. With Beppe Fiorello in the lead, the Picomedia production teamed up with the Producer’s Creative Partnership.
Television series constituted a significant percentage of productions that used Malta as a base for any length of time. Paul Parker handled the Smithsonian Channel and ZDF-backed Warrior Women: The Gladiatrix Episode for Urban Canyons. Katrina Samut-Tagliaferro in turn took care of the Christmas Special for the long-running BBC series Birds of a Feather, featuring Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson. The Bravest / Danmarks Modigste, a large-scale endurance game show produced by Copenhagen-based Mastiff A/S, used the deep-water tank at the MFS as a set in itself, along with several other locations around Malta. Specialist Rock Productions helped make it happen.
Stargate Studios Malta, the key VFX provider in Malta, kept the ball rolling with three substantial jobs. The Embassy / La Embajada extended Stargate’s long-running relationship with Spanish studios, recreating Thailand on a Spanish set for Bambú Producciones. Canada-based Leif Films returned to the company with a work order for two biblical films: Joseph and Mary with Kevin Sorbo and Lara Jean Chorostecki in the lead roles, and The Apostle Peter: Redemption with familiar faces of John Rhys-Davies as Peter and Stephen Baldwin as Nero.
Rebecca Cremona’s Simshar kept on travelling with screenings in the UK in conjunction with We Are beyond Cinema, and in France with Visiosfeir Distribution. Festivals took the film to Chicago, New York, Leuven, France, Naples, Nice, Stockholm, Prague, Annaba, Zagora, Ashdod, New Delhi, Dubai, Singapore, and Trinidad and Tobago. And in time for the holiday season, the film made it to DVD.
Simshar’s online presence in the US and Canada spread to several networks including iTunes, Xbox, Amazon, Google Play, Time Warner Cable, AMC and the Sundance Channel, some of which made the film available to subscribers in Europe. The film was also picked up by regional networks like the Croatian B.net, Du in Dubai, OTE TV in Greece, MTN in South Africa, CableNet in Cyprus, SBB in Serbia, Solo in Nigeria and Telekom Slovenije.
GRANTS AND LEGISLATION
The Ministry of Tourism, under whose remit falls the Malta Film Commission, launched the first National Film Policy in January 2016, amid criticism that whilst a step in the right direction and inviting discussion on the preservation of film heritage, it did not go far beyond generic statements.
Released after a consultative process launched in the last quarter of 2015, the document assessed the current situation in the servicing industry, the local production situation, and the education possibilities available, making fairly generic forward-looking statements in each case. In particular, the report identified anomalous employment conditions in the servicing industry, particularly with the long hours crews were expected to work, but took a cautious approach in advocating changes.
The Malta Film Fund opened its yearly call in April and distributed 230,914 EUR in funds, split as follows:
On the occasion of Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2017 and Valletta’s tenure as European Capital of Culture in 2018, the Film Fund launched a surprise call in August 2016, making a further 250,000 EUR available albeit for production only. Results are expected to be released in February 2017. In conjunction with Arts Council Malta, Malta Film Commission also announced in December the intention to introduce Distribution Support in 2017.
University of Malta's Master of Arts in Film Studies programme, funded by the Ministry of Tourism and the Malta Film Commission, saw first films made under the tutorship of Antonio Piazza and Fabio Grassadonia (writer-directors of Salvo, 2013 Grand Prix winner at the Semaine de la Critique), Scott Graham (writer-director of 2012 BAFTA-nominated Shell) and cinematographers Francesco Di Giacomo and Federico Angelucci. Robin Hardy gave a masterclass and presented the restored version of his acclaimed 1973 film The Wicker Man, his last public appearance before passing away in July 2016.
The sophomore edition of the Valletta Film Festival, with the support of the Malta Film Commission, had Sir Alan Parker as its patron, presenting a screening of Midnight Express (1978) in the same location it was filmed in. Jurors Carolina Hellsgard, Cosmina Stratan, Tamer El Said, Valery Rosier and Brontis Jodorowsky selected Måns Månsson’s The Yard as best film, and Laila Pakalnina, Yves Jeanneau and Hrönn Marinósdóttir laurelled Pablo Iraburu and Migueltxo Molina’s Walls as best documentary. Sidebar events included an international conference on the Cinema of Small European Nations.
Arts Council Malta, through its Culture Partnership Agreement, awarded funds for a three-year period to the Film Grain Foundation as organisers of the Valletta Film Festival, to Kinemastik (Kinemastik Short Film Festival) and to the Malta Film Foundation (Malta Short Film Festival).
Malta has nine television channels, two of which are state-owned (TVM, TVM2), two are run by the main political parties (ONE, Net), and the rest are private. Three of the private channels have a General Interest Objectives licence (Smash TV, f Living, Xejk), and the remaining two (iTV, Owners’ Best) are teleshopping channels. The national regulators are the Malta Broadcasting Authority for content and the Malta Communications Authority for matters related to transmission and the service providers.
Transmission is digital and, depending on the provider, via cable, terrestrial wireless, or IPTV. All GIO stations (public and private) are broadcast on a free-to-air platform managed by Public Broadcasting Services Ltd, the national organisation which runs all state-owned broadcast media.
PBS has a public service obligation, for which it was given a budget of 3,900,000 EUR in 2016, and through which it issues a yearly call for programmes of a diverse nature.
The National Book Council held its second annual short film contest with PBS, making available 7,000 EUR in production funds and 1,000 EUR in rights, to adapt a Maltese literary work for the screen. The project for 2016 was Il-Kompliċi, directed by Ryan Gatt from a short-story by Walid Nabhan.
Foreign television channels are readily available via cable, satellite and digital terrestrial transmission. And yet, Broadcasting Authority surveys, held thrice yearly, show that TVM, ONE and Net have retained their position at the top of viewership tables. Channels from Italian state broadcaster RAI, as well as Mediaset stations, fill in the subsequent slots, maintaining a long historical tradition of Maltese viewership. Overall, Maltese channels attracted an average of 66.87% of audience share (an increase of 3.05 points over 2015). Missing from the surveys, for reasons of understandable difficulty in quantification, is the number of viewers that in 2016 had taken to watching foreign programming, US series in particular, on un-licensed streaming services on their computers or through Android TV boxes. Netflix reached Maltese shores in January 2016, but statistics for the first year have not been made publicly available.
Source: Malta Broadcasting Authority
From the locally-made programming crop, drama remains the most popular format, consistently hitting the topmost slots. Strada Stretta from Sharp Shoot Media, a period series set in a particular Valletta street known for its hedonistic entertainment in Malta’s days as a British Colony, vied for first rank with Ċaqqufa, a series on female empowerment from Watermelon Media.
Report: Kenneth Scicluna (2017)Sources: Malta Film Commission, The Times of Malta, The Malta Independent, Malta Today, IMDb, Official Facebook Pages for Simshar, Limestone Cowboy, Filmed in Malta, Stargate Malta, Valletta Film Festival, University of Malta, Arts Council Malta, National Book Council, Malta Broadcasting Authority, Malta Communications Authority, Ministry for Finance.
Malta Country Profile
By Kenneth Scicluna
VALLETTA: Malta celebrated 90 years of filmmaking in 2015 with several milestones.
Michael Bay’s 13 Hours crowned, in terms of the 50m USD it left behind, a bumper crop of foreign productions that sought to film in Malta, 16 of which benefitted from the Malta Film Commission’s attractive incentive scheme. Other notable names that worked on the island in 2015 include Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac in Terry George’s The Promise, Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz in James Marsh’s The Mercy, and Michael Fassbender in Justin Kurzel’s Assassin’s Creed.
The Ministry for Tourism, responsible for the film commission, launched a draft National Film Policy along with a consultation process that eventually led to a document that was received with mixed feelings. On the plus side, the MFC also signed agreements with the Malta College for Arts, Science and Technology, as well as the University of Malta, with the aim of creating a strong skill base. In the latter case this led to the launch of a hybrid Master of Arts programme in Film Studies with a practical component. Another initiative by the MFC brought together a crew composed of trainees to create a feature film, 20,000 Reasons, under the tutorship of Film London’s Microwave International programme, which was released locally in 2016.
Rebecca Cremona’s Simshar produced by Kukumajsa Productions Ltd won awards at festivals and gained distribution online in Tunisia and in Australia, and the second feature expected to attract foreign attention, Abigail Mallia’s Limestone Cowboy produced by Take2 Entertainment, entered a long phase of postproduction work. The difficulties of indigenous filmmaking in smaller countries were brought to European attention with a special session at the European Parliament, focussing on Malta and Croatia.
Cinema audiences increased by 8% over the previous year, overwhelmingly opting for US films, with European films getting a lukewarm reception and local productions little more than a sidelong glance overall, even though Simshar was popular with audiences. On the other hand, the Valletta Film Festival got off to a great start with Roland Joffé heading an international jury.
Two feature films of note were made in 2015, both with significant involvement from the Malta Film Commission and the Malta Film Fund that it administers.
Abigail Mallia, a name known locally for above-par television drama, steered her Limestone Cowboy, part-financed with 90,000 EUR from the MFF, into postproduction. Based on a local political dark horse, the film attracted substantial attention throughout its gestation period due to the popularity of the actors featured and the involvement of substantial amounts of extras. Hopes for a 2015 release, teased by the periodic release of production stills, did not materialise however, with the film having its first screening during the 2016 Valletta Film Festival.
Jameson Cucciardi’s 20,000 Reasons, from a script by Malcolm Galea, was the fruit of a long training scheme masterminded by the film commission in conjunction with Film London’s Microwave International programme, and a budget of 200,000 EUR sourced from a European Social Fund scheme. Seeking to bolster skills across the board, the crew benefitted from mentorship throughout the various stages of the process with the film eventually reaching local screens in 2016.
U-Film started work on Dark Waters, a documentary series on wrecks in the Mediterranean, the kind of production uniquely posed to create having a sister company called U-Boat, which specialises in underwater research with the aid of two Triton submersibles.
Returned émigré Mario Philip Azzopardi, known for directing episodes of Star Gate, Dinotopia and Degrassi, produced two television films for Canadian eOne in coproduction with his own Ċittadella Films. Titled A Dangerous Arrangement (starring Tamara Duarte and Colm Meaney) and The Red Dress (with John Rhys-Davies and Once Upon a Time’s Sean Maguire), both films were written by Azzopardi, with the former also having him as director. A large part of the cast on both films was Maltese, with Stargate Malta handling visual effects.
Stargate, a rising VFX star this side of the Mediterranean, with strong support from its parent company in Canada, has helped create another pillar of interest for foreign production companies looking at bringing film work to Malta. Beyond the usual attractions of sunlight on the same latitude as Los Angeles, good weather, a variety of locations, marine facilities, and an affordably talented, multilingual cast and crew, the offer of high-grade value-for-money visual effects has been creating its own particular kind of business, which is no longer dependent on physical locations. In fact, most of the material that Stargate handled in 2015 was shot on location away from Malta.
On the other hand, their participation in various projects opened a conduit for elements and scenes, sometimes on a fairly large scale, to be filmed in Malta. Some of the company’s larger projects included Pietro Mennea – La Freccia del Sud (Casanova Multimedia, Milk & Honey, Rai Fiction), I Misteri di Laura (Casanova Multimedia, Mediaset), El Principe (Plano a Plano, Mediaset España), Medici: Masters of Florence (Wild Bunch, Big Light, Lux Vide – with Dustin Hoffman), and You, Me and the Apocalypse (Working Title TV, Big Balls Films, Sky, NBC – with Jenna Fischer and Rob Lowe).
Italy has long found Malta a convenient location for its television series and acclaimed leading man Raoul Bova headed back to produce and star in Fuoco Amico: TF45 (RB Productions), which was serviced by veteran company White Coral Films.
The traditional servicing industry enjoyed an equally prosperous year with several high-profile and lucrative productions spending long periods, and large amounts of cash, on the island.
Latina Pictures serviced Michael Bay’s 13 Hours, which saw the construction of a sprawling set making Malta stand for Benghazi, a hectic six-month schedule and the injection of 50m USD into the local economy. Latina also handled Justin Kurzel’s Assassin’s Creed, with Michael Fassbender, which filmed in Valletta on a closely guarded set.
Falkun Films handled Terry George’s film on the Armenian genocide, The Promise, with Charlotte Le Bon, Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac in lead roles, with Valletta this time standing in for Istanbul. The same company also facilitated the production of Stephen Quale’s The Lake with JK Simmons and Diarmaid Murtagh, which made extensive use of the aquatic facilities at the Malta Film Studios.
Russian director Yuriy Moroz brought leading man Maksim Matveyev to Malta to resume his eponymous role in the high-octane series The Gambler. U-Film provided the services, in keeping with the special relationship the company enjoys with the Russian film and television market.
Belgian company Studio 100 returned to Malta to shoot a film, with the assistance of Parker Film & TV, and featuring two characters highly popular with audiences in Flemish Belgium and the Netherlands: Mega Mindy vs Rox.
Small Island Films took care of Philippe de Chauveron’s Débarquement Immédiat!, whilst Twenty13 handled The Mercy, the Donald Donald Crowhurst project directed by James Marsh and featuring Rachel Weisz and Colin Firth.
Rebecca Cremona’s Simshar went from strength to strength in 2015, a feat remarkable not least because it was the first indigenous film to travel as far, as rapidly, and with as much acclaim as it did.
After finishing 2014 as the most popular Maltese film in local cinemas, and one of the two most popular films overall, Simshar made it again to local screens with a presence spanning the whole year from January to December. The film made it into the official selection of various festivals in Europe, America, Asia and Africa, winning Silver at the California Film Awards, the Silver Dhow at Zanzibar, the Golden Aphrodite at the Cyprus International Film Festival, Best International Feature at Edmonton in Canada, and the Best Director award at Agadir in Morocco.
The true breakthrough came in September 2015 with the general release in Australian cinemas through The Backlot Films, and in Tunisia via Hakka Distribution. Extended several times, the runs lasted until November 2015 down-under and till December 2015 in Tunisia. Gravitas Ventures acquired the rights for the US and Canada and released it in November 2015 on the major VOD channels, including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Time Warner Cable and Comcast.
In March 2015, the Ministry of Tourism, under whose remit the Malta Film Commission falls, announced the appointment of a consultative council to draft the first national film policy, although the names of those involved were not made public. In September 2015 the draft document was released and a public consultation process launched until October 2015.
The document assessed the current situation in the film services industry, the local production situation, and the education possibilities available, making fairly generic forward-looking statements in each case. In particular, the report identified anomalous employment conditions in the services industry, particularly with the long hours crew were expected to work, but took a cautious approach in advocating changes.
The final report was released in January 2016, attracting criticism that, whilst it was a step in the right direction and it cast a glance at the need for a discussion on the preservation of film heritage, it did not go far beyond the generic statements of the draft document.
The Malta Film Fund distributed 243,000 EUR in funds, split as follows:
In a drive to bolster film education in Malta, hitherto served by first degrees in media and communication studies at the vocational Malta College of Arts, Sciences and Technology, and at the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences at the University of Malta, the Malta Film Commission signed agreements with both institutions. With MCAST, the commission signed a memorandum of understanding, through which Creative Arts students would be given the opportunity to create several featurettes under the mentorship of the film commission in the various elements required to create the clips.
At the University of Malta, the Ministry of Tourism and the film commission funded the Faculty of Arts to assist it in the setting up of a particular MA in Film Studies programme that aims to provide a solid theoretical and practical base in film. Tutors in the first year included Antonio Piazza and Fabio Grassadonia (writer and directors of Salvo, 2013 Grand Prix winner at the Semaine de la Critique), Scott Graham (writer and director of 2012 Bafta-nominated Shell) and Gigi Roccati (Babylon Sisters, 2016).
The Valletta Film Festival, launched by the Film Grain Foundation, had its first edition in June 2015 and got off to an auspicious start. More than 5,000 tickets were sold for 77 screenings, with master classes also proving popular.
