ZAGREB: Daniel Rafaelić spoke to FNE about his main objectives and the challenges that lay ahead. In May 2017, he was named director of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) for a four year term, after a unanimous vote at a meeting of the Board of Directors.
Rafaelić succeeded Hrvoje Hribar, who resigned in February 2017 following a controversial report by the State Audit Office. His departure elicited an international letter of support for Hribar. Rafaelić was appointed acting director of HAVC in February 2017.
FNE: What are your main objectives as the new Head of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre?
Daniel Rafelić: One of my main tasks is to strengthen the Croatian Audiovisual Centre as an institution with a clear policy for the state fund management. It is relevant for Croatian film to be autonomous within the guidelines of the National Programme.
The battle against piracy and the promotion of Croatian films abroad are also in the forefront of HAVC's work much more now than before. And films that have already been approved will need to be developed in the coming period as well.
FNE: Where do you see the Croatian film industry now and what do you want to change?
Daniel Rafelić: Awards and prizes at the biggest global festivals speak to the quality of Croatian cinematography. But a large number of culture enthusiasts need to be encouraged to go to the cinema. That is something that needs to change and we are working on it methodically. I think it's incredibly important that Croatian cinema improves its communication with local moviegoers by dealing with themes that interest them.
A good example is films based on books that can be viewed in cinemas and later on television or on-demand. Another good example is films that can be part of tourism promotion, the kind of souvenir that every tourist would like to take home.
FNE: You said in a statement: "Emphasis is on the fight against content piracy, film education and raising awareness of the importance of Croatian film." How will you achieve those goals?
Daniel Rafelić: Education is vital. People need to learn why downloading films is bad; we need to raise awareness so that they may understand not only that what they are doing is illegal, but that they are harming the community and depriving film professionals from earning a living, from getting reimbursed for investments on their works.
In parallel with systematic education, video-on-demand also needs to be developed. I like the Canadian example, where you can watch any film for one dollar.
FNE: What are the most important challenges ahead of you and how can they be beaten?
Daniel Rafelić: Croatia will soon see changes in the law on AV activities. Practice has shown that amendments are necessary and that they are the key to include the whole film community in the debate when the time comes. There will be a lot of work, but I am sure that with a common synergy we can come to a solution that is the best for us all.