JIHLAVA: Central European documentary filmmakers are beginning to see some coproduction funding sources in TV stations across the region, but most will have to look westward for their budgets.
That was the tough love news delivered at the Ex Oriente Film workshop, a production “tour of Europe” offered by the Institute of Documentary Film (www.dokweb.net) on 24 October during the 16th Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival (www.dokument-festival.com), running through 28th October 2012.
Poland stood out among CEE territories, with TVP (www.tvp.pl) becoming more open to international documentaries and the Polish Film Institute (www.pisf.pl) putting funds into documentary productions.
To the north, the Baltic territories offer minor funding for coproductions – in the range of 500 – 1,500 EUR – but Latvia is expected to expand its coproduction efforts, with the anticipated introduction of a national fund offering cash rebates of up to 25% beginning in 2013. That follows the introduction of the Riga Film Fund in 2011, which offers rebates of up to 20% on local spend for foreign productions.
The Czech Republic could also see improvement resulting from a restructuring process that began with the appointment of a new director of the public broadcaster and the fresh announcement of a new head of documentary programming. The station is expected to open new slots for documentaries and is also establishing a department responsible for coproductions.
Regionally, HBO Europe (www.hbo-europe.com), headquartered in Budapest, coproduces and commissions documentaries with funding that can range from 30,000 to 120,000 EUR.
Neighboring Finland and Austria were lauded as supportive partners for CEE documentaries. Finland’s public broadcaster (www.yle.fi) offers as much as 30,000 EUR for a full coproduction with a Finnish coproducer. In addition, bringing on a Nordic territory partner can open the door to the other three territories: Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Austria demands high quality from its documentaries, but is relatively open to CEE documentaries and does not require an Austrian coproduction partner.
Likewise, Denmark can be an entry point to the hard-to-crack UK market, particularly the BBC. While France generally needs a French coproducer, it, too, can be a gateway to other markets.
Other CEE territories are also showing hopeful signs, with countries like Bulgaria and Croatia making concerted efforts to become more active in coproductions. While funds may be small, the possibility of piecing together a full financing component becomes more likely as more CEE territories actively pursue coproductions.