BELGRADE: For the second year in a row Film Center Serbia maintained its regular schedule of financial support contests and at the end of 2017 the Goverment granted a total of 8,482,200 EUR / 1.005 m RSD.
The Serbian/Bulgarian/Macedonian coproductionRequiem for Mrs. J. / Rekvijem za gospođu J., directed by Bojan Vuletic, was selected for the Panorama Special programme at the Berlin IFF 2017, later becoming the most awarded domestic film in Serbia in 2017 and the Serbian Oscar bid in the Foreign Language category. The film also made it to the top 50 best European films of 2017, thus qualifying for the European Film Awards nominations.
A special programme Acid Trip # 01: Serbia in Cannes, consisting of two Serbian feature films and five shorts, was organised during the Cannes Film Festival 2017. A coproduction agreement between Film Center Serbia and the French Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée (CNC) was signed in Cannes. Its first chapter was a coproduction market that took place in Paris in December 2017. Five Serbian film projects in preproduction were pitched to potential French coproducers.
It was also a great year for Serbian documentaries. In Praise of Nothing / Slatko od ništa, directed by Boris Mitić, produced by Dribbling Pictures and narrated by Iggy Pop, premiered at the Locarno Film Festival. The Other Side of Everything / Druga strana svega directed by Mila Turajlić premiered within the official programme of the 2017 Toronto IFF and won the Best Feature-Length Documentary Award at the 2017 IDFA, which is the first big prize for a Serbian film at the IDFA. The Other Side of Everything is a Serbian/French/Qatar coproduction and also the first HBO Europe coproduction with Serbia.
The long documentariy In Praise of Nothing / Slatko od ništa directed by Boris Mitić and the short documentary The Same / Isti directed by Dejan Petrović were also selected for the IDFA in the Masters and the short competition sections, respectively. With 17 new long documentaries in various stages of production, all of them supported by Film Center Serbia, Serbian documentary is heading for its full return to the world documentary scene.
The end of 2017 saw the premiere of the restored version of Slobodan Šijan’s classic comedy Who’s Singing over There? / Ko to tamo peva (1980, produced by Centar Film). The film was voted best Serbian feature film of all times in December 2016. The premiere celebrated the official cooperation between the Serbian National Cinematheque and the Vip Mobile operator, who is supporting the restoration of ten Serbian classic films set to be returned to the audience in 2018.
More than a dozen feature films were shot, produced and postproduced in 2017.
The list of films undergoing postproduction in 2017 includes: Ederlezi Rising, directed by Stevan Bodroža and produced by Mir Media Group and BALKANIC, Inc.; the Serbian/Croatian/French coproduction Teret, directed by Ognjen Glavonić and produced by Non-Aligned Films; Banditi u potrazi za mamom, directed by Kosta Ristić and produced by the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, and Witch Hunters / Zlogonje, a Serbian/Macedonian coproduction produced by Akcija Production and directed by Raško Miljković.
The list of films shot in 2017 includes: Stitches / Šavovi, a Serbian/Slovenian coproduction directed by Miroslav Terzić and produced by West End Production; Asymmetry – Three Teritories / Asimitrija – tri teritorije, directed by Maša Nešković and produced by This and That Production; Leeches / Pijavice, a Serbian/Croatian/Macedonian coproduction directed by Dragan Marinković and produced by Zillion Film; the Serbian/Montenegrin coproduction Ajvar, directed by Ana Maria Rossi and produced by Biberche; Volja sinovljeva, directed by Nemanja Ćeranić and produced by Salamander; South Wind / Južni vetar, directed by Miloš Avramović and produced by Režim; Soldier’s Lullaby / Zaspanka za vojnike, directed by Predrag Antonijević and produced by Film Danas; Psi umiru sami, directed by Nikola Petrović and produced by Red Productions and Aleksandra, directed by Saša Radojević and produced by Eho produkcija.
It is thus expected that 2018 will bring an increase in the number of domestic films completed and released.
In autumn 2017 Boban Jevtić, the Director of Film Center Serbia, announced a plan to increase the percentage of cash rebate for film production, from the present 20% on qualified expenditure for feature films, TV series, animated films and visual effects, TV commercials and documentaries. Since the implementation of the cash rebate scheme in April 2016 until autumn 2017, international productions spent approximately 58.5 m EUR in Serbia, of which approximately 35 m EUR came from feature films.
The list of international productions that were partly shot in Serbia in 2017 includes Luc Besson’s Anna (with WiP Films servicing), Enzo Monteleone’s Italian production Duisburg (with Intrigo d.o.o. servicing), Ralph Fiennes’s The White Crow (with WiP Films servicing) and the Slovenian TV show Good Neighbours / Dobro sosedje (with Met Ro productions servicing).
The list of the international productions shot in Serbia in 2017 and benefitting from the cash rebate scheme also includes the TV show pilot Krypton (directed by Colm McCarthy, with Work in progress servicing), Papillon (directed by Michael Noer, with Work in progress servicing) and Extiction (directed by Ben Young, with Extinction d.o.o. servicing).
Serbian VFX and postproduction companies continued to work on international productions in 2017. Dreamdust did the postproduction on several international films, such as: The Nanny (2017) directed by Joel Novoa, Truth or Dare (2017) directed by Nick Simon, Bullet Head (2017) directed by Paul Solet, and Incoming (2018) directed by Eric Zaragoza, the last two being coproduced and produced by Miloš Đukelić of the Belgrade-based Red Production, respectively.
