JIHLAVA: The heads of the public TV broadcasters from the four Visegrad countries – Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary - met this week during the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival (www.dokument-festival.cz), to discuss cooperation on documentaries and doc coproductions.
It was the first time the four channel chiefs have come together to discuss doc cooperation options in an area where to date there has been little in the way of coproductions. The historic meeting was the brainchild of Jihlava IDFF director Marek
Hovorka who also moderated the session.
The pubcaster helmers – Petr Dvorak of Czech TV (www.ceskatelevize.cz), Vaclav Mika of Slovak Radio and TV (www.stv.sk), Juliusz Braun of TV Poland (www.tvp.pl), and Laszlo Zsolt Szabo (www.mtva.hu) said financial conditions and possibilities for doc coproductions varied widely between their stations.
RTVS’s newly director Mika, appointed only in August, said that the station’s budget was strapped. TVP’s Braun said that, unlike his three counterparts, “Polish TV revenues come mostly from advertising. The public financing system doesn’t work in practice. Every day we are fighting in the market.”
Czech TV is in the process of restructuring, following the 2011 appointment of Dvorak, which is expected to bring major changes to CTV’s production and film financing strategy. Hungary’s state TV has undergone a major merger of its three state channels and its radio last year putting them under one umbrella, which seems to have stabilized its situation.
Czech TV and Slovak TV will mark their 60th anniversaries in 2013. The two stations were jointly founded as Czechoslovak TV when the two countries were united and Dvorak suggested it is a rationale for enhancing coproduction activities.
On the topic of coproductions, particularly in the field of documentaries, there was general agreement that films of with topics of mutual cultural interest were most likely to attract broadcaster support. Dvorak contrasted the missions of commercial and public broadcasters in a comment that bodes well for expanded coproductions, stating, “Public TV means added quality. The purpose of commercial TV is to generate as much profit as possible.” The four station chiefs also agreed that the Visegrad meeting in Jihlava was their first, but would not their last.