Also in June 2015, Maltese MEP Marlene Mizzi convened a seminar at the European Parliament in Brussels, to discuss the particular problems faced by the smallest filmmaking countries in Europe. Using Simshar and Dalibor Matanić’s High Sun / Zvizdan (Croatia, Kinorama, kinorama.hr) as test cases, the seminar had Rebecca Cremona, Martina Petrović (Head of the Croatian Creative Europe Desk, Pauline Durand-Vialle (FERA CEO), Engelbert Grech (Malta Film Commissioner), Matteo Zacchetti (Deputy Head, DG Information Society and Media) and European Commissioner Günther Oettinger, as speakers.
The same topic was discussed through aesthetic, practical and academic lenses in September when the itinerant Small Nations Cinema Conference opened its 2015 sessions in Valletta. Various filmmakers, scholars and practitioners from ancillary arts met to discuss and deliver papers on the particular voices emerging from the smallest filmmaking nations around the world.
Recognising the efforts made during the previous nine decades, Intellect added an edition on Malta to the seminal World Film Locations series, making it the only book to-date to study the productions made in Malta, of local and foreign origin, in relation to the context in which they were filmed.
Ticket sales for Maltese films decreased to 2.9% of total sales in 2015 from 4.2% in 2014. US films still lead the pack with 79% of seats sold (up from 73% in 2014), with EU films registering a meagre but steady 16%.
A total of 375 different titles were shown, up from 368 in 2014. Attendance overall registered an 8% increase, with ticket sales hitting 704,243 and raking in 4.19m EUR in gross receipts, of which Maltese productions pocketed just 0.1 m EUR. Whereas in 2014 Maltese films attracted the largest audience per film (average of 5,500) and had the greatest exposure (average of 280 screening days), the figures almost halved in 2015 (audience 2,500, screening days 70), losing out to films from the US on audience and hitting a draw on the latter figure.
A winner, in rather relative terms, was the documentary format, climbing up from 121 seats sold for two films, to 5,814 admissions for 15 films. On the other hand, stereoscopic films slid downwards to 9.4% of tickets sold from 12.8%.
Malta has nine television channels, two of which are state-owned (TVM, TVM2), two are run by the main political parties (ONE and Net), and the rest are private. Three of the private channels have a General Interest Objectives licence (Smash TV, f Living, Xejk), and the remaining two (iTV, Owners’ Best) are teleshopping channels. The national regulators are the Malta Broadcasting Authority for content and the Malta Communications Authority for matters related to transmission and the service providers.
PBS has a public service obligation for which it was given a budget of 3.9m EUR in 2015, and through which it issues a yearly call for programmes of a diverse nature.
The National Book Council launched an annual short film contest with PBS, making available 7,000 EUR in production funds and 1,000 EUR in rights, to adapt a Maltese literary work for the screen. The first project under the scheme was Dar ir-Rummien, directed by Federico Chini from a short story by Pierre J. Mejlak.
Arts Council Malta announced a scheme of its own with a budget of 280,000 EUR. Kultura TV co-finances culturally-relevant works which may be factual or fiction in nature, one-off films or serialised, as long as they are created in coproduction between one of the private television channels and a local production company. Six proposals out of 18 earned sufficient marks and were allocated a total of 184,456 EUR. Creators of televised series also have the option of applying for financing from the Malta Film Fund, although the latter intimates that they are more interested in pushing for material with international marketing potential.
Foreign television channels are readily available via cable, satellite and digital terrestrial transmission. And yet, Broadcasting Authority surveys, held thrice yearly, show that TVM, ONE and Net have retained their position at the top of viewership tables.
Channels from Italian state broadcaster RAI, as well as Mediaset stations, fill in the subsequent slots, maintaining a long historical tradition of Maltese viewership. Overall, Maltese channels attracted an average of 63.82% of audience share. Missing from the surveys, for reasons of understandable difficulty in quantification, is the number of viewers that in 2015 had taken to watching foreign programming, US series in particular, on un-licensed streaming services on their computers or through Android TV boxes. The only indications of a conjecturally substantial size of clandestine viewership came from debates on social media on series that were otherwise not available in Malta, and from the number of adverts for Android receivers. Netflix was still unavailable in 2015, being released to Maltese viewers in January 2016.
From the locally-made programming crop, drama remains the most popular format, consistently hitting the topmost slots. Ċaqqufa, a drama on female empowerment from Watermelon Media vied for first rank with Rewind Productions’ tale on two orphans, Katrina. A drama on a particular Valletta street, known for its hedonistic entertainment in Malta’s days as a British Colony, Strada Stretta from Sharp Shoot Media entered the charts at the fifth slot in October, to quickly climb to the top by February 2016.
Sources: Malta Film Commission, National Statistics Office, The Times of Malta, The Malta Independent, Malta Today, IMDb, Official Facebook Pages for Simshar, Limestone Cowboy, Filmed in Malta, Stargate Malta, Intellect Ltd, Valletta Film Festival, MCAST, University of Malta, Malta Broadcasting AuthorityReport by Kenneth Scicluna
MARKET ANALYSIS 2018
Polish cinema had a strong year in 2018, with record-breaking box office results, international success of feature films, worldwide distribution for domestic titles, as well as the introduction of long-awaited 30% financial incentives for international filmmakers.
In 2018 Poland produced over 45 feature films, most of them supported by the Polish Film Institute. Polish cinema landscape took a significant turn towards period cinema, with major costume war dramas in production.
Michał Rosa launched the production of his Józef Piłsudski biopic, following the early years of the Polish statesman’ activity from 1900 to 1914. The shoot launched in August 2018 with the postproduction planned for the first half of 2019. The film is produced by KADR Film Studio.
Władysław Pasikowski shot The Courier, a war biopic about Jan Nowak-Jeziorański, one of the most notable resistance fighters of the Home Army. The film was shot in Warsaw and Lódź in the summer of 2018, produced by the Warsaw Rising Museum. The Courier will open in Polish cinemas on 8 March 2019, distributed by Kino Świat.
Maciej Pieprzyca finished work on Icarus. The biopic on the famous Polish pianist Mietek Kosz (1944-1973) was shot in October-December 2018, produced by RE Studio.. The premiere is planned for 27 September 2019 with Next Film distributing.
Lech Majewski started worki on his new drama Brigitte Bardot the Wonderful, based on his novel under the same title. The shoot to this elaborate costume drama launched in Silesia on 6 November 2018 and will continue throughout 2019. The film is produced by Domino Film in coproduction with Majewski's "Angelus Silesius" Association.
Polish company Watchout Studio launched production on The Coldest Game, a spy thriller in English directed by Łukasz Kośmicki and aimed at international markets. The Coldest Game is set in 1962 at the height of the Cuban missile crisis. The shoot took place in Warsaw in February-April 2018 and the film is produced by Watchout Studio, which also produced box office hits Gods by Łukasz Palkowski and Art of Love by Maria Sadowska, in coproduction with TVN and NEXT FILM.
Dariusz Gajewski’s costume drama Legions will showcase a love triangle on the backdrop of the heroic deeds of the Polish Legions (1914-1916). Shooting took place in the autumn of 2017 and winter of 2018. The film is produced by Picaresque in coproduction with FINA. Kino Świat will release the film on 27 September 2019.
In the last decade Poland has been continuously involved in a steady number of international coproductions, the growing support from the Polish Film Institute introducing specially designed grants for producers working on international projects.
One of the biggest titles produced as part of this scheme in 2018 was Agnieszka Holland’s Mr. Jones, a drama about the Welsh journalist Gareth Jones, who first publicised in the Western world the existence of the Soviet famine of 1932–1933. The Polish/British/Ukrainian coproduction was shot on location in Poland, the Ukraine and Scotland in February-June 2018. The film is produced by Film Produkcja (Poland), Mandants (Poland), Crab Apple Films (UK), Orka Studio and Film UA (Ukraine) with the support of PFI, the Krakow Festival Office and the Ukrainian State Film Agency. Gareth Jones will premiere in the Competition of the 69th Berlinale IFF and will be released in Polish cinemas in 2019, with WestEnd Films managing the international sales.
My Name Is Sara, a Polish/American coproduction directed by Steven Oritt, wrapped shooting in 2018. This drama following a teenage Jewish orphan who escapes the Nazis and finds refuge in a small village, is a Polish/American coproduction between Watchout Studio and Sara's Story. This is the first production fully financed in the USA but produced on every stage in Poland.
Jacek Borcuch shot Dolce Fina Giornata aka Volterra, with the famous Polish actress Krystyna Janda, in Tuscany in March-April 2018. The film follows a fictional Nobel Prize winning Polish poet played by Krystyna Janda, who leads a quiet life in a small town in Tuscany. Polish company No Sugar Films is producing in coproduction with Tank Production, Motion Group and Aeroplan. The film will premiere at the Sundance IFF in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition and it will be released by NEXT FILM in Polish cinemas on 10 May 2019.
Jan Komasa shot his new drama Corpus Christi, a Script Pro winning project about a convict pretending to be a priest. The film is produced by Aurum Film in coproduction with Canal+ and WFS Walter Film Studio. The Polish distributor is Kino Świat.
In the summer of 2018 Daria Woszek wrapped shooting on her debut feature Marygoround, a black drama comedy about an agnostic collector of Virgin Mary statues, produced by Jutrzenka Studio.
The box office hit director Patryk Vega produced two new crime films – a sequel to Women of Mafia, following the gang of Polish women who get involved with a Columbian drug cartel, and Plagues of Breslau, about a female police officer who has to catch a brutal serial killer. Both films were shot in 2018 and produced via Vega’s own company Vega Investments. The director announced that he purchased production rights to the Pitbull franchise and plans to release the new part in November 2021.
In the summer of 2018 Ryszard Zatorski shot There Is No Sin in Bad Luck / Pech to nie grzech, an independent romantic comedy produced by Figaro Film. The film opened domestically on 25 December 2018 with 190,000 admissions in the first week.
A new production company NEM Corp was established in 2018 by Ewa Puszczyńska, the producer of Pawel Pawlowski’s Cold War (Opus Film) and the Oscar winning Ida (Opus Film), together with Klaudia Śmieja, the producer of Agnieszka Holland’s Gareth Jones, and Jan Naszewski of New Europe Film Sales.
The leading distributors of mainstream cinema on the Polish market are Kino Świat, SPI International Polska, NEXT FILM and Monolith Films. The art house market is dominated by Gutek Film and Against Gravity. In 2018 a new distribution company Velvet Spoon was launched on the Polish market with plans to release quality genre cinema.
The biggest Polish distribution success in 2018 was Cold War by Paweł Pawlikowski, awarded top prizes including best director at Cannes Film Festival and five awards at the European Film Awards, including the European Film award. The film was also nominated for the 2019 Academy Awards in the Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography categories, and it also holds four nominations for the 2019 BAFTA Awards.
Cold War is a Polish/British/French coproduction from Opus Film, Apocalypso Film and MK Production, distributed by Kino Świat. It opened in Poland on 8 June 2018 and racked up over 940,000 admissions. The film was sold into distribution in several international territories including North America (USA, Canada), Europe (UK, France, Benelux, Germany, Italy, Greece, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Scandinavia, Turkey), Asia (China, Japan, South Korea), Australia and New Zealand. Amazon is the US distributor.
The year 2018 was great for Polish cinema abroad, especially in the UK, where Wojtek Smarzowski’s The Clergy had over 1 m admissions during the opening weekend, distributed by Phoenix Films. The film was also sold in the USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, Holland and Norway. The Clergy opened in Polish cinemas on 28 September 2018 distributed by Kino Świat and has racked up over 5 m admissions to date, becoming the first ever Polish film to reach that number of admissions so quickly.
Another title of interest for the UK audience was Patryk Vega’s crime comedy Women of Mafia. The film was also a major success in Poland with over 2 m admissions. In the UK, where it opened on 2 March 2018 distributed by Odeon, it had a box office of 692,479 EUR during the first month, ranking 6th in the overall UK box office top ten for March 2018. Its worldwide box office to date is 11.5 m EUR.
Pitbull. The Last Dog directed by Wladyslaw Pasikowski and produced by Ent One, debuted in the UK in the 11th place, bringing in over 330,000 EUR by the end of April 2018. The romantic comedy Fake Fiancée / Narzeczony na niby, directed by Bartosz Prokopowicz and produced by TFP in coproduction with Telewizja Polsat and Cyfrowy Polsat, debuted at number 15 in the UK, bringing in 80,000 EUR on its opening weekend. It earned almost 5 m EUR in five weeks in the Polish top 20, when it was released mid-January 2018.
The leading VOD platform in Poland is CDA.pl with its Premium section. In November 2018 CDA.pl had 3.11 m users, 30 m views and over 155,000 active subscribers. The platform has been developed since 2016 and the subscription is approximately 4.6 EUR / 19.90 PLN.
Netflix, which has been active on the Polish market since 2016, released its first locally produced Polish series in 2018. The 8-episode show 1983 was directed by Agnieszka Holland, Kasia Adamik, Olga Chajdas and Agnieszka Smoczyńska, and it was produced by The Kennedy/Marshall Company and Poland’s The House Media Company.. The series premiered internationally on Netflix on 31 November 2018.
In the spring of 2018, HBO launched an HBO GO subscription to all Internet users, separate from a TV cable subscription. HBO continued its engagement in local content production and introduced an original crime series Blinded by The Lights directed by Krzysztof Skonieczny and produced by House Media Company. The 8-episode series became the most popular TV series on HBO in Poland, surpassing Westworld and Game of Thrones, and it ranked 3rd in the top of the most watched HBO productions in the CEE region.
Leading TV broadcasters continued to develop their own VOD platforms. TVP introduced digitally restored hit series from the past, TVN teamed up with nc+ and Ipla, a Cyfrowy Polsat service, introducing a greater number of channels that can be watched live on VOD, and the WP Pilot video service introduced Kino Polska TV channels into its VOD offer in June of 2018.
Poland has over a thousand cinemas, 80% operated by big multiplex cinema chains. The leading companies are Cinema City with over 30 multiplex cinemas, 380 screens and 110,000 seats, Helios with 42 cinemas and 49,000 seats, and Multikino with 48 cinemas and 70,000 seats. Additionally, there are more than 600 one-screen cinemas.
In 2018 the British cinema chain Vue International, working in Poland under the brand name Multikino, bought Polish Cinema3D. The chain had 11 cinemas in Poland, that were turned into Multikino units. Vue International also plans to invest in three cinemas with 20 screens in Warsaw and Nowy Targ.
In 2018 Polish cinema saw another record breaking year with an all-time best result of 59.7 m total admissions and four domestic titles in the general box office top 10. Admissions for domestic films surpassed 19.8 m and domestic films grossed 58,2 m EUR / 249,1 m PLN , which is another record for the Polish market. Total box office surpassed 263 m EUR. According to a special report commissioned by Filmweb.pl from Milward Brown in 2018, the average Polish cinema viewer is 21-41 years old and goes to the cinema at least once a month. The average cinema ticket price in Poland is 4.39 EUR / 18.8 PLN.
Polish films also dominated the overall top ten 2018 with Wojtek Smarzowski's The Clergy (Profil Film Jacek Rzehak) topping the charts with 5,183,080 admissions, followed by Women of Mafia (Showmax) directed by Patryk Vega (2,037,202), Planet Single 2 (Gigant Films) by Sam Akina (1,685,864), Squadron 303 (Film Media) by Denis Delić (1,516,443) and international blockbusters The Incredibles 2 (1,446,260), Wonder (1,376,894), Fifty Shades Freed (1,364,357), Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (1,338,859), The Grinch (1,297,688) and Bohemian Rhapsody (1,227,207).
Polish top 10 includes seven films with more than 1 m admissions: The Clergy (5,183,080 admissions), Women of Mafia (2,037,202), Planet Single 2 (1,685,864), Squadron 303 (1,516,443), Pretend Fiancée (TFP) by Bartosz Prokopowicz (1,127,083), Pitbull. The Last Dog (Ent Productions) by Władysław Pasikowski (1,014,213), followed by Cold War (Opus Film) by Paweł Pawlikowski (931,339), 7 Emotions (WFDiF) by Marek Koterski (853,931) and Love Is Everything (Akson Studio) by Michał Kwieciński (617,152).
