Due to the financial crisis that hit Cyprus in 2013, the Ministry of Education and Culture was forced to stop funding the film industry. For the first time since then, the ministry approved production grants of a total of 1 m EUR for seven domestic films in 2015.
Continuing its efforts to encourage filmmakers in Cyprus, a country with a population of 1.14 m, 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, which have been put in place for the first time since 2013, are yet to be announced.
In 2016 the country hosted a number of international and national feature and short film festivals, the largest being Cyprus Film Days. Domestic films also participated 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 though seven films received grants in 2015, most of them have been slow to complete the production and shooting stages. The feature films that have already been produced are Boy on the Bridge, directed by Petros Charalambous and produced by FilmWorks, The Story of the Green Line, directed by Panicos Chrysanthou and produced by Artimages Ltd, Five Shilling Nylon, directed by Christos Siopachas and produced by AMP Filmworks, and Chinatown - The Three Shelters, directed by Aliki Danezi-Knudsen and produced by Roads & Oranges Films.
Rosemarie, directed by Adonis Florides and produced by AMP Filmworks, and Sunrise in Kimmeria, directed by Simon Farmakas and produced by FotoCine Studios Ltd. are in final stages of postproduction. The documentary Price of a Daughter, directed by Yeliz Shukri and produced by Tetraktys Film Productions, is also in the final stages.
Films that completed shooting towards the end of 2016 and are expected to be released in 2017 are Happy Birthday, directed by Christos Georgiou and produced by Lychnari Production Ltd, Clementine directed by Longios Panayi and Smuggling Hendrix, directed by Marios Piperides and produced by FilmWorks.
There are six films in final development and expected to start shooting in 2017 or in early 2018. These are White Small Envelopes, directed by Sotiris Christou and produced by Out of Focus Ltd, Menopause, directed by Tonia Misiali and produced by A.B. Seahorse Film, Life Beneath, directed by Alexia Reuters and produced by Filmblades Ltd, Brothers, directed by Gianna Americanou and produced by Filmblades Ltd, The Man with Answers directed by Stelios Kammits and The Siege on Liberty Street directed by Stavros Pamballis.
Cyprus typically produces approximately two feature films annually.
No international feature films were shot in Cyprus in 2016.
Two films stood out in the international festival circuit in 2016 - Boy on the Bridge, directed by Petros Charalambous and produced by FilmWorks, and The Story of the Green Line, directed by Panicos Chrysanthou and produced by Artimages Ltd. Boy on the Bridge also participated in the Festa del Cinema di Roma - Alice in the City, where it had its premiere. It was also shown at the Panorama of European Cinema in Athens, where it received the award for best film, and it also won the Best Film Young Jury Cinephile award from the Grain A Demoure festival in France.
These two films were not released in Cypriot cinemas in 2016.
The independent short film Antidote directed by Michael Chapessi, was selected for the 39th National Festival for Greek Short Drama in Athens. It received the award for best film in the Greeks in the World section.
“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 the 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 became usual in 2016.
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.
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 of up to 60 or 90 min.
In 2016 the Ministry of Education and Culture announced that it would accept applications for a script development grant for low budget feature films and short films. No other grants were approved.
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, MegaONE (previously called Mega), Ant1, Plus TV, Capital and Alpha TV.
In 2016 the most important new domestic series were the comedy series Mamma Mia directed by Stavros Potamaris, which was broadcast on Ant 1, the satirical show Facatetous, which was broadcast on MegaONE, and the local period drama Galatia directed by Costas Kostopoulos and Paris Prokopiou, which was aired on Sigma.
There are no local channels broadcasting only films.
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://www.moec.gov.cy/en/
Report by Maria Gregoriou (2017)Sources: Ministry of Education and Culture, Lumière Database on Admission of Films Released in Europe