COTTBUS: Coproductions are at the root of growing local film industries in Croatia, Montenegro and Poland, in the forms of coproductions with neighbouring countries and more distant partners coming in to use film incentives. A panel on the topic of film funding and incentives held on the opening day of connecting cottbus (6 – 8 November 2019) showed how the various stages of the incentives and film funding programmes are affecting production.
Christopher Peter Marcich, the relatively new head of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, told a packed room that Croatia had earmarked less than 5 m EUR for film incentives, but greenlit closer to 10 m EUR worth of projects, mainly US productions. HAVC had 5 m EUR to distribute for Croatian productions and coproductions in 2019, which Marcich said will increase by 15 – 20 percent in 2020. The Croatian film incentives of 25 percent can rise to 30 percent when productions shoot in economically disadvantaged regions of the country. Marcich’s next challenge is to implement directives which he hopes will be beneficial to independent Croatian productions, most specifically by finding ways to incentivise streaming services to allocate systematic funding for film production, much as TV stations are required to set aside funding for films. Croatian producers are looking forward to the new 5 percent minimum input into coproductions, which, Marcich said, will expand coproduction possibilities with larger partner countries.
Sehad Cekic, who has headed the Film Centre of Montenegro for two years, said that the Film Centre had supported around 15 productions in the past two years. Most of those have been coproductions with its ex-Yugoslav neighbours, but Montenegro would like to expand its geographic reach. Montenegro increased its cash rebate to 25 percent, became a member of Eurimages in 2019, and this year used 250,000 EUR to coproduce seven films. For Cekic, the next challenges are to promote Montenegro as a film destination and to work with regional countries on improving crews and infrastructure.
Poland’s new 30 percent cash rebate programme began in February 2019. Ilona Krupa of the Polish Film Institute told FNE that she expects to see the results of the incentives within the next two or three years. The required minimum spend of 600,000 EUR will rise to 750,000 in 2020, but production services will have a lower requirement. The reasoning behind that decision is to bring in foreign production that might otherwise go to the Czech Republic or Hungary to shoot. A later panel on film clusters and incubators provided a Polish model of how an organically created cluster can have an impact. A group of production companies, post-production companies and film rental companies in Krakow work together to promote the region and draw attention to the opportunities outside the Warsaw area. While the Krakow group had a modest assessment of its impact, outsiders were more enthusiastic, noting that they were putting Krakow on their radar.