Up to 45-50 films are produced annually with an average budget of approximately 930,000–1.1 m EUR / 4- 4.5 m PLN.
The Polish Film Institute is the largest source of funding with additional funds coming from the television, a well-developed network of regional film funds, as well as private sources. The most frequent coproduction partners are Germany, France and the Czech Republic, with growing involvement of the Scandinavian countries including Sweden and Denmark.
In 2018 the Polish Government approved the long-awaited bill offering a 30% cash rebate on qualifying film production expenses. The Polish Film Institute will have a 46 m EUR / 200 m PLN budget to refund partial costs of film production in Poland. Ten percent of the budget will be allotted for animated films and animated series. Submissions and the final reports, which will be the base for refunding, must be evaluated within 28 days each, which will make Poland competitive on the international market.
The new Polish law allows up to 30% of the production budget to be refunded once the applicant fulfills the necessary conditions. Polish producers, coproducers and servicing companies are now able to apply for a partial reimbursement of qualifying production costs spent in Poland. The refund will come after the company has signed a special contract with the Polish Film Institute, finished the production, spent the money, paid all necessary taxes in Poland and submitted all the required documents.
In 2018 the Polish Film Institute introduced a new grant category that will support micro-budget productions directed by film school graduates and other debut filmmakers. The "First film" priority grant has a maximum budget of 162,581 EUR / 700,000 PLN for each film. The projects will be produced in cooperation with a national TV broadcaster, which will act as a coproducer with rights to the film.
Poland has a well-developed network of regional film funds with 12 active funds: Łódź FF, Gdynia FF, Silesia FF, Lower Silesia FF, Poznań FF, Podkarpackie FF, Krakow FF, Białystok FF, West Pomerania FF, Lublin FF, Mazovia FF and Warmia and Mazury Regional Film Fund.
The Polish Filmmakers Association (SFP) has over 1,700 members. The SFP is involved in the organisation of film events including festivals and major markets. Munk Studio – Polish Filmmakers Association, which operates within the structure of the SFP, produces short films and debut features made by young filmmakers. Polish producers are members of the Polish Audiovisual Producers Chamber of Commerce (KIPA) established in November 2000 to protect “the economic and legal interests of the Polish audiovisual sector.” The Polish market also has a very active network of film commissions located in the Lower Silesia, Małopolska, Mazovia, Silesia and Wielkopolska regions and the cities of Łódź and Poznań.
In 2018 Film Commission Poland, which was created in 2012, became a part of the Polish Film Institute and it was delegated to promote Polish cinema abroad.
By the end of 2018, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage announced plans to merge public film production institutions WFDIF, KADR Film Studio, TOR Film Studio, ZEBRA Film Studio and KRONIKA Film Studio into one major film production center in 2019. This will allow the creation of a company with 23.2 m EUR / 100 m PLN of annual revenue.
Public and private broadcasters are an integral part of the Polish film industry as producers and commissioners of locally produced content.
The leading TV channels in Poland are public TVP holdings with flagship channel TVP1 with 9.73% and TVP2 with 8.16% market share in the second quarter of 2018 (according to the National Broadcasting Chamber), followed by Polsat with 10.23% market share and TVN with 9.38% market share.
The market share of the “big four” (TVP 1 and 2, Polsat and TVN) dropped from 38.24% in 2017 to 37.5 % in 2018. The takeover of Scripps Networks Interactive by Discovery made a huge shift in the power dynamics on the Polish TV market, which will become visible in 2019, as the TVN and Discovery portfolio will hold over 20% of the market share.
In 2018 SPI International’s subsidiary Kino Polska TV took full control over Cable Television Networks & Partners by acquiring all its shares for 2.4 m EUR / 10 m PLN. Cable Television Networks & Partners operates the terrestrial channel Zoom TV holding 0.4% of the market share. The company announced its plans to transform Zoom TV into a brand that will supplement the film offer in the group’s portfolio from both Kino Polska and FilmBox.
TVP continued to be the biggest source of funds for filmmakers. The Polish public broadcaster launched a special competition for documentaries celebrating the 100th anniversary of Polish independence and chose 13 projects that went into production in 2018. All projects are produced by regional branches of TVP with a planned total budget of 236,529 EUR / 1 m PLN.
In 2018 TVP also produced new original war drama series, continuing a successful trend from the recent years. The costume drama series Century of the Guilty is based on the bestselling series of novels written by Ałbena Grabowska and follows a Polish family living near Warsaw from the break of WWI to contemporary times. The series is directed by Piotr Trzaskalski. Endemol Shine is the executive producer and the budget of 230,152 EUR / 1 m PLN per episode makes it one of the most expensive TVP projects to date.
Also in 2018 TVP produced the 13-episode war drama series Roads to Freedom, directed by Maciej Migas, which follows the lives of three sisters who open a weekly magazine towards the end of WWI. The show was created by Stanisław Krzemiński, co-creator of the TVP hit series The Vicarage and The Londoners.
In 2018 Sony Pictures Television Networks Central Europe commissioned the first season of the original crime series Signs from ATM Group, following the successful Ultraviolet series (produced by Opus Film), which was commissioned by Sony for AXN and eventually purchased by Netflix in 2018.
By taking over TVN, Discovery expanded the private broadcaster’s involvement in local content productions, with TVN announcing its plans to produce and coproduce five new films and a mini-series in 2018. The Coldest Game directed by Łukasz Kośmicki and starring Bill Pullman, is an international coproduction produced by Watchout Studio in coproduction with TVN S.A, Next Film and ITI Neovision S.A..
All the Luck directed by box office hit director Tomasz Konecki (Letters to Santa 3, TVN) is a romantic comedy produced by TVN and planned to be released by Next Film on 8 March 2019.
Leszek Dawid’s Broad Peak, the real story of the Polish mountaineer Maciej Berbeka, is produced by East Studio in coproduction with TVN and Canal+..
Hater. Suicide Room, the sequel to Jan Komasa's box office hit drama Suicide Room (2011, KADR Film Studio), is also produced by TVN. The Christmas-themed rom-com Love Is Everything / Miłość jest wszystkim directed by Michał Kwieciński, a coproduction from Akson Studio and TVN, was released in Poland on 23 November 2018 distributed by Kino Świat. The film had over 1 m admissions.
Kinga Dębska’s mini-series Six, also produced by TVN, started shooting in Krakow on 25 September 2018.
Report by Katarzyna Grynienko (2019) Sources: the Polish Film Institute, the National Broadcasting Chamber
Polish cinema had a strong and challenging year in 2017, with record-breaking box office results, the celebration of 70 years of Polish animation, international success of feature and documentary films, worldwide distribution for domestic titles, as well as new international coproduction agreements and crucial changes within the Polish Film Institute.
In 2017 Poland produced over 45 feature films, most of them supported by the Polish Film Institute.
One of the major Polish coproductions shot in 2017 was the new drama by Oscar-winning Polish director Paweł Pawlikowski Cold War / Zimna wojna, recently acquired by Amazon Studios. Pawlikowski told FNE that the film tells the story of two young people and their difficult love in the 50s-60s. Cold War is a British/Polish/French coproduction between Apocalypso Pictures, Opus Film and MK Productions.
Wojciech Smarzowski shot his new crime drama about the Catholic Church reform in Poland under the working title 3 in August 2017. The film is produced by Profil Film Jacek Rzehak.
Adrian Panek shot his sophomore film Werewolf in July-November 2017. This Polish/Dutch/German coproduction follows eight children freed from the Gross-Rosen concentration camp in 1945. The film is a coproduction between Balapolis (Balapolis), House of Netherhorror and Twenty Twenty Vision Filmproduktion.
In autumn 2017 Jan Jakub Kolski started working on his new drama, the Polish/Czech coproduction Pardon, and resumed work on 15 January 2018. The story is set in 1946 and follows a married couple travelling through Poland with a casket containing the body of their 26-year-old son. The film is produced by Centrala and the director's company Wytwórnia Doświadczalna in coproduction with the Czech company Mimesis Film.
Also in 2017 the master of the Polish action cinema Władysław Pasikowski took on directing the third part of the Pitbull crime trilogy after Patryk Vega decided not to helm the last installment of his hit project. Shooting for Pitbull. The Last Dog took place in Warsaw in October 2017. The film is produced by Ent One Investments.
Oscar nominated Bartosz Konopka wrapped The Mute, a Polish/Belgian coproduction set in the Middle Ages, when two men come to a pagan land - one to bring Christianity, the other to find his way of living. The film is produced by Otter Films in coproduction with Odra Film and Earlybirds Films. New Europe Film Sales is handling the sales and Kino Świat will release the film domestically.
Also in 2017 the acclaimed director Krzysztof Zanussi shot his new feature film Ether, that follows a military doctor at the beginning of the 20th century as he is experimenting with science in order to get power over people. TOR Film Production is producing. The film was shot in Poland, the Ukraine and Hungary in August-December 2017.
In 2017 acclaimed writer/director Andrzej Jakimowski finished his new film Once in November / Pewnego razu w listopadzie, a drama inspired by the political climate in Poland. The film was produced by Zjednoczenie Artystów i Rzemieślników and was domestically released by Kino Świat on 3 November 2017 with 11,176 admissions to date.
Poland celebrated 70 years of animation with special spothlights at the Toulouse Cartoon Forum and MIPCON 2017 in Cannes, showcasing the newest animated projects, resulting in several promising international projects, like Polish Animoon Studio’s and Chinese Animex Animation’s coproduction of the second season of the Polish animated hit series Hug Me. This is the first animated coproduction between the two countries.
The leading distributors of mainstream cinema on the Polish market are Kino Świat, SPI International Polska and Monolith Films.
The art house market is dominated by Gutek Film and Against Gravity.
The new SVOD platform Showmax was launched in Poland on 15 February 2017 with 172,000 subscribers, which is double than what Netflix had on the Polish market on the same day. Showmax offers international film and TV series as well as investment in local content including new episodes of the Polish hit show Ear of the President / Ucho Prezesa, created by Robert Górski and Kabaret Moralnego Niepokoju. The series became an instant hit with over 27 m viewers when its four episodes were first aired on Youtube. Showmax had also teamed up with Polish box office hit directors Patryk Vega and Wojciech Smarzowski, who directed short thrillers that were the focus point of the launch campaign.
Netflix commissioned the first locally produced series in Poland, directed by Agnieszka Holland and Kasia Adamik. The show will be produced by The Kennedy/Marshall Company and Polish The House Media Company. The title of the series has not been revealed yet. The international premiere is planned for 2018.
In 2017 Netlix also teamed up with Poland’s Platige Image and is currently in development with a new English-language series based on The Witcher saga by Andrzej Sapkowski. Platige Image, which sold the adaption rights to Netflix, will coproduce with Polish filmmaker Tomasz Bagiński directing at least one episode in each season of the show. Platige Image signed a contract with Netflix covering the production of the first and potential upcoming seasons.
Popular Polish VOD portals include Ipla, Player (previously TVN Player) and Vod TVP, providing programmes from public broadcasters.
In 2017 TVP launched an international streaming service for TVP Polonia, its international channel for Polish-speaking audiences from abroad. Streaming is available at polonia.tvp.pl. TVP also plans to introduce a VOD service for mobile devices and a stream for Smart TV users.
The leading Polish VOD service from Onet.pl launched O!Dokument, a new platform offering high quality Polish documentaries awarded at international film festivals. The project launched in February 2017 and is supported by the Polish Film Institute.
It was a strong year for Polish features, with Spoor / Pokot by Agnieszka Holland having its international premiere in the competition of the 67th Berlinale IFF, where it was awarded the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize. The film went into regular distribution in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland and Norway, and was chosen as Poland’s 2017 Academy Awards bid. Beta Cinema sold it to several territories including China, Turkey, Cyprus, former Yugoslavia, Spain and Andorra.
Piotr Domalewski’s debut feature Silent Night won the top Golden Lion Prize at the 42nd Gdynia Film Festival (18-23 September 2017) with broad critical acclaim. The film was produced by Munk Studio – Polish Filmmakers Association with a budget of 700,000 EUR. The project was supported by the Polish Film Institute with 233,547 EUR / 1 m PLN and also by the Warmia and Mazury Film Fund.
Loving Vincent, a fully painted animation feature about Van Gogh, directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, became one of the most internationally recognised and broadly distributed Polish productions in 2017. The film won the European Film Award for the Best European Animated Feature Film 2017 and was sold to over 130 territories including France, China, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Portugal, Japan, Thailand, Colombia, India, Russia and Brazil.
It was also another great year for Polish documentaries, with EFA winning Communion by Anna Zamecka becoming one of the most recognised titles of the year. The documentary produced by Otter Films, Wajda Studio and HBO Europe, with the support of the Polish Film Institute, won over 20 international awards including the Critics’ Week Award at Locarno 2016, best documentary at Warsaw Film Festival 2016 , Young Eyes Award at DOK Leipzig 2016 and Silver Eye Award at Jihlava IDFF 2016.
Andrzej Wajda's latest production Afterimage continued to generate major interest abroad. In 2017 the film was theatrically released in Canada, France, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria, USA and Japan.
Polish box office hits made a big splash on the UK market in 2017. Michalina Wisłocka’s biopic Art of Loving was released in the UK and Ireland by Odeon on 31 March 2017 and made 84,583 EUR on the British market. In October 2017 the Polish box office success Botox, directed by Patryk Vega and distributed by Phoenix Productions, opened at number five in the UK, cashing in 1,133,353 EUR. Polish box office nr 1, TVN's romantic comedy Letters to Santa 3 by Tomasz Konecki, hit the top 10 at the UK box office with 450,655 EUR gross in its first weekend. The film was released by Phoenix Productions in 253 British cinemas on 24 November 2017.
Successful Polish films and coproductions from 2016 continued their journey abroad. Agnus Dei (Aeroplan), Anne Fontaine’s French/Polish/Belgian coproduction, was released by Thimfilm GMBH in Austria on 16 June 2017. The film became one of the most popular Polish productions abroad with distribution in Canada, Spain, Japan, Brasil, Mexico, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Portugal, Greece, Switzerland, Columbia, UK, USA an Australia. Film Distribution is handling the sales.
11 Minutes by Jerzy Skolimowski was released by Zootrope Films in Portuguese cinemas on 19 April 2017. The film was also in regular distribution in the UK, Portugal and Japan, and is also available on iTunes and Netflix.
Ira Carpelan’s and Jakub Wronski’s animated film Moomins and the Winter Wonderland opened on 500 Scandinavian screens on 1 December 2017 and also in France, Japan and Poland on 22 December 2017. The film based on the iconic series created by Tove Jansson is a Polish/Finnish coproduction between Animoon and Filmkompanie. The film is available worldwide in 23 language versions.
Poland has over a thousand cinemas, 80% operated by big multiplex cinema chains. The leading companies are Cinema City with over 30 multiplex cinemas, 380 screens and 110,000 seats, Helios with 42 cinemas and 49,000 seats, and Multikino with 33 cinemas and 60,000 seats.
Additionally, there are more than 600 one-screen cinemas.
In 2017 Polish cinema saw another record breaking year with an all-time best result of 56 m total admissions and two domestic titles topping the overall box office. Total gross was 254.6 m EUR.
Admissions increased by almost 10% compared to 2016, when admissions were 51 m. The romantic comedy Letters to Santa 3, directed by Tomasz Konecki and produced by TVN, topped the 2017 box office with record-breaking 2.98 m admissions. The TVN series has been on top of the Polish box office for years. Letters to Santa directed by Mitja Okorn had 2.5 m admissions in 2011 and Letters to Santa 2 directed by Maciej Dejczar had 2.5 m admissions in 2015.
TVN's hit is followed by Botox, directed by Patryk Vega and produced by Ent One, with 2.31 m admissions in 2017. This dark medical thriller had 711,906 admissions during the opening weekend, becoming the best domestic premiere in 2017 and the second best domestic premiere in the last 30 years. It also reached the number four spot in Ireland on its opening weekend, with 100,000 EUR and the number five spot in the UK overall box office with nearly 890,000 EUR (which includes the Irish results).
