After the financial crash in 2013, the film industry in Cyprus is slowly getting back on its feet with the Ministry of Education and Culture approving production grants for seven domestic films. Funds have been frozen since 2012, and this new release of funds will assist the country with a population of 1.14 m to develop as a producer of domestic films and a destination for international productions.
The country hosts a number of international and national feature and short film festivals, the largest being Cyprus Film Days. Domestic films also participate in international film festivals. Although theatrical distribution is not guaranteed in Cyprus, the island does steadily produce documentaries and short films, and has an active TV production industry.
Even with funding cuts and the fact that producers commonly work with Athens due to the two countries’ common language, Cypriot producers still managed to make culture a priority and make sure that the Cypriot film industry does not fall behind.
Cultural Officer from the Ministry of Education and Culture told FNE that film is important in Cyprus because “culture comes first, business comes second.”
Cyprus typically produces approximately two feature films annually but in 2015, as producers have been trying to complete production for release now that the economy is recovering, the number went up to six.
The following drama films are in the final postproduction stages: History of the Green Line / I Istorias Tis Prasinis Grammis by Panicos Chrysanthos, Rosemary by Adonis Florida, Sunrise in Kimmeri / Kimmeria by Simon Farmakas, Boy on the Bridge by Petros Charalambous, Five Shilling Nylon / Pente Selinia Nylon by Christos Shopachas and the documentary Forgotten Brides / I Timi Mias Thimateras by Yeliz Shukri. All the films are expected to be completed by the beginning of 2016, in time to be selected for festivals.
History of the Green Line is coproduced by Nikos Kavoukidis, Telefilm, Ministry of Education and Culture, the Cyprus Broadcasting Cooperation CyBC and the Greek Broadcasting Cooperation ERT. The film stars Cypriot, Turkish and Greek actors.
Rosemary’s producer is Adonis Florides in cooperation with AMP Filmworks.
The drama Sunrise in Kimmeria is coproduced by the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Cyprus Broadcasting Cooperation CyBC, DD Media Studios, FotoCine Studios FKS Ltd and the South Eastern European Fund.
Boy on the Bridge by Petros Charalambous is produced by AMP Filmworks in association with the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Yiannakis Papadouris Foundation.
Five Shilling Nylon is produced by Marios Petrondas and Marios Piperides with AMP Filmworks.
The documentary Forgotten Brides is produced by Stavros Papageorghiou through his company Tetraktys Films
The feature films Happy Birthday by Christos Georgiou and Beyond the Cypresses by Longinus Panagis are in the final stages of development within the Development of Production Scheme by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
No international features were shot in Cyprus between September 2014 and September 2015.
Three independent domestic feature films were released in 2015 with the postproduction support of the Ministry of Education and Culture through the Independent Producers Support Programme.
The comedy Magic Beans / Ta Magika Fasolia by Theo Panayides was shot in the summer of 2014 and released in November 2015.
The drama Family Member/ Melos Ikogenias by Marinos Kartikkis was released in November. AB Seahorse Film Productions was involved in the film’s production.
The third domestic film to be released in 2015 is the drama Conveyor Belt by Alexia Roider. The film was selected for the Cyprus Film Days in April 2015 and was produced by FilmBlades in coproduction with Blunatic Studios, Media Studios and Zedem Media.
Two long documentaries, Beloved Days/ Poliagapimenes Meres by Constantine Patsalides and Aphrodite: the Great Goddess of Cyprus by Stavros Papageorgiou (Tetraktys Films), were also released in 2015.
Aphrodite: the Great Goddess of Cyprus had a budget of 150,000 EUR and involved four years of filming in Cyprus, Greece, UK and Egypt.
Beloved Days was coproduced by Atlantis, the Cinema Advisory Committee of Cyprus, FilmBlades, Rollout-Vision and Walking Around the World.
The feature film Impressions of a Drowned Man / Entyposis enos Pnigmenou, premiered at Rotterdam International Film Festival in January 2015, after being produced in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Culture in 2012 before the funding was frozen. The film is a coproduction between Cyprus and Slovenia produced by Drytree Films (Cyprus) in coproduction with FilmBlades(Cyprus) and Restart (Slovenia).
“There are no Cypriot distributors per se in Cyprus, only representatives of foreign distribution companies which are in charge of distributing European and foreign films in general,” the Cultural Officer from the Ministry of Education and Culture told FNE.
There are no worldwide distributors specialised in distribution of domestic films, and usually distribution of domestic films is done via the producer within Cyprus. In order for the film to be released abroad a coproducer is usually needed from the country where the film is to be released, or the producer would talk directly with studios. Domestic films’ releases planned in advance have become usual in 2015.
Psefionline is the local online documentary distribution arm of the production company Tetrakys. The company withholds ten percent of revenues from the distribution of its films in order to fund other filmmakers who work with the company.
GRANTS AND NEW LEGISLATION
Cinema in Cyprus is governed by the Regulations for the Funding of Programmes to Support Cinematographic Films under the Ministry of Education and Culture and approved by the European Committee for Cinema and the European Committee for Public Support until December 2015.
According to the Regulations, low budget features may be funded by the ministry with up to 70% of their budget to a total of 850,000 EUR. For state funding, the maximum amount of funding is up to 13,500 EUR for a low budget feature, up to 26,500 EUR for a high budget feature, and up to 5,000 EUR for a documentary.
The ministry’s funding participation in development is up to 34,000 EUR for a low budget feature; up to 43,000 EUR for a high budget feature; and from 17,000 EUR to 34,000 EUR for documentaries and animated films up to 60 or 90 min.
In 2014 the Ministry of Education and Culture granted 1 m EUR for the development and production of the following feature films which began production in 2015 or will begin production in early 2016: Yianna Amerikanou’s Brothers, produced by FilmBlades, Marios Piperides’s Smuggling Hendrix, produced by AMP Filmworks, The Man with the Answers / O Anthropos Me Tis Apantisis by Stelios Kammitsi, produced by Felony Film Productions, Alexia Roiter’s Life Beneath, produced by FilmBlades, Stavros Pampalis’s The Siege on Liberty Street, produced by Med Focus and Green Olive Films, Sotiris Christou’s White Small Envelopes, produced by Out of Focus and Tonia Mishiali’s film Menopause, produced by A.B. Seahorse.
There are more than ten studios located in Cyprus 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, Mega TV, Ant1, Plus TV and Capital. Alpha TV will also become a local channel in the following year.
There are no local channels broadcasting only films.
Republic of Cyprus - Ministry of Education and Culture
Cultural Services27 Ifigenias Street2007 Strovolos – Nicosia, CyprusPhone: +357 22 809 811Fax: +357 22 809 873http://www.moec.gov.cy/en/
Report by Maria Gregoriou
Sources: Ministry of Education and Culture, Lumiere Data Base on Admission of Films Released in Europe