PLZEN: International industry representatives turned out in force for the Finale Plzen newly re-invigorated Industry Days, which took place 22-25 April 2017.
Marketa Santrochova, head of the Czech Film Center told FNE that she waited until the second year of the festival’s new management before launching the revitalised programme and inviting a who’s who of CEE film decision-makers. They came armed with information to share regarding new programmes and initiatives of interest to regional filmmakers.
Rolandas Kvietkauskas, director of the Lithuanian Film Center, told the packed room that “Coproductions have a priority in funding.” The center, with an annual budget of 4 m EUR, has supported 15 coproductions in the past three years, giving up to 100,000 EUR for minority coproductions. Around two-thirds of supported films are coproductions. He noted that Lithuania is increasing cooperation with Poland and the Ukraine, adding that two Lithuanian productions are currently seeking Czech partners. Outside of Vilnius, Lithuania is establishing regional film commissions to assist film production.
Serbia could see a boost in film funding with the passing of a new audiovisual law, expected by the end of 2017. The new law would double the current 6 m EUR budget of Film Center Serbia with private funds collected from TV stations, Boban Jevtić, the head of Film Center Serbia, said. Minority coproductions received 700,000 from the fund, which was double the amount from the year earlier, and documentaries are also receiving more funding.
Farther afield, the Ukraine could become a more serious competitor to its CEE neighbors, with a hoped-for introduction of film incentives and efforts to join Eurimages. Czech producer/director Vaclav Marhoul is producing his new effort Painted Bird there, and the Ukraine is actively seeking coproductions with neighboring Slovakia, and also has a Lithuanian coproduction underway.
Rounding up other news from the region, Estonia will host a film and media conference 27-28 November 2017 as part of the Black Nights industry programme and in connection with Estonia’s presidency of the EU. Nearby, Vilnius just wrapped its most successful film festival with 114,000 admissions. The Czech Film Center will begin collaborating with Les Arcs festival, sending three or four projects there at the end of 2017. And connecting-cottbus will launch a works-in-progress section in the 2017 edition.