The overall Polish 2017 box office also includes: Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Despicable Me 3, The Art of Loving directed by Maria Sadowska (Watchout Productions, 1.8 m admissions), Sing, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Fifty Shades Darker, Smurfs: The Lost Village and The Fate of the Furious.
The average price of a cinema ticket is 4.2 EUR / 18.6 PLN.
In 2017 the Polish Film Institute received 18.3 m EUR / 78 m PLN from the European Union for the digitalisation and reconstruction of Polish cinema. Polish films are set to be totally digitalised by 2020.
The Polish Film Institute is the largest source of funding with additional funds coming from the television, a well-developed network of regional film funds, as well as private sources. The most frequent coproduction partners for Poland are Germany, France and the Czech Republic, with growing involvement of the Scandinavian countries including Sweden and Denmark.
Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage Piotr Gliński dismissed Magdalena Sroka as the Director of the Polish Film Institute on 9 October 2017 and Radosław Śmigulski was appointed Director of the Polish Film Institute for five years in December 2017.
In 2017 PISF granted approximately 32.2 m EUR / 135 m PLN through the Film Production Operational Programme for script development, project development and production of feature films, documentaries and animated films. Projects implementing the international promotion of Polish cinema received a total of 2.3 m EUR / 9.6 m PLN in funding. In 2017 the Institute set a new operational priority for productions with micro budgets. The 2018 PISF budget is 48.9 m EUR / 204,132,000 PLN with new genre cinema priority to be introduced this year.
Poland still awaits a tax incentives law. Poland has special production agreements with several countries and in 2017 struck new cooperation deals with Lithuania and Vietnam.
In 2017 the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage held a special competition for feature film projects about Polish history. The winning screenwriters received 132,922 EUR / 565,000 PLN as script development and awards.
Poland has a well-developed network of regional film funds with 12 active funds with Warmia and Mazury Regional Film Fund launched in 2017. Other film funds offering production support as coproducers or funders are: Łódź FF, Gdynia FF, Silesia FF, Lower Silesia FF, Poznań FF, Porkaprackie FF, Krakow FF, Białystok FF, West Pomerania FF, Lublin FF and Mazovia FF.
The Polish Filmmakers Association (SFP) has over 1,700 members. The SFP is involved in the organisation of film events including festivals and major markets. Munk Studio – Polish Filmmakers Association, which operates within the structure of the SFP, produces short films and debut features made by young filmmakers. Polish producers are members of the Polish Audiovisual Producers Chamber of Commerce (KIPA) established in November 2000 in order to protect “the economic and legal interests of the Polish audiovisual sector.” In 2017 the SFP introduced a new grant for cinema distributors.
In 2017 Munk Studio and CANAL+ announced their plans to launch a new 60 Minutes programme to support debut filmmakers with a budget of 237,000 EUR / 1 m PLN for each 60-minute film. The films will be produced both for cinema and TV distribution.
The Polish market has also a very active network of film commissions located in the Lower Silesia, Małopolska, Mazovia, Silesia and Wielkopolska regions and the cities of Łódź and Poznań.
Film Commission Poland was created in order to centralise all these activities as the first source of information on organising production in Poland. Film Commission Poland offers an interactive portal with an online catalogue of locations and Polish film professionals available at http://filmcommissionpoland.pl.
On 1 June 2017 the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage Piotr Gliński merged the two leading film institutions, the Polish National Film Archive and the National Audiovisual Institute, into one unit named the National Film Archive - Audiovisual Institute.
The leading TV channels in Poland are public TVP holdings with flagship channel TVP1 with 11.3% market share in the second quarter of 2017 (according to the National Broadcasting Chamber), followed by Polsat with 10.31% market share and TVN with 10% market share.
TVP continues to be the biggest source of funds for filmmakers. In 2017 TVP and CDRTV China’s TV Chengdu Radio & Television went into coproduction of an eight-episode documentary series about Polish and Chinese economic relations.
In 2017 TVP undertook a major project The Crown of Kings, a costume TV series directed by Wojciech Pacyna about the life of Casimir III the Great. The show is a local attempt to tap into the costume drama soap opera genre, which became very popular in Poland thanks to the Turkish production The Magnificent Century: Kösem, a big hit for TVP in 2016. The Crown of Kings premiered on 1 January 2018 with a strong average of 3 m viewers per episode.
This year TVP also launched an EU co-financed project that will digitalise its 800 archive productions in the course of the next three years. The budget of the project is almost 19 m EUR / 81 m PLN. The digitalisation is planned for 36 months with 836 unique titles restored from analogue archives to 4K sound and image format. Feature films, documentaries, TV series and TV theatre plays will be restored by a team of 79 Polish specialists.
TVN is still strongly engaged in film production (for example, box office hit Letters to Santa 3) and invests in producing domestic content for TV. As its new original series Belle Epoque hit a record of 2.9 m viewers during the premiere of the first episode, TVN decided to invest in the format, to produce a second season and to sell it abroad.
One of the key players in Polish film production is HBO Polska, a channel focused on supporting original cinema and programming. The second season of locally produced Polish drama The Pack / Wataha, directed by Kasia Adamik and Jan P. Matuszyński, had a day-and-date premiere across HBO Europe on 15 October 2017.
In 2017 CANAL+ produced the second season of its hit original series Teacher / Belfer, with TVN as executive producer. Belfer was the first production after the station's return to production of local programming. The series aired between 2 October and 27 November 2016, with the first episode gathering an average of 267,000 viewers and the final episode 460,000 viewers.
In 2017 CANAL+ also commissioned two new original crime series directed by Maciej Pieprzyca and Leszek Dawid. Opus Film and Telemark are producing.
Polish private broadcaster Polsat introduced a new TV format in cooperation with Ikea Retail, which commissioned and sponsored the first Polish product placement mini-series, House Full of Changes / Dom pełen zmian directed by Kristoffer Russ.
Report by Katarzyna Grynienko (2018)Sources: the Polish Film Institute, the National Broadcasting Chamber
The most important development in the Romanian film industry in 2018 is the cash rebate scheme launched by the National Commission for Prognosis on 8 October 2018. A total of 41 international and national projects applied for rebates until the end of 2018.
As the Film Fund increased, more funding was available for the call organised by the Romanian Film Centre (CNC). In 2018 the Romanian Film Centre prepared a new film draft aimed at boosting support and visibility for the film industry.
The CNC allotted more money for minority coproductions, despite the fact that a special category for minority coproductions is expected to be established by the new Film Law.
Following the trend, which has already lasted for almost 18 years now, Romanian films continued receiving awards at international festivals. The most important recognitions for Romanian cinema in 2018 are the Golden Bear and the GWFF Best First Feature Award at the Berlinale for Adina Pintilie’s Touch Me Not. In July 2018 "I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians" / "Îmi este indiferent dacă în istorie vom intra ca barbari" by Radu Jude won the Crystal Globe for best film at the 53rd Karlovy Vary IFF and it became Romania’s bid for the Oscars.
Ioana Uricaru was awarded best director for Lemonade in August 2018 at the Sarajevo Film Festival, while Love 1: Dog / Dragoste 1: Câine by Florin Șerban, produced by Fantascope and also supported by the Romanian Film Centre, received two awards from the festival’s partners. Ioana Uricaru was also nominated for the 2019 Independent Spirit Awards in the Someone to Watch category.
In October 2018 Anca Damian was awarded best director at the 34th Warsaw IFF for Moon Hotel Kabul.
The domestic film of the year is Moromete Family: On the Edge of Time / Moromeții 2 by Stere Gulea, which became the most successful Romanian film in the last 16 years. The film’s ranked 34th in the general box office with 184,951 admissions and 529,339 EUR / 2,475,122 RON gross.
Sadly, Lucian Pintilie, the most important Romanian film director and the godfather of the New Romanian Cinema, died at age 84 on 16 May 2018.
Most of the films produced in 2018 were supported by the Romanian Film Centre.
Cristi Puiu shot his first feature film in French Malmkrog aka Manor House / La conac in 2018. The film was produced by Mandragora in coproduction with Serbia’s Sense Production, Switzerland’s Bord Cadre Films and Romania’s iadasarecasa and Studioul de Creatie Cinematografica Bucuresti. It was supported by the Romanian Film Centre, Film Center Serbia, Sovereign Films (UK) and Cinema City Romania.
Corneliu Porumboiu shot Gomera in Romania and Spain in February-April 2018. This Romanian/French/German coproduction stars Vlad Ivanov and has already been acquired by MK2 Films. The first film that Porumboiu shot outside Romania is a coproduction between 42 KM FILM (Romania), Les Films du Worso (France), Komplizen Film (Germany) and Arte Grand Accord.
Cătălin Mitulescu, who won the Palm d’or for his short film Traffic / Trafic in 2004, shot his fourth feature film Heidi in 2018. He is producing it through Strada Film.
Tudor Giurgiu shot his first feature film abroad, in Spain. The love story Parking is a Romanian/Spanish/Czech coproduction between his company Libra Film, Spain’s Tito Clint Movies and Evolution Films from the Czech Republic.
In October-November 2018, writer/director Marian Crișan shot his fourth feature film Berliner with Moldavian DoP Oleg Mutu, who also shot Cristian Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and Beyond the Hills (Mobra Films). Crișan is producing though his company Rova Film.
In 2018 Iura Luncaşu shot Do It or Shut Up / Faci sau taci, a comedy he is also producing through Next Spot. His previous comedy Ghinionistul was the Romanian film with the best box office in 2017 (223,840 EUR / 1,007,284 RON gross).
The most prolific Romanian independent director Dan Chișu shot a new feature film in 2018, The Gendarme / Jandarmul produced by Domestic Film in coproduction with Dakino Production.
In August 2018 writer/director Ioana Mischie (Fulbright Alumna, Berlinale Talents Alumna) started production on Government of Children, a pioneering transmedia world reuniting a 3D state of the art feature film and an expanded webseries. The project is independently produced by Storyscapes, a Romanian association focusing on transmedia and groundbreaking concepts, and Studioset, a multi-awarded creative studio.
In September 2018 Andrei Cohn shot his sophomore feature Arrest / Arest aka 1983, a drama set in the communist era and produced by Mandragora in coproduction with Multi Media Est and iadasarecasa.
Mandragora also produced Liviu Săndulescu’s debut feature Cărturan, coproduced by Sweden’s Film I Väst and Doppelganger AB and Romania’s iadasarecasa.
In December 2018 Tudor Cristian Jurgiu wrapped shooting on his second feature film And They May Be Still Alive Today / Și poate mai trăiesc și azi, a coproduction between Romania’s Libra Film Productions and Greece’s Graal S.A.
Two debut features shot in 2018 are Monsters / Monștri by Marius Olteanu, a contemporary drama produced by Parada Film in coproduction with Wearebasca, and Legacy / Urma directed by Dorian Boguță and produced by Hai-Hui Entertainment in coproduction with Mandragora and Actoriedefilm.ro. Both Monsters and Legacy are 100% Romanian productions.
The long documentary Our Special Birthday / Născuți în aprilie by Adrian Pârvu, a Romanian/Ukrainian coproduction between HiFilm Productions and Tato Film, was shot in 2018.
Ivana Mladenovic shot her sophomore feature Summer Night, Ten Thirty / Noapte de Vară. 10 jumătate, a Romanian/Serbian coproduction between Micro Film and Dunav ’84. The film entered postproduction at the beginning of January 2019 with a few days of shooting left for 2019.
The documentary Whose Dog? / Al cui câine sunt?, directed by Robert Lakatos and produced by Micro Film, started shooting in 2018, but filming will continue in 2019.
We Are Basca produced two long documentaries, which were shot in 2018: Emigrant Blues: A Road Movie in 2 and 1/2 Chapters by Claudiu Mitcu and Mihai Mincan, coproduced with DeFilm, and The Anniversary by Claudiu Mitcu.
Among the feature films completed in 2018 are Anca Damian’s Moon Hotel Kabul, a Romanian/French coproduction between Aparte Film and Cinema Defacto (which brought Damian the best director prize at the 2018 Warsaw IFF), and Ana Lungu’s independent feature film One and a Half Prince / Un prinț și jumătate, produced by Mandragora.
The Romanian minority coproduction Spiral, directed by Cecília Felméri and starring Romanian actor Bogdan Dumitrache, Slovak-Hungarian actress Alexandra Borbély and Hungarian actress Diána Magdolna Kiss, started shooting in May 2018. The film is produced by Hungary’s Inforg - M&M Film in coproduction with Romania’s Hai-Hui Entertainment.
Another Hungarian/Romanian coproduction shot in 2018 is Eden, directed by Agnes Kocsis and produced by Hungary’s Mythberg Films in coproduction with Romania’s Libra Film and Belgium’s WFE Production.
SAF, a coproduction between Turkey’s Terminal Film, Germany’s 2Pilots and Romania’s 4 Proof Film was shot in Istanbul in December 2018-January 2019. The director Ali Vatansever used the Romanian DoP Tudor Panduru and the Romanian actress Mihaela Trofimov in a small part.
Another Romanian minority coproduction shot in 2018 is Son / Sin by Ines Tanović, which is produced by Dokument from Bosnia and Herzegovina in coproduction with Croatia’s Spiritus Movens, Slovenia’s Monoo, Macedonia’s Cut-up, and Romania’s Luna Film.
Most of the postproduction on Donbass by Sergei Loznitsa, which was awarded best director in Cannes’s Un Certain Regard 2018, took place in Bucharest at Digital Cube. The film is a German/ French/Ukrainian/Dutch/Romanian coproduction with Digital Cube coproducing from Romania. Moldavian Oleg Mutu is lensing and Moldavian-born Bucharest-located actor Valeriu Andriuță is in the cast.
Anthony C. Ferrante started shooting his new horror The Last Sharknado in Romania on 19 February 2018. The sequel to Ferrante’s TV movie hit Sharknado stars the same actors as the 2013 film: Ian Zering, Tara Reid, Casandra Scerbo and Vivica Fox. It was serviced by Romania’s Castel Film Studios.
Also serviced by Castel Film in 2018 are Netflix’s A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding, a romantic comedy by John Schultz and a sequel to the holiday film A Christmas Prince, Hallmark’ special Thanksgiving movie called Christmas Princess on Ice, and also Backdraft 2 by Gonzalo López-Gallego, The Princess Switch by Mike Rohl, The Cleansing Hour by Damien LeVeck, Dragonheart 5 (a sequel to Universal’s Dragonheart 4, which was also shot in Romania) and The Hard Way by Keoni Waxman.
In 2018 the Romanian company Alien Film serviced the French feature film The Silver Forest / La fôret d’argent, directed by Emmanuel Bourdieu and produced by Italique Productions for ARTE. The film was shot on location in Bucharest and in villages around Ploiești.
A total of 193 films were released in cinemas in 2018, of which 23 are domestic films, according to Cinemagia.ro. In 2017 a total of 187 films were theatrically released, including 19 domestic films.
The most important distributors in Romania, on the basis of first time released feature films are: Vertical Entertainment, Ro-Image 2000, InterComFilm Distribution, Independența Film, Cine Europa, Odeon Cineplex, Forum Film Romania, Transilvania Film, Micro Film, Voodoo Films.
Other distributors are Bad Unicorn, Macondo, BML Music Entertainment and Clorofilm. Several production companies also have a distribution branch: Mandragora, Parada Film, Zazu Film, Oblique Media Film, Paradox.
Usually big distributors do not release domestic titles, but there are some exceptions. Ro Image 2000 distributed in 2018 the romantic comedy The Story of a Summer Lover / Povestea unui pierde-vară, directed by Paul Negoescu and produced by Papillon Film. The film had 13,861 admissions.
The creative agency ROLLERCOASTER PR launched as a distributor on the Romanian market on 24 August 2018 with the theatrical release of the domestic documentary Licu, a Romanian Story directed by Ana Dumitrescu and produced by Jules et Films.
In 2018 a caravan travelled through Romania and the Republic of Moldova celebrating 100 years of Romanian cinema by screening 100 movies in 100 cities in one year. The project put up by the ARTIS Association in the Romanian city of Iași and the MIA Public Association in Chișinău, the capital of the Republic of Moldova, was launched in Iași with the screening of Eastern Business / Afacerea Est directed by Igor Cobileanski, a Romanian/Lithuanian coproduction between Alien Film and Just a Moment.
Adina Pintilie’s debut feature Touch Me Not was sold by Doc & Film in more than 35 territories, including North America, where Kino Lorber acquired the rights. “The extensive international exposure, with more than 40 selections for prestigious festivals, together with a worldwide theatrical release, which started in October 2018, in more than 35 countries, offered a solid platform to fully develop this active dialogue with the international audiences”, Romanian producer Bianca Oana told FNE.
Touch Me Not / Nu mă atinge-mă was produced by Romania’s Manekino Film in coproduction with RohFilm Productions (Germany), PINK from the Czech Republic, Bulgaria’s Agitprop Ltd and France’s Les Films de l'Étranger. The film was awarded the Golden Bear and the GWFF Best First Feature Award at the 2018 Berlin IFF.
"Radu Jude’s I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians" / "Îmi este indiferent dacă în istorie vom intra ca barbari" was sold by Beta Cinema to Poland, Hungary and ex-Yugoslavia. The film won the Crystal Globe for best film at the 53rd Karlovy Vary IFF and it was Romania’s bid for the Oscars. Micro Film released it in Romania on 28 September 2018. Hi Film Productions produced it in coproduction with the Czech company endorfilm, France’s Les Films d’Ici, Bulgaria’s Klas Film and Germany’s Komplizen Film.
Ioana Uricaru’s debut feature Lemonade, produced by Cristian Mungiu through Mobra films, was sold by Pluto Film to several territories after premiering in 2018 Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama section. The film was sold to France’s ASC Distribution at Berlinale’s European Film Market and afterwards to China, Israel, ex-Yugoslavia and Greece, and also in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa), Mexico, Italy, South Cpreea and Spain. Lemonade, a Romanian/German/Canadian/Swedish coproduction between Mobra films, 42 Film, Peripheria and Filmgate Films, was released in Romania by Mungiu’s distribution outlet Voodoo Films on 26 October 2018.
Gabi Virginia Şarga and Cătălin Rotaru’s debut feature Thou Shalt Not Kill / Să nu ucizi was acquired by Paris-based Indie Sales ahead of its world premiere in the 1-2 Competition of the 34th Warsaw FF. Thou Shalt Not Kill was produced by Axis Media Production in coproduction with Green Cat Film. Idea Film Distribution will release the film domestically in the first semester of 2019.
For the first time Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest, the festival initiated by Cristian Mungiu with the support of the General Delegate of the Cannes Film Festival, Thierry Frémaux, whose 9th edition took place in Bucharest and also in seven Romanian towns from 19 October to 11 November 2018, gave two distribution awards of 2,500 EUR to the future Romanian distributor of an international film screened in Cannes and also of 5,000 EUR to a Romanian film that already has a domestic distributor.
Consequently, the Aide à la Distribution Award went to 3 Faces (Iran) by Jafar Panahi, while the new creative agency ROLLERCOASTER PR received support for the distribution of The Distance between Me and Me, a documentary directed by Mona Nicoară and Dana Bunescu, and produced by Hi Film Productions and Sat Mic in coproduction with the Romanian Public Television (TVR).
Bucharest Film Studios, the former MediaPro Studios, filed for insolvency in 2018. Media Pro Studios was sold by Central European Media Enterprises (CME) to a group of American and Romanian investors including Donald Kushner and Bobby Păunescu in 2015. Bucharest Film Studios’ request for insolvency came after a creditor asked for the company’s insolvency at the end of 2017.
Equally Red and Blue / Albastru și roșu, în proporții egale by Georgiana Moldoveanu (UNATC I.L. Caragiale) was selected for the Cinéfondation section of the Cannes Film Festival 2018.
The most awarded Romanian short film in 2018 was The Christmas Gift / Cadoul de Crăciun by Bogdan Mureșanu, winner of best film at Cottbus and Izmir, Jury Prize at Montpellier and First Prize at Alcine.
In March 2018 Daniel Sandu’s debut feature One Step behind the Seraphim won eight awards at the 12th Gopo awards, including best film, best director and best debut feature. One Step behind the Seraphim / Un pas în urma serafimilor is one of the few Romanian feature films released on the Vimeo platform. The film was released on Vimeo at the beginning of 2018, only for the Romanian audience.
In December 2018 Moromete Family: On the Edge of Time / Moromeții 2 by Stere Gulea, the most successful domestic film of the year, was released on Vimeo for Romanians living abroad.
Despite the fact that admissions increased to 13.8 m in 2017 due to multiplexes, the tradition of one-screen cinemas is vanishing. Since 2008, RomâniaFilm, the former cinema network inherited from the communist era, has re-assigned more than 100 cinemas to local councils, but less than 10% are still screening films. Romania is currently the country with the fewest cinema theaters per population in Europe. Seventy eight percent of Romanian towns don’t have any cinemas in use. Moreover, RomaniaFilm announced in 2018 that it will close 10 cinemas, leaving only three open, in Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu and Piatra Neamț.
During a debate around the cinemas organised at the Festival Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest in October 2018, the Romanian Film Centre (CNC) announced its intention to find a legal framework for granting 100,000 EUR for the technological upgrade of cinemas.
In March 2018 Cinema City, the biggest cinema operator in Romania, opened in Cluj-Napoca its fifth 4DX cinema in Romania with an investment of approximately 850,000 EUR. Cinema City is currently running 26 multiplexes in 19 Romanian towns with 237 screens and 42,031 seats.
Due to the rising number of multiplexes, the number of screens increased from 386 in 2017 to 404 in 2018, most of them digital.
In December 2018 the Austrian company Cineplexx, one of the most important operators in the CEE region, announced its intention to enter the Romanian market and to open eight cinemas with more than 50 screens with an investment of 25 m EUR until 2021. The company is also prospecting a refurbishment project. The first two cinemas will open in Bucharest and Satu Mare in the first quarter of 2019 and another two cinemas will open by the end of 2019.
A total of 23 domestic films were released in Romania in 2018, of which 10 were debuts and six long documentaries. The 19 domestic films released in 2017 included six debut features and three long documentaries.
The most successful domestic film in 2018 was Stere Gulea’s Moromete Family: On the Edge of Time / Moromeții 2 with 184,951 admissions and 529,339 EUR / 2,475,122 RON gross in eight weeks. The sequel to the acclaimed 1987 The Moromete Family / Moromeții directed by Stere Gulea, had a very thorough marketing campaign and release strategy. It had 52,000 admissions after the first weekend and it was seen in theatrical release, special screenings and avant premieres altogether by 70,878 people.
The official premiere was preceded by several avant premieres outside Bucharest and even in the capital city the official premiere was preceded by three avant premieres. Moromete Family: On the Edge of Time, which was produced by Libra Film and distributed by Transilvania Film, is ranked 34th in the general box office, an impressive result for a Romanian film.
Another successful Romanian film in 2018 was the documentary Untamed Romania / România neîmblânzită by Tom Barton-Humphreys, which was produced by the British/Dutch company Off the Fence, but was funded by Auchan Retail Romania and the environmental NGO The European Nature Trust. Untamed Romania, distributed by Transilvania Film, has 81,426 admissions and 251,608 EUR /1,157,400 RON gross, and it is followed by the comedy Pup-o, mă! by Camelia Popa with 23,252 admissions and 377,518 RON gross (according to Cinemagia.ro). Pup-o, mă! is an independent production distributed by Videomix.
The general box office 2018 is topped by Aquaman with 2,418,775 EUR / 11.309.881 RON gross, followed by Venom with 2,144,941 EUR / 10,029,468 RON gross and Avengers: Infinity War with 2,135,193 EUR / 9,983,888 RON gross. An admissions chart cannot be drawn up, because the distributor Forum Film Romania stopped reporting admissions to Cinemagia, which is the only private initiative in film statistics in Romania.
General admissions were 13,348,167 and the general box office was 55,953,522 EUR / 262,981,558 RON in 2018, according to the Romanian Film Centre. Also according to the CNC, domestic films had 389,172 admissions and 1.42 m EUR / 6,712,375 RON gross in 2018.
In 2017 general admissions were 13.8 m and box office was 57.6 m EUR, according to the CNC.
The Romanian Film Center (CNC) distributed almost 10.7 m EUR / 50 m RON as production and development funding on 11 May 2018. Seventeen feature films and 10 debut features received production support. This is a record number, but it counts also for a missing session in 2017, as the projects were submitted at the end of 2017. (CNC is oblidged to organise two funding sessions per year.).
Among the projects receiving production support on 11 May 2018 are new films by Radu Jude and Bogdan Mirică. CNC also allotted funding for several minority coproductions, including new projects by Tomasz Wasilewski, Ivan Ostrochovski and Stefan Orlandic Stojanovski.
For the first time the CNC supported the production of four thematic feature films on the occasion of the centennial of the modern state. Another 20 short films, 15 documentaries and seven animated films received production funds.
On 19 October 2018, at its first session for 2018 the Romanian Film Centre allotted 4,283,656 EUR / 20 m RON for production and development funding. The biggest grant went to the minority coproduction Quo vadis, Aida! by Jasmila Žbanić, coproduced by Romania’s Digital Cube. Seven of the ten feature film projects receiving production grants are international coproductions. Among other minority coproductions that received funding are Son by Ines Tanović, coproduced by Romania’s Luna Film, and Tomorrow Will Be another Day by Pedro Pinho, coproduced by deFilm production.
Radu Jude received production funding for his new feature film The Sleepwalkers / Somnambulii, as well as for the documentary Arrival of a Train at the Station / Intrarea trenului în gară, both international coproductions produced by Micro Film.
The funding was announced for the production of feature films, long and short documentaries, short fiction films, animated films and thematic films, and also for the development of feature films, documentaries and animated films.
In 2018 the Romanian Film Centre prepared a new film law draft aimed at boosting support and visibility for the film industry. The draft will introduce the possibility for a film to be funded up to 80% of its budget due to a new category that would enable every Romanian film to be considered a difficult film. The new draft also provides a separate category for minority coproductions and a regional fund for co-distribution and a category of micro-budget films (films with budgets of up to 80,000 EUR), which could be financed by the CNC up to 100%. The draft is expected to move forward during the first semester of 2019.
Romania’s cash rebate scheme approved in June 2018 was launched by the National Commission for Prognosis on 8 October 2018. The state aid scheme offers a 35% cash rebate on qualified expenditure for international productions shooting in Romania. Additionally, productions explicitly promoting Romania, with a minimum local spend of 20% of the total budget of the production, can also apply for a rebate of 10%.
There is a total cap of 50 m EUR per year to fund the scheme. The minimum required amount of qualified expenses is 100,000 EUR. The scheme is open to feature films, medium and short fiction films, TV series, direct-to-video, internet and any other support films, documentaries and animated films. The rebate cannot exceed 10 m EUR per project (or per season, for a TV series).
The scheme works on a first come first served basis and will require international productions to have production services or a coproduction contract with a Romanian production company.
The scheme is set to run until the end of 2020. The rebate scheme's budget was 50 m EUR until the end of 2018, despite the fact that the scheme covered the last three months of the year.
A total of 41 projects applied for rebates until the end of 2018, of which seven were approved, two were rejected and the rest were still under analysis at the beginning of January 2019.
The approved projects include international and Romanian projects such as David Berman’s War by Philip Noyce and a Florence Nightingale biopic presumably starring Keira Knightley. According to the Romanian media, Scottish actor Gerard Butler and American actor Liev Schreiber are in talks for David Berman’s War aka The Devil’s Brigade, which together with Florence are serviced in Romania by Frame Film.
Another international project approved for the rebate is Dragonheart 5, serviced by Castel Film Studios. The film is a sequel to Universal’s Dragonheart 4, which was also shot in Romania.
After the death of Lucian Pintilie, the newly established Fundația9 launched the Lucian Pintilie Film Fund aiming at honouring the memory of the great Romanian director as well as encouraging art house cinema made by new directors. The first filmmakers to benefit from the Fund were Cristi Iftime, Anghel Damian and Bogdan Mureșanu, who received 20,000 EUR each for their upcoming short projects. Fundația9 is an initiative supported by BRD Groupe Société Générale and one of the members of its Directorial Council is Corina Șuteu, Minister of Culture from May 2016 to January 2017.
In November 2018 mathematician Valer-Daniel Breaz was named the new Minister of Culture in Romania, as the Social Democratic Party (PSD) changed several ministers from the Government. Valer-Daniel Breaz replaced George Ivașcu, who had been named minister of Culture in January 2018.
Romanian public television runs several channels: TVR 1, TVR 2, TVR 3, TVR HD, TVR News, TVR and TVR Moldova, and five territorial studios.
The most popular private channels in Romania are: Pro TV (member of Media Pro trust, run by CME, Central European Media Enterprises), Antena 1 and Antena 3 (both members of Antena Group), B1 TV (owned by businessman, film producer and director Bobby Păunescu), Realitatea TV and Kanal D (run by the Turkish trust Dogan).
Doina Gradea was elected by the Romanian Parliament as general manager of the Romanian public broadcaster (SRTV) on 28 March 2018. She was appointed acting general manager in September 2017 after the rejection of the activity report on 2016 and thus the dissolution of the Council of Administration led by the former general manager Irina Radu.
Anii de sâmbătă seara, a TV series created by the popular director Nae Caranfil and directed by Dragoș Buliga, premiered on Pro TV on 29 December 2018. The flagship TV series of Pro TV, Las Fierbinți, entered its 13th season in 2018.
In 2018 HBO Europe and Germany’s TNT Series shot in Timișoara, Bucharest and Frankfurt the six-episode series Hackerville, directed by Igor Cobileanski and Anca Miruna Lăzărescu. The series was created by Ralph Martin and Joerg Winger for UFA Fiction, and it was produced by Cristian Mungiu and Tudor Reu through Mobra Films. The series premiered on HBO Romania in the autumn of 2018.
The third season of the successful TV series Shadows / Umbre was also shot in Romania in 2018. The six-episode HBO series was written and directed by Bogdan Mirică. The Romanian servicing company is Multi Media Est. Shadows is based on Small Time Gangster, a format created by Boilermaker Burberry, DRG Formats licensed.
Comrade Detective, a coproduction between Amazon Studios and A24, which was shot in Romania at Castel Film Studios starring Romanian actors Florin Piersic Jr. and Corneliu Ulici (dubbed by Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt), premiered on HBO and on HBO GO on 7 January 2018.
Report by Iulia Blaga (2019) Sources: the Romanian Film Centre - CNC, cinemagia.ro
In May 2017 the Chamber of Deputies rejected the Film Law which was approved by the Romanian government as an emergency ordinance on 29 November 2016 and was aiming at bringing the Romanian film law in line with European legislation.
The Romanian Film Centre (CNC) launched only one grant contest in 2017, although the law requires two sessions per year.
The country saw a dramatic decrease in domestic admissions (from 484,739 in 2016 to an estimated 250,000 in 2017), but the number of domestic debut features increased.
Total admissions increased by 11.25 percent and total box office increased by 14 percent from 2016, according to the estimations provided by the CNC.
The most important accolades for the Romanian cinema in 2017 were the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution for editing received by Călin Peter Netzer’s Ana, mon amour, and Best Actor award given to Bogdan Dumitrache for Pororoca by Constantin Popescu at the 2017 San Sebastian Film Festival.
Most of the films produced in 2017 were supported by the Romanian Film Centre. Important filmmakers were in production with new projects in 2017. Radu Jude shot his new feature filmIs This What You Were Born For? with his regular producer Ada Solomon from Hi Film Productions in summer-fall 2017. The film is a Romanian/Czech/French/Bulgarian coproduction between by Hi Film Productions, endorfilm, Les Films d’Ici and Klas Film. Beta Cinema is handling the sales and Micro Film will release it in Romania in 2018.
Radu Muntean shot his new feature film Alice T. in August 2017. This psychological drama is a Romanian/Swedish/French coproduction between Multi Media Est, Chimney and Les Films de L'Apres Midi.
Stere Gulea shot a sequel to Moromeții, 30 years after his first adaptation of the novel by Marin Preda in one of the most acclaimed Romanian movies of all times. Moromeții 2 is produced by Tudor Giurgiu through Libra Film Productions and will be domestically released by Transilvania Film on 9 November 2018.
In 2017 Tudor Giurgiu shot his fourth film as a director and his first film as a director abroad. Based on a Romanian bestseller, Above Man, the Woman Soars / Apropierea / Sin Aliento is a Romanian/Spanish/Czech coproduction between Libra Film, Clint Movies and Evolution Films.
In 2017 Anca Damian started the production of the long animated filmThe Extraordinary Voyage of Marona / Extraordinara calatorie a Maronei, a coproduction between Romania’s Aparte Film, France’s Sacrebleu and Belgium’s Mind Meets.
In spring 2017 Paul Negoescu shot his first international coproduction, Never Let It Go, produced by him through Papillon Film & N-Graphix in coproduction with Poli Angelova through Bulgaria's Screening Emotions. Negoescu’s previous film Two Lottery Tickets / Două lozuri, an independent comedy produced by Actoriedefilm.ro on a budget of approximately 30,000 EUR, became the domestic film with the best box office (540,000 EUR / 2,403,355 RON) in 2016.
Several expected debut features were shot in 2017. Ioana Uricaru’s Lemonade was shot in Montreal and Bucharest in June-August 2017. The film is a Romanian/Canadian/German/Swedish coproduction produced by Cristian Mungiu through Romania’s Mobra films in coproduction with Canada’s Peripheria, Germany’s 42 Film and Sweden’s Filmgate Films. It is the first Romanian film made with Canadian support since 1989.
Writers/directors Gabi Virginia Șarga and Cătălin Rotaru, who were selected with their very first short film 4:15 p.m. The End of the World for Cannes short film competition in 2016, filmed their debut feature in autumn of 2017. Thou Shalt Not Kill / Să nu ucizi aka Primum Non Nocere is a 100% Romanian production produced by Adina Sădeanu through Axis Media Production in coproduction with Gabi Virginia Șarga and Cătălin Rotaru through Green Cat Film.
Hadrian Marcu shot his debut feature Shadow and Dream (working title) in 2017. The film is a Romanian/Polish coproduction produced by Anamaria Antoci and Adrian Silișteanu through Romania's 4 Proof Film in coproduction with Klaudia Smieja and Beata Rzezniczek through Poland's Madants. The film was shot in the spring of 2017.
Romania continued to host international coproductions despite the fact that a tax incentive scheme is long awaited. In 2017 Cristian Mungiu got involved in a big international project with his company Mobra Films. Palm d'or winner Jacques Audiard shot The Sisters Brothers, starring Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly and Jake Gyllenhaal, in Romania in August-September 2017. This western set in Oregon in 1851 is a French/American/Romanian coproduction between Why Not Productions, Annapurna Pictures and Mobra Films.
The Nun, directed by Corin Hardy, was the first New Line Cinema/Warner Bros. production to be shot at Castel Film Studios in 2017. The spin-off to the 2016 The Conjuring 2 was shot entirely in Romania from May to June 2017 as a medium budget production by New Line Cinema, Atomic Monster and The Safran Company.
Castel Film Studios also serviced for the Hallmark film Family Royal directed by and starring James Brolin in 2017.
The romantic drama See You Soon starring Liam McIntyre, Jenia Tanaeva and Harvey Keitel was shot in Romania in July 2017. Romania's Alien Film serviced it not only in Romania, but also in Greece and Russia.
The day-and-date release is in its early stages in Romania. Romanian distributors usually release their international films on VOD four to six months after their theatrical release. Antoine Bagnaninchi, who runs Independenta Film and distributes art house titles, says that VOD has become routine for most of his films.
Independenta Film joined the VOD platform Seenow in mid-April 2015. Seenow is operated by Direct One and is the first Romanian provider of live TV and VOD available on all screens.
However, Matei Truța, Distribution Manager with the Romanian company Transilvania Film (distributing art house films) told FNE in its Distributor of the Month section in April 2017, that “the specifics of the Romanian market are such that both VOD and Home Video are rather underdeveloped” .
In May 2016, Matei Truța also told FNE: “Presently VOD constitutes less than 5% of our annual revenues. This in the context of the Romanian VOD market, in general, being underdeveloped and struggling with piracy.”
Questioned as to where he saw VOD in Romania five years from now, Truța answered: “VOD will definitely have a strong voice in how the future of the Romanian film market is shaped, but I don’t know if the next five years will be enough to see it done. Ultimately, it will come down to correctly addressing a series of problems before the VOD market can grow: piracy and adapting the distributors' offer to the consumers' need.”
CINEPUB, an online and free of charge platform for Romanian films, was launched on YouTube by GAV on 26 February 2015. Cinepub in partnership with Google Romania shows domestic feature films, short films and documentaries. Mubi was also launched in Romania in 2015 and has several Romanian films in its portfolio. Netflix was launched in Romania in 2016.
A new Romanian film distributor Bad Unicorn made its debut on the Romanian market by releasing Ildikó Enyedi's On Body and Soul on 30 June 2017. The film had 15,781 admissions until the end of 2017.
In 2017 more domestic films were released in Romania by major distributors such as Vertical Entertainment and Ro Image 2000.
Festival exposure continued to help Romanian films to be sold abroad. Călin Peter Netzer’s psychological drama Ana, mon amour was sold by Beta Cinema to 12 territories. This Romanian/German/French coproduction between Parada Film, augenschein Filmproduktion and Sophie Dulac Productions was sold to: Benelux, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Turkey, ex-Yugoslavia, China, Taiwan, Germany, France and Mexico. The film was released in Romania by Vertical Entertainment on 3 March 2017 and had 25,146 admissions until the end of the year.
Wide Management sold the psychological drama Pororoca by Constantin Popescu to China, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Spain and France, following its premiere in the main competition of the San Sebastian FF. The film was produced by Romania’s Scharf Film & Advertising in coproduction with France’s Irreverence Films.
Soldiers. A Story from Ferentari, the debut feature of Serbian director Ivana Mladenovic, was acquired by the German sales agent Beta Cinema before its world premiere at the San Sebastian FF. The film was also selected for Toronto Festival’s Discovery section and is set for release in Romania by Micro Film on 2 February 2018. The film is a coproduction between Romania’s HiFilm Productions, Serbia’s Film House Bas Celik and Belgium’s FRAKAS Productions.
Andrei Crețulescu's debut feature Charleston aka Charlton Heston was picked up by Paris-based sales agent Versatile. This Romanian/French coproduction between Icon Production and Les films du tambour and in association with Romania’s Kinosseur, was selected for the International Competition of Locarno 2017 and is set for domestic release in 2018.
Adrian Sitaru’s Fixer / Fixeur, which was chosen as Romania’s official candidate for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category in 2018, has been sold by MPM Film to Italy, Norway and Denmark. The film was produced by Romania’s 4Proof Film in coproduction with France’s Petit Film, and was already released in Romania and France in 2017.
Since 2008, RomâniaFilm, the former cinema network inherited from the communist era, has re-assigned more than 100 cinemas to local councils, but less than 10% are still screening films. Romania is currently the country with the fewest cinema theaters per population in Europe. Seventy eight percent of Romanian towns don’t have any cinemas in use.
The first state cinema opened in Romania after 1990, Cinema Ateneu, was opened in Iași in October 2017. Local authorities invested approximately 100,000 EUR in its renovation and 3D equipment.
The plan to build an art house cinema network in Romania was the core of a meeting of local exhibitors, distributors and filmmakers, and also representatives of Europa Cinemas and the European Commission. The meeting was held during the 20th Europa Cinemas Network Conference in Bucharest (24-26 November 2017). The idea of a network including local art house cinemas was part of the Film Law elaborated by the Romanian Ministry of Culture under the minister Corina Șuteu and rejected by the Parliament in May 2017. Nico Simon, the President of Europa Cinemas, and Lucia Recalde, head of the MEDIA unit, said that their institutions might start helping the network when it is in place.
Cinema Elvire Popesco from Bucharest was among the winners of the Europa Cinemas Awards 2017 announced at the 20th Europa Cinemas Network Conference in Bucharest on 24 November 2017. Boglarka Nagy, the programmer of Cinema Elvire Popesco, Bucharest, Romania received the Best Programming Award.
Cinema City opened its 25th multiplex in Romania in Galați at the end of November 2017. The biggest cinema operator in the country, which celebrated its 10th year in Romania in 2017, opened its fourth Romanian 4DX cinema in Brăila Mall in August 2017. New multiplexes helped increase admissions, which were as low as almost 3 m in 2007, to more than 13 m in 2016. Now Cinema City dominates more than half of the market with 25 multiplexes in 18 towns, totalling 231 screens and over 41,400 seats.
The first 12 D cinema in Romania opened in the Museum of National Science in Galați on 19 July 2017. The nine-seat hall was equipped with the support of a private investor.
Ninety two cinemas were operating in Romania in 2016. Of the 393 screens, 371 were digitalised, according to the Romanian Film Centre. No statistics or estimations for 2017 were available until the wrap of this report.
A total of 19 domestic films (including one minority coproduction) were released in 2017 and had 250,000 admissions (according to the CNC’s estimations), while 20 domestic films sold 484,739 tickets in 2016.
The 2017 crop of films has not produced a popular youth film such as #Selfie 69 by Cristina Iacob (with 150,384 admissions in 2016), a comedy like Two Lottery Tickets by Paul Negoescu (133,788 admissions in 2016) or a festival darling such as Cristian Mungiu’s Graduation (55,533 admissions in 2016).
The most successful domestic films in 2017 were the nostalgic melodrama Octav, the debut feature by Serge Ioan Celebidachi with 57,068 admissions and 185,138 EUR / 858,237 RON gross (distributor Oblique Media), Ghinionistul by Iura Luncasu with 50,727 admissions and 208,077 EUR / 964,570 RON gross (distributor Vertical Entertainment), 6.9 on the Richter Scale / 6,9 pe scara Richter by Nae Caranfil with 32,996 admissions and 100,157 EUR / 464,296 RON gross (distributor Voodoo Films), A Step Behind the Seraphim / Un pas in urma serafimilor, the debut feature by Daniel Sandu, with 31,550 admissions and 81,587 EUR / 378,209 RON gross (distributor Micro Film) and Hawaii aka Uruguay by Jesus Del Cerro with 25,946 admissions and 108,549 EUR / 503,198 RON gross (distributor Ro Image 2000).
The 19 films released in 2017 include six debut features and three long documentaries, while another four debut features are ready to be released in 2018. Only three debut features and two documentaries were theatrically released in 2016.
The admissions chart 2017 is topped by Fast & Furious with 683,826 admissions and 13,315,379 RON gross. The film is followed in the box office by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Thor: Ragnarok, Fifty Shades Darker and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. An admissions chart cannot be drawn up because distributor Forum Film Romania stopped reporting admissions to Cinemagia, which is the only private initiative in film statistics in Romania. As a result, total admissions cannot be estimated until the Romanian Film Centre releases its 2017 statistics in the spring of 2018.
Total admissions increased by 11.25 percent from 13,033,687 in 2016 to an estimated 14,500,000 in 2017, according to the Romanian Film Centre (CNC). Box office increased by 14 percent from 53,684,981EUR / 241,582,416 RON in 2016 to an estimated 61,222,222 EUR / 275,500,000 RON. CNC also estimates that admissions for domestic films were 250,000 in 2017.
There was one grant session launched by the Romanian Film Center (CNC) in 2017. In November 2017 the CNC announced it would give 10,750,000 EUR / 50 m RON for feature film production (5,267,500 EUR / 24.5 m RON), debut feature production (1,612,500 EUR / 7.5 m RON), documentary production (1,075,000 EUR / 5 m RON), animated film production (1,075,000 EUR / 5 m RON), short fiction film production (537,500 EUR / 2.5 m RON) and development (107,500 EUR / 0.5 m RON). The results will be announced in 2018.
In the same session, CNC launched for the first time production grants for short and long thematical films. The theme of this session was the celebration of 100 years since the Great Union of 1918, which led to the modern state. The amount for this section was 1,075,000 EUR / 5 m RON.
According to the law, there should be two grants sessions per year, but in 2017 things went slowly due to a new Minister of Culture, Lucian Romaşcanu, who was expected to issue a paper regarding the grant contest regulations, with the Parliament's approval of the Emergency Ordinance regarding the thematical film grants.
In January 2017 the Ministry of Culture changed its name to the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, as one of its main goals in 2017 was to prepare the centennial of the union of 1918.
In May 2017 the Chamber of Deputies rejected the Film Law approved by the Romanian government as an emergency ordinance on 29 November 2016. The new law proposed by the Ministry of Culture, was aimed at bringing the Romanian film law in line with the European legislation and was approved by the Government in December 2016, shortly before the parliamentary elections won by the Social-Democratic Party.
Lucian Romaşcanu was named the new Minister of Culture, announced by the Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Tudose on 28 June 2017, following Ionuţ Vulpescu, who had been re-appointed Minister of Culture in January 2017, after the Social Democratic Party (PSD) won the parliamentary elections in November 2016.
Romania doesn’t have a tax incentives scheme yet. The former Minister of Culture Corina Șuteu announced her intention to launch such a scheme in Cannes in 2016, but Șuteu’s intentions aiming at a multi-levelled reform in the film industry were blocked when the PSD won the elections in November 2016 and rejected the new Film Law in spring 2017. A petition pointing out to the need of having a tax incentives scheme in Romania has been signed by more than 3,500 professionals since 28 November 2017.
The Government eliminated the radio-TV tax starting 1 January 2017 and started to allot similar funding to the Romanian public broadcaster and the public service.
In September 2017 Doina Gradea was confirmed by the Romanian Parliament as acting general manager of the Romanian public broadcaster (SRTV) after the rejection of the activity report on 2016 and thus the dissolution of the Council of Administration led by the former general manager Irina Radu.
Irina Radu, who had been acting general manager since September 2015, said that 2016 was a though year, when the institution was confronted with approximately 150 m EUR in debt. Romanian public television runs several channels: TVR 1, TVR 2, TVR 3, TVR HD, TVR News, TVR i, TVR Moldova and five territorial studios.
The most popular private channels in Romania are: Pro TV (member of Media Pro trust, which is run by CME, Central European Media Enterprises), Antena 1 and Antena 3 (both members of Antena Group), B1 TV (owned by businessman, film producer and director Bobby Păunescu), Realitatea TV and Kanal D (run by the Turkish trust Dogan).
Cinemaraton, the first channel to broadcast only domestic films in Romania, started airing on 30 March 2017. The channel is distributed free of charge to the subscribers of AKTA. AKTA is the brand under which the telecom company Digital Cable Systems SA provides TV channels, internet and telephony to more than 3,000 localities in 35 counties.
In 2017 Pro TV continued to produce and broadcast its popular sitcom Las Fierbinți. Launched in 2012, the series created by Mimi Brănescu and directed by Dragoș Buliga and Constantin Popescu, reached seasons 11 and 12. Both seasons were broadcast in 2017.
Also in 2017 Antena 1 started the production of the series The Forbidden Fruit / Fructul oprit, produced and directed by Ruxandra Ion. Shooting started in November 2017 and it is set to take place in Romania and also in Turkey, since the series is based on a Turkish novel.
The second season of the most popular series produced by HBO Europe in Romania, Shadows / Umbre written and directed by Bogdan Mirică, opened simultaneously on 12 November 2017 in all 19 European countries where HBO operates: Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Kosovo, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Spain. Of the six episodes two are directed by Igor Cobileanski.
HBO Romania reconsidered its dubbing policy after more than 5,000 subscribers signed a petition asking the channel to stop dubbing films in August 2017. The reaction came after HBO Romania broadcast a dubbed version of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. HBO Romania’s representatives told FNE that that the channel will respect the wishes of its subscribers and will make sure that from now on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has its original audio and Romanian subtitles. HBO Romania might also stop dubbing other titles.
CASTiNG, one of the few Romanian online original series to date, started broadcasting on YouTube on 14 December 2017. Its first episode has had 22,000 views to date. CASTiNG’s premiere came shortly after the launch on YouTube of another domestic series, Lara directed by Ciprian Iacob and produced by Mixton Movie, which has had 2.1 m viewers for its first episode from September 2017 to date.
Unlike Lara, a children and youth series played by non-professional actors, CASTiNG is a professional enterprise made with a budget of 30,000 EUR and a crew of 40 people. The production company Diud is already planning the second season and more online shows. The eight episodes are directed by young directors Millo Simulov, Andrei Gheorghe, Florin Babei, Iliana Dumitrache, Roxana Andrei and Andrei Ion.
Report by Iulia BlagaSources: the Romanian Film Center - CNC, cinemagia.ro
Year 2018 proved not to be as successful for the Slovak cinema as the extraordinary year of 2017, as it saw a decline in general box office as well as the box office for domestic films.
However, the expectations are high for 2019 as multiple high-profile productions are expected to be released.
Thirty projects registered for the 20% cash rebate at the Slovak Audiovisual Fund in 2018, compared to 12 in 2017 and 4 in 2016.
In 2018, the Slovak Film Commission headed by Zuzana Bieliková started to operate.
A total of 18 feature films (including 11 minority coproductions), 15 documentaries (including three minority coproductions) and two animated films were completed in 2018.
Multiple high-profile projects were in production in 2018, and some of them are expected to premiere in 2019.
FIPRESCI award-winner from the Toronto IFF, Marko Škop shot his new feature film Let There Be Light / Nech je svetlo in 2018. The film is a Slovak/Czech coproduction from Artileria and Negativ.
Ivan Ostrochovský’s new feature film The Disciple / Posol was in postproduction at the beginning of 2019. The film is produced by Punkchart films in coproduction with the Slovak RTVS, Romania’s Point Film, Negativ from the Czech Republic and Ireland’s Fame & Music Entertainment.
Mira Fornay’s follow-up to her Tiger Award winner My Dog Killer / Môj pes Killer, entitled Cook, Fuck, Kill / Žaby bez jazyka is expected to be completed in 2019. The film is produced by CINEART TV Prague and coproduced by MIRAFOX, RTVS and the Czech Television.
The award winning director Peter Bebjak was shooting the WWII drama The Report / Správa, a coproduction between Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland, at the beginning of 2019. The film is produced by Bebjak’s company D.N.A. and coproduced by Evolution Films, RTVS, Agresywna Banda and German Ostlicht Produktion.
Mátyás Prikler was shooting his sophomore feature Power / Moc at the beginning of 2019. Slovakia‘s MPhilms is producing in coproduction with Negativ from the Czech Republic and Hungary's Proton Cinema.
The successful documentary director/producer Peter Kerekes was also shooting his first feature Censor / Cenzorka, produced by Punkchart films and coproduced by endorfilm, Peter Kerekes and Ukrainian Arthouse Traffic, at the beginning of 2019.
Robert Kirchhoff is expected to finish his Alexander Dubček doc All Men Become Brothers / Všetci ľudia budú bratia by the end of 2019. All Men Become Brothers is produced by Kirchhoff’s atelier.doc and coproduced by Czech endorfilm, RTVS and the Czech Television.
To coincide with the 100th anniversary of the death of Milan Rastislav Štefánik, a general and important politician of the early 20th century, RTVS is coproducing three films on Štefánik, including the big budget production General / Generál, directed by Jerôme Cornau, produced by JMB Film & TV Production and also coproduced by the Czech Television.
The other two projects coproduced by RTVS are the animated docudrama The Impossible Voyage / Cesta do nemožna by Noro Držiak produced by MEDIA FILM and KABOS Film & Media and coproduced by TOBOGANG and the Czech Television, and the adventure TV series Monument / Mohyla by Andrej Kolenčík produced by Cinetype.
Twenty-eight projects registered for the 20% cash rebate at the Slovak Audiovisual Fund in 2018, compared to 12 in 2017 and 4 in 2016.
Slovakia’s 20% incentive scheme established in 2015 eased its requirements in August 2017. The minimum expenditure level was cut from 2 m EUR to 150,000 EUR for a single feature, documentary or animated film (minimum length of 70 minutes), and to 300,000 EUR for a project involving at least two such films or a television series (maximum 13 episodes of minimum 40 minutes in case of fiction and minimum of 50 minutes in case documentaries and animation).
Among the projects that registered for incentives in 2018 there are Slovak majority coproductions Muž so zajačími ušami directed by Martin Šulík and produced by Titanic production in coproduction with IN Film Praha,, Peter Bebjak’s projects The Report / Správa and the three-part mini-series-turned-feature The Rift / Trhlina, produced by D.N.A. Production and TV JOJ..
Flickering Ghosts of Love Gone by / Láska z celuloidu by French director André Bonzel and coproduced by Slovakia’s Artichoke, France’s Les artistes associaux, Les Films du Poisson, HBO Central Europe and the Slovak Film Institute, also applied for incentives in 2018.
Among the minority coproductions that applied for rebates in 2018 there are the long animated film Even Mice Belong in Heaven / Myši patří do nebe directed by Denisa Grimmová and Jan Bubeníček and coproduced by Czech Fresh Films, France’s Les Films du Cygne, Poland’s Animoon, Slovakia’s CinemArt SK and Belgium’s Panache Productions, and also Pardon / Ułaskawienie by Polish director Jan Jakub Kolski, a coproduction between Poland’s Wytwórnia Doświadczalna, Centrala, Czech Mimesis Film, Slovakia‘s sentimentalfilm and Poland‘s Telewizja Polska, Odra Film, Podkarpacki Fundusz Regionalny, EC1 Łódź – Miasto Kultury, Centrum Technologii Audiowizualnych (Wrocław), Wojewódzki Dom Kultury (Rzeszów).
A total of 32 long and mid-length Slovak films entered domestic distribution in 2018, plus two short animated films. Of the 32 films, 13 were feature films (including eight minority coproductions), 16 were documentaries (including three minority coproductions) and three were animated films.
The leader in the distribution of Slovak films is the Association of Slovak Film Clubs (ASFK), which released seven majority coproductions in 2018, all of them documentaries: Patrik Lančarič’s Válek produced by BEETLE and coproduced by Punkchart films, the Slovak Film Institute and RTVS; Marek Kuboš’s The Last Self-Portrait / Posledný autoportrét produced by his PSYCHÉ Film and coproduced by RTVS; Spirit of Jaguar / Tieň jaguára by Pavol Barabáš, produced by his K2 studio in coproduction with RTVS; ELSEWHERE / INDE by Juraj Nvota and Marian Urban, produced by ALEF FILM & MEDIA and coproduced by RTVS, Ateliéry Bonton Zlín, UN FILM, Filmpark production, Czech Fulfilm and the Slovak Film Institute; Adam Hanuljak’s Crazy Against the Nation / Prípad Kalmus produced by Mandala Pictures and coproduced by DogDocs and RTVS; Dežo Ursiny 70 by Maroš Šlapeta and Matej Beneš, produced by Punkchart films and coproduced by RTVS, the minority coproduction Freedom / Freiheit by German director Jan Speckenbach, produced by German ONE TWO FILMS and coproduced by Slovak BFILM and German ZAK Film Production, and also a documentary series Female First / Prvá by various directors, produced by HITCHHIKER Cinema in coproduction with RTVS and the Slovak Film Institute. The series of 10 mid-length documentaries was considered as one title by the Union of Film Distributors of the Slovak Republic.
Small and progressive-thinking Filmtopia released five Slovak films, including two majority coproductions - Peter Kerekes’ omnibus project Occupation 1968 / Okupácia 1968 produced by Peter Kerekes and coproduced by Czech Hypermarket Film, Bulgaria’s Agitprop, Poland’s Silver Frame and Hungary’s ELF Pictures, and An Extra Something / Niečo naviac by Palo Kadlečík and Martin Šenc, produced by KADMEDIA and OZ UP-Down syndrome.
Filmtopia also released three minority coproductions: a Rotterdam-entry The Flower Shop / La fleurière by Ruben Desiere, produced by Belgian Accatone Films and coproduced by Slovak Mandala Pictures, Belgian Beursschouwburg and Popiul and Slovak RTVS; My Unknown Soldier / Můj neznámý vojín by Anna Kryvenko, produced by Czech Analog Vision and coproduced by Latvian Baltic Pine Films and Slovak Wandal Production, and also Circus Rwanda / Cirkus Rwanda by Michal Varga, a coproduction between Czech Xova Film, the Czech Television, Slovak nutprodukcia and RTVS.
Other notable films in distribution were The Cellar / Pivnica directed by Russian Igor Voloshin, starring Jean-Marc Barr and distributed by Itafilm; Martin Šulík’s The Interpreter / Tlmočník, starring Peter Simonischek and Jiří Menzel and distributed by Garfield Film, and Jan Švankmajer’s last film Insects / Hmyz, distributed by Slovak coproducer PubRes.
Some of the Slovak films that premiered internationally are scheduled to be released in domestic distribution in the early months of 2019. The list includes Karlovy Vary awarded Winter Flies / Všechno bude by Olmo Omerzu, Talks With TGM / Hovory s TGM by Jakub Červenka, a coproduction between Bedna Films and Slovak FANTOMAS PRODUCTION, which was awarded a Special Mention at IDFF Ji.hlava, and also a IDFF Ji.hlava entry THE GOOD DEATH / DOBRÁ SMRŤ by Tomáš Krupa, a coproduction between Slovakia’s Hailstone, Czech MasterFilm, France’s ARTE G.E.I.E., Austria’s Golden Girls Film, Slovakia’s RTVS and the Czech Television.
By the end of 2018, Slovakia had 153 cinemas with 254 screens, of which 196 screens were already digitalised. They include four multiplexes, 21 mini-plexes, 22 open air cinemas (five of them digitalised) and nine alternative spaces.
Compared to 2017, the number of cinemas increased from 149 to 153 and the number of digitalised screens increased from 189 to 195. Slovakia also has one IMAX cinema, which was opened in 2015.
Several small art house cinemas operate in Bratislava. Kino Lumière, operated by the Slovak Film Institute, opened on the site of the former Charlie’s Centrum in September 2011. Mladosť, Nostalgia and Film Europe Cinema also add to the diversity of Bratislava's art house landscape, together with Kino Klap, located in the Academy of Performing Arts, Foajé and Kino inak, a screening room hosted by the alternative cultural centre A4 – Space for contemporary culture.
A new programme of support for Slovak films in domestic cinemas was launched in 2016. Every cinema has the right to apply and receive one euro per each ticket sold for a domestic title. In 2016 the AVF allotted 217,488 EUR for 2015 and in 2017 it allotted 188,048 EUR for 2016. Due to the rapid increase of admissions in 2017, AVF had to change the regulations for 2018 and ended up allotting 538,478 EUR.
Total admissions through November 2018 were 5,471,091 compared to 6,692,871 in 2017. Total gross was 30,318,033 EUR compared to 34,513,049 EUR in 2017.
The Slovak Audiovisual Fund has been the main tool of public support for cinema in the Slovak Republic since 2010. The budget of the AVF is subsidised with at least 6 m EUR annually from the country’s budget and by contributions of other subjects like the TV, cinemas and distributors. A total of 8 m EUR were allocated for the support in 2018 and the same amount is expected in 2019.
Slovakia’s 20% incentive scheme established in 2015 eased its requirements starting August 2017. The minimum expenditure level was cut from 2 m EUR to 150,000 EUR for a single feature, documentary or animated film (minimum length of 70 minutes) and to 300,000 EUR for a project involving at least two such films or a television series (maximum 13 episodes of minimum 40 minutes in case of fiction and minimum of 50 minutes in case documentaries and animation). This scheme has a separate budget according to presumable expenses of registered projects (there is no maximum limit on the budget for audiovisual industry support). In 2018, the AVF registered 30 projects for audiovisual industry support. For 2019 the budget estimate for this support is 4.7 m EUR.
In accord with the Slovak Audiovisual Fund Act’s amendment of 2017, the Slovak Film Commission was established as a unit of the AVF. The Commission’s aim is to promote Slovak film industry, to mediate creative business opportunities for Slovak audiovisual professionals and to present related services and individual regions of Slovakia. On 1 June 2018, Zuzana Bieliková was appointed manager of the SFC.
In September 2018 minor changes in AVF’s regulations came into action. The beneficiaries can use up to 7% for overhead costs now and sanctions for mishandling the support were also amended.
A funding scheme of the Bratislava Self-Governing Region was launched in 2015 to support the culture in the region. However, 2018 was the last year when projects related to cinema were eligible. In 2018 the scheme supported the development, production and postproduction of nine films and two documentary series including, The Disciple / Posol by Ivan Ostrochovský, Peter Kerekes’ omnibus project Occupation 1968 / Okupácia 1968, produced by Peter Kerekes and coproduced by Czech Hypermarket Film, Bulgarian Agitprop, Polish Silver Frame and Hungarian ELF Pictures, By a Sharp Knife / Ostrým nožom by Teodor Kuhn, Reborn directed by Iveta Grófová and produced by Hulapa film, and Konšpirácia ticha directed by Robert Kirchhoff and produced by atelier.doc..
The primary sources of information on films are the Slovak Film Institute, which celebrated its 55th anniversary in 2018, and the National Cinematographic Centre, through its specialised office – the Audiovisual Information Centre.
Slovakia is unique in the CEE as the home of the only channel devoted exclusively to European films. Film Europe Channel was developed by Film Europe Media Company, which operates two more channels: Československo HD, dedicated to Czech and Slovak cinema, and Be2Can HD, which was called Festival HD till November 2018, for films from A-list festivals.
The channel operates in Slovakia along with the public broadcaster RTVS and commercial broadcasters Slovenská produkčná (with channels: TV JOJ, PLUS, WAU, JOJ Cinema, RiK, Ťuki TV, JOJ Family), Markiza Slovakia (with channels: TV Markíza, TV Doma, Dajto), the news channel TA3 (by C.E.N.), children channel ducktv (by Mega Max Media) and religious channel TV Lux.
SLOVAK FILM INSTITUTE General Director: Peter Dubecký Phone: +421 2 5710 1503 Fax: +421 2 5296 3461
Report by Tomáš Hudák (2019) Sources: the Slovak Film Institute, the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, the Union of Film Distributors of the Slovak Republic
Slovak films set box office records in domestic cinemas in 2017. The attendance of nearly 1.5 m admissions was the strongest in the history of independent Slovakia, since 1993.
One of the most successful films in 2017 was the crime-thriller The Line / Čiara, directed by Peter Bebjak, which together with the romantic comedy All or Nothing / Všetko alebo nič directed by Marta Ferencová, topped the 300,000 admission mark.
The political thriller Kidnapping / Únos, directed by Mariana Čengel Solčanská, had almost 300,000 admissions.
Ten projects registered for the 20% cash rebate at the Slovak Audiovisual Fund in 2017, including the fourth season of the Netflix 13-episode series Outlander. The eased requierements implemented in 2017 attracted more international projects than in 2016, when four projects applied for incentives.
The Slovak Audovisual Fund together with the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic decided to make major cuts to the requirements for minimum expenditure for international productions applying to the incentive scheme and launched a National Film Agency in August 2017 to work with incoming foreign productions.
A total of 27 feature length films were shot in Slovakia in 2017: 21 feature films (including 14 minority coproductions) and six documentaries (including two minority coproductions). No long animated film was produced in 2017.
The 100% Slovak productions include the political thriller and box office hit Kidnapping / Únos, directed by Mariana Čengel Solčanská and produced by JMB Film & TV Production in coproduction with RTVS and Studio 727; the comedy Cuky Luky Film, directed by Karel Janák and produced by noemo; DOGG, directed by Jonáš Karásek, Enrik Bistika, Slavomír Zrebný and Vilo Csino, and produced by Azyl Production and HomeMedia Production; the documentary Ťažká duša / Heavy Heart, directed by Marek Šulík and produced by Žudro, the Slovak Academy of Sciences and RTVS; the family musical comedy Spievankovo a kráľovná Harmónia / Spievankovo and Queen Harmony, directed by Diana Novotná and produced by Tonada and RTVS, and the documentary Vábenie výšok / Addicted to Altitude, directed by Pavol Barabáš and produced by K2 Studio in coproduction with RTVS.
After a long break since 2011, the acclaimed Slovak director Martin Šulík shot his new feature The Interpreter / Tlmočník, a Slovak/Czech/Austrian coproduction between Titanic production, In Film, coop99, RTVS and the Czech Television. The film will have its world premiere at the Berlinale and will be released in March 2018.
Other important coproductions shot in 2017 are: Cellar / Pivnica, directed by Igor Voloshin and produced by Slovakia’s Furia Film in coproduction with the Czech company 8heads production, Russia’s Gate LCC and RTVS; Power / Moc, directed by Mátyás Prikler and produced by MPhilms in coproduction with Czech Negativ and Hungary's Proton Cinema and Belgian Les Films du Carré; the Slovak/Czech coproduction Censor / Cenzorka, directed by Peter Kerekes and produced by Punkchart films, Hypermarket Film and Peter Kerekes, and also Juraj Jakubisko’s fairytale Seven Legged Lucas / Sedmonohý Lukáš, produced by the Czech and Slovak branches of J&J Jakubisko Film Europe in coproduction with TV JOJ.
Katarína Kerekesová, the director of the children animated series Mimi and Lisa / Mimi a Líza (Fool Moon), introduced a new animated series in 2017. The Websters / Websterovci is the first Slovak animated series in 3D and is a coproduction between Fool Moon, RTVS and Polish Studio Miniatur Filmowych. This Slovak/Polish coproduction was broadcast on RTVS during the 2017 Christmas holidays.
In 2016 four projects applied for cash rebates and two of them stepped into production in 2017. The TV mini-series Mária Terézia / Maria Theresia, a Slovak/Czech/Austrian/Hungarian coproduction directed by Robert Dornhelm and produced by Beta Film (Germany), MR Film (Austria) and Maya Production (CZ) in coproduction with the Slovak RTVS, the Czech TV, the Austrian ORF and the Hungarian MTVA, was released during the Christmas holidays.
The 13-part TV miniseries Inšpektor Max / Inspector Max, directed by Jaroslav Brabec and produced by Slovakia’s Trigon Production in coproduction with the Slovak RTVS and the Czech Television, was shot and finished in 2017, with the release set for January 2018.
According to Martin Šmatlák, the Director of AVF, three times more projects applied for the 20% cash rebate in 2017 compared to 2016. They will be shot throughout 2018. The fourth season of the 13-episode series Outlander, directed by the British Julian Holmes and produced by Netflix, will be shot in Slovakia for 30 days, as well as the US/Czech/Slovak coproduction Alleraya – The Falcon Princess, directed by Slovak Palo Janík Jr. (with Filmpark production applying for rebates), InOut Studio’s 12-episode series Mistresses / Zamilované directed by Jakub Kroner, The Magic Quill / Čertovské pero, directed by Marek Najbrt and produced by Czech Punk Film in coproduction with Trigon Production, RTVS, the Czech Television, Magic Lab, Michal Bauer and Barrandov Studios, and the three-episode miniseries directed by Peter Krištúfek and produced by PubRes in coproduction with Czech Evolution Films and T.H.A.
Also benefitting from the rebates are Villa Lucia, directed by Michal Kollár and produced by KFS Production, RTVS and Czech Fog‘n’Desire Films; Dubček, directed by Laco Halama and produced by Filmpark production in coproduction with RTVS and the Czech Television; The General / Generál, a film and a three-episode miniseries directed by Mariana Čengel Solčanská and produced by JMB Film & TV Productions in coproduction with Prague Film Production, and Šťastné zviera, directed by Jozef Slovák, produced by Tatra Star and starring Ivan Trojan.
Slovakia’s 20% incentive scheme established in 2015 eased its requirements in August 2017. The minimum expenditure level was cut from 2 m EUR to 150,000 EUR for a single feature, documentary or animated film (with a minimum length of 70 minutes), and to 300,000 EUR for a project involving at least two such films or a television series (maximum 13 episodes of minimum 40 minutes).
A total of 31 domestic long films had their premiere in 2017, including 14 minority coproductions as well as nine long documentaries (including three minority coproductions), two middle-length documentaries, one long animated film produced as Slovak minority coproduction and two animated short films.
The leader in the distribution of Slovak films is the Association of Slovak Film Clubs (ASFK), which released three domestic majority coproductions: Out, directed by Gyorgy Kristóf and produced by sentimentalfilm in coproduction with Mirage Film Studio, Film Angels Studio, endorfilm, KMH Film, Punkchart Films, RTVS, FAMU, Film Angels Prods; Diera v hlave / A Hole in the Head, directed by Robert Kirchhoff and produced by HITCHHIKER Cinema in coproduction with the Czech Television, RTVS, atelier.doc and Addicted to Altitude directed by Pavol Barabáš, as well as four minority coproductions: Ice Mother / Baba z Ledu, directed by Bohdan Sláma and produced by Negativ, in coproduction with the French Why Not Productions, Slovak ARTILERIA , the Czech television , RTVS, Barrandov Studios, i/o post; Spoor / Pokot, directed by Agnieszka Holland and Kasia Adamik, and produced by TOR Film Production in coproduction with Heimatfilm GmbH, Chimney Group, Nutprodukce, nutprodukcia; Little Crusader / Křižáček, directed by Václav Kadrnka and produced by Sirius Films in coproduction with ARTILERIA , the Czech Television, Barrandov Studio, i/o post, and Wolf from the Royal Vineyard Street / Vlk z Kráľovských Vinohrad, directed by Jan Němec and produced by MasterFilm in coproduction with the Czech Television, Media Film, UPP and French Bocalupo Films.
Continental Film, a big distributor mostly of Hollywood productions, is also an important player in distributing domestic titles. In 2017 it released All or Nothing / Všetko alebo nič, directed by Marta Ferencová and produced by NUNEZ NFE s.r.o. in coproduction with Evita Film Production s.r.o. and MOJO Film s.r.o., Kidnapping directed by Mariana Čengel Solčanská, DOGG directed by Jonáš Karásek, Enrik Bistika, Slavomír Zrebný and Vilo Csino and The Third Wish / Tri želania, directed by Vít Karas and produced by the Czech Television in coproduction with Slovak TV Markíza and Promea Communication.
Forum Film released Oddsockeaters / Lichožrúti, directed by Galina Miklinova and produced by Total HelpArt - T.H.A. in coproduction with the Czech Television, PubRes, Alkay Animation Prague, Filmosaurus Rex; Filthy / Špina, directed by Tereza Nvotová and produced by Moloko Film and BFILM) , Barefoot / Po strništi bos, directed by Jan Svěrák and produced by Biograf Jan Svěrák in coproduction with the Czech Television, innogy, Phoenix Film, Novinski, RTVS; Garden Store: The Family Friend / Záhradníctvo: Rodinný priateľ, directed by Jan Hřebejk and produced by Fog'n'Desire Films in coproduction with the Czech Television, MD4, Sokol Kollár, KFS Production, RTVS, Barrandov Studios, innogy, HN film, Magic Lab, ROZVID, EUROPE Visual Consulting, Chimney Group; Garden Store: Deserter / Záhradníctvo: Dezertér, directed by by Jan Hřebejk and produced by Fog'n'Desire Films in coproduction with the Czech Television, MD4, Sokol Kollar, KFS Production, and Garden Store: Suitor / Záhradníctvo: Nápadník, directed by Jan Hřebejk and produced by Fog'n'Desire Films in coproduction with the Czech Television, MD4, Sokol Kollar, KFS Production and CinemArt.
Itafilm released two titles in 2017: Cuky Luky Film by Karel Janák and Spievankovo and Queen Harmony directed by Diana Novotná.
PubRes released two documentaries: The Lust for Power / Mečiar, directed by Tereza Nvotová and produced by PubRes in coproduction with HBO Europe and Negativ, and Červená, directed by Olga Sommerová and produced by Czech Evolution Films in coproduction with MuMo, PubRes and the Czech Television.
The young platform Filmtopia, which was launched in 2012, began distributing domestic films also on the web portal DAFilms. In 2017 Filmtopia distributed the documentaries Heavy Heart directed by Marek Šulík, Hotel Sunrise / Hotel Úsvit, directed by Mária Rumanová and produced by Punkchart Films in coproduction with RTVS, FTF VŠMU and kaleidoscope, and Varga, directed by Soňa Maletzová and produced by Punkchart Films, RTVS, the Czech Television and FAMU.
Film Europe Media Company released Nina, directed by Juraj Lehotský and produced by Punkchart Films in coproduction with Lehotsky Film, sentimentalfilm, RTVS, Czech Television and endorfilm.
CinemArt released Little Harbour / Piata loď, directed by Iveta Grófová and produced by Hulapa film, Ltd. in coproduction with endorfilm, Katapult Film, Silverart and RTVS, Garfield Film released A Prominent Patient / Masaryk by Julius Ševčík and produced by IN Film Praha in coproduction with the Czech Television, ZDF/ARTE, RTVS, and Bontonfilm released The White World According to Daliborek / Svet podľa Daliborka, directed by Vít Klusák and produced by Hypermarket Film in coproduction with Peter Kerekes, the Czech Television and BRITDOC Foundation.
There is little Slovak participation in VOD platforms, although a lot of documentaries can be found on DAFilms. The main platform for Slovak films is Kinocola, while ASFK VOD, a VOD platform launched by the Association of Slovak Distributors in 2015, is handling international and domestic titles. Private Slovak television Markíza also releases its domestic series on Voyo.
According to Martin Šmatlák, 2017 was unique also in terms of participation in A-listed festivals. Slovak majority productions winning prizes in 2017 are: Little Harbour by Iveta Grófová - Generation KPlus prize at the Berlinale, The Line / Čiara, directed by Peter Bebjak and produced by Wandal Production in coproduction with Ukraine‘s Garnet International Media Group, RTVS, HomeMedia Production and Martin Kohút - best director at the Karlovy Vary IFF, Nina by Juraj Lehotský - Bronze Pyramid at the Cairo IFF.
Also, the Slovak/Czech/Hungarian coproduction Out by Gyorgy Kristóf had its premiere in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard, Filthy by Tereza Nvotová had its world premiere at Rotterdam’s Bright Future and the German/Slovak coproduction Freedom / Sloboda directed by Jan Speckenbach (produced by German ONE TWO FILMS, ZAK Film Production and Slovakia‘s BFILM) had its world premiere at the Locarno IFF.
By the end of 2017, Slovakia had 149 cinemas with 246 screens, of which 189 screens were already digitalised. They also include five alternative spaces for film screenings and 21 open-air theatres. Compared to 2016, the number of cinemas increased from 138 to 149 and the number of digitalised screens increased from 185 to 189. Slovakia also has one IMAX cinema, which was opened in 2015.
Several small art house cinemas operate in Bratislava. Kino Lumière, operated by the Slovak Film Institute, opened on the site of the former Charlie’s Centrum in September 2011. Mladosť, Nostalgia and Film Europe Cinema also add to the diversity of Bratislava's art house landscape, together with Kino Klap (located in the Academy of Performing Arts), Foajé and Kino Inak (a screening room hosted by the alternative cultural centre A4).
A new programme of support for Slovak films in domestic cinemas was launched in 2016. Every cinema has the right to apply and receive one euro per each ticket sold for a domestic title. In 2016 the AVF alloted 217,488 EUR for 2015 and in 2017 it allotted 188,048 EUR for 2016. Due to the rapid increase of admissions in 2017, AVF had to change the regulations for 2018.
Total admissions in 2017 were 6,692,871 representing a 18.10 percent increase compared to 2016. Total gross was 34,513,049 EUR, which is 18.91 percent higher than in 2016.
Total admissions to Slovak films and coproduction titles released in 2017 were 1,430,504 and total gross was 7,201,048 EUR. Admissions to Slovak productions represents 21.37% of all released titles. In 2016 domestic titles had only 6.6% attendance from among all the released titles.
According to the Union of Film Distributors of the Slovak Republic (UFD ), the romantic comedy All or Nothing by Marta Ferencová was the most popular film in 2017 with 340,535 admissions, followed by The Line by Peter Bebjak with 329,349 admissions. In 2016 the most popular domestic title was the Czech/Slovak/Polish coproduction The Red Captain / Červený kapitán, directed by Michal Kollár and produced by Fog´n Desire Films, in coproduction with Sokol Kollár, MD4, RTVS, Czech Television, Barrandov Studio, S Pro Alfa, Krakow Festival Office, and Kino 64 U hradeb, with 86,000 admissions.
All or Nothing is followed in the admissions top ten for domestic films by Kidnapping directed by Mariana Čengel Solčanská with 278,763 admissions, Cuky Luky Film directed by Karel Janák with 116,139 admissions, Spievankovo and Queen Harmony directed by Diana Novotná with 86,555 admissions, A Prominent Patient directed by Július Ševčík with 55,183 admissions, Filthy directed by Tereza Nvotová with 50,564 admissions, Barefoot directed by Jan Svěrák with 41,203 admissions, the animated film Oddsockeaters directed by Galina Miklínová with 20,214 admissions and the documentary The Lust for Power directed by Tereza Nvotová with 15,621 admissions.
The Slovak Audiovisual Fund has been the main tool of public support for cinematography in the Slovak Republic since 2010. Its budget was 6.9 m EUR in 2010, but fell to 5.5 m EUR in 2013 and increased again to 6.6 m EUR in 2014. The fund had a budget of 7 m EUR in 2017.
The budget of AVF is provided in part by TV advertising revenues. In 2017, AVF registered ten projects for audiovisual industry support.
Slovakia’s 20% incentive scheme established in 2015 eased its requirements starting August 2017. The minimum expenditure level was cut from 2 m EUR to 150,000 EUR for a single feature, documentary or animated film (with a minimum length of 70 minutes) and to 300,000 EUR for a project involving at least two such films or a television series (maximum 13 episodes of minimum 40 minutes).
The Slovak Audovisual Fund together with the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic launched a National Film Agency in August 2017, aiming to work with incoming foreign productions.
In January 2017 the development grants increased from 3,000 EUR to a maximum of 5,000 EUR. Maximum grant for festivals increased from 200,000 EUR to 300,000 EUR per festival. Films and TV projects are now judged separately.
With a new legislation, animated films are included in the production grants contest for Slovak minority coproductions, and TV animated projects are preferred. Slovak majority productions can apply for development and production support, which have a cap of 50,000 EUR for development and 1.2 m EUR for production. The significant new element of allotting funding to minority TV productions with minority Slovak coproduction was successfully lobbied for by the Slovak Association of Animated Film Producers (APAF).
Another novelty is that one project cannot receive more than three grants from the Slovak Audiovisual Fund. However, minority coproductions and student films can receive only one grant from the AVF.
A new funding scheme of the Bratislava Self-Governing Region was launched in 2015 for supporting the culture in the region. In 2017 the scheme supported the distribution of Nina by Juraj Lehotský, The Line by Peter Bebjak, Little Harbour by Iveta Grófová and Filthy by Tereza Nvotová.
The primary sources of information on film are the Slovak Film Institute, which will celebrate its 55th anniversary in 2018, and the National Cinematographic Centre, through the specialised office of the Audiovisual Information Centre.
Slovakia is unique in the CEE as home of the only channel devoted exclusively to European films. Film Europe Channel was developed by Film Europe Media Company, which launched two more channels, Československo HD and Festival Channel HD in November 2016, in addition to Film Europe Channel HD.
The channel operates in Slovakia along with the public broadcaster RTVS and commercial broadcasters MAC TV - Slovenská produkčná since January 2017 (with channels: TV JOJ, PLUS, WAU, JOJ Cinema, RiK, Ťuki TV, JOJ Family) and Markiza Slovakia (with channels: TV Markíza, TV Doma, Dajto).
SLOVAK FILM INSTITUTE General Director: Peter DubeckýPhone: +421 2 5710 1503Fax: +421 2 5296 3461
Report by Alexandra Gabrižová (2018)Sources: the Slovak Film Institute, the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, the Union of Film Distributors of the Slovak Republic
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