Only ten Serbian feature films had a wider theatrical distribution in 2017. According to the official data, these films are: Virgin Boys / Saga o tri nevina muškarca, directed by S. Shridhar, produced by Telic Studios and distributed by Delius Film; Zona Zamfirova – Part Two / Zona Zamfirova – drugi deo, directed by Jug Radivojević, produced by Zonegrad Production and RTV Pink, and distributed by Art Vista; Diamond of the Boyana / Biser Bojane, directed by Milan Karadžić, produced by Vision Team and distributed by Art Vista; On the Milky Road / Na mlečnom putu, directed by Emir Kusturica, produced by Rasta International and distributed by FILMSTAR d.o.o.; Afterparty / Afterparti, directed by Luka Bursać, produced by Ljuti bicikl and Mashina&Zec, and distributed by Fame Solutions; Requiem for Mrs J. / Rekvijem za gospođu J., directed by Bojan Vuletić and distributed by Megacom Film MCF; Out of the Woods / Kozje uši, directed by Marko Kostić, produced by Luks Film and distributed by Art Vista; The Fucking Dog / Prokleti pas, directed by Dragan Peškian, produced by 3K Production and distributed by Art Vista; Wind / Vetar, directed by Tamara Drakulić, produced by Monkey Production and distributed by Fame Solutions and The Other Side of Everything / Druga strana svega, directed by Mila Turajlić, produced and distributed by Dribbling Pictures.
Six more feature films had a limited and/or national festival distribution: Goran Paskaljević’s Land of the Gods / Zemlja Bogova Dev Bhoomi (the first Indian/Serbian coproduction, coproduced by Nova Film and Zepter International), Goran Marković’s A Free Rider on the Ship of the Crazy Ones / Slepi putnik na brodu ludaka (a shortened cinema version of the two-part TV film produced by RTS), Predrag Jakšić’s The Return / Povratak (produced by Arte), Predrag Velinović’s Nowhere / Nigde (produced by Sirius Production), Zoltan Bicskei’s Snow of the Dream / Snevani snegovi (a Serbian/Hungarian coproduction between Arbos d.o.o. and Lumiere Kft.) and Sanja Savić’s Our Fathers, Mothers and Their Children / Naši očevi, majke i njihova djeca produced by Pankerica.
Two more Serbian films, which had their premieres at international film festivals, are still waiting to meet the domestic audience - Dejan Zečević’s Offenders / Izgrednici (produced by Biberche), which premiered at the 2017 Chicago IFF, and Svetislav Dragomirović’s Horizonti / Horizons (produced by Cinnamon Production Production), which had its first screening at the 2017 Cairo IFF.
Other films such as Petar Pašić’s Of Bugs and Heroes / O bubicama i herojima (produced by Doktor Production) and Momčilo Prerardović’s System / Sistem (produced by Vertical Media) have been trapped in postproduction for years and are expected to be finished in 2018.
Another film finished in 2017 and hoping for commercial success is Front Page Dwarfs / Patuljci sa naslovnih strana, a comedy directed by Milorad Milinković and produced by Livada Produkcija. The film was supported by Film Center Serbia in its grant contest for genre and potentially commercial films, and opened domestically on 18 January 2018. At least five more national premiers are expected at the FEST - International Film Festival in Belgrade, a major film festival held each year at the end of February and the beginning of March.
EXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE
Two new multiplexes were opened in Belgrade in 2017. The biggest multiplex chain in Serbia Cineplexx opened its third venue with eight digital screens in the BIG Shopping Mall in Belgrade. Cineplexx had already had two venues in Belgrade (with 17 screens altogether), one in Kragujevac (with six screens) and another in Niš (with five screens).
Also in 2017 Megacom Film MCF opened its first cineplex, Cine Grand in Belgrade. Megacom Film MCF also started the renovation of Dvorana Doma sindikata, located in one of the major squares in Belgrade. Soon the cinema will have one big hall and five small screening halls compared to one big hall and three smaller halls before the renovation.
In December 2017, Film Center Serbia announced the results of the cinema pre-digitalisation and digitalisation contest. A total of 230,175 EUR / 25.7 m RSD went for pre-digitalisation and digitalisation in Serbian towns of Mladenovac, Požarevac, Ruma, Čačak, Kraljevo, Vrnjačka Banja, Lazarevac, Smederevo, Šabac, Smederevo, Novi Pazar, Kruševac, Vrbas and Prijepolje.
Total admissions continued to steadily increase to 3,754,368 in 2017 compared to 3,249,097 in 2016 and 3,161,658 in 2015.
The most sucessful international feature films in 2017 were: Boss Baby (distributed by MCF-MegaCom Film) with 156,150 admissions, Beauty and the Beast (Taramount Film) with 141,168 admissions, Fifty Shades Darker (Taramount Film) with 135,894 admissions, Despicable Me 3 (Taramount Film) with 8126,404 admissions and Fast & Furious 8 (Taramount Film) with 111,301 admissions.
The most successful domestic films in 2017 were: Zona Zamfirova – Part Two / Zona Zamfirova – Drugi deo, directed by Jug Radivojević and distributed by Art Vista with 190,442 admissions, Biser Bojane directed by Milan Karadžić and distributed by Art Vista with 122,182 admissions, and Emir Kusturica’s On the Milky Way / Na Mlečnom putu, distributed by FILMSTAR, d.o.o. with 64,466 admissions. Zdravko Šotra’s Santa Maria della Salute had a cumulative 137,742 admissions in 2016 and 2017, as it was released by Art Vista in December 2016.
In 2016, the most popular domestic film in Serbian cinemas was The Flock / Stado (K12, distributed by CON FILM) with 163,395 admissions.
Apart from regular cinema distribution, Serbia has several dozen of national and international film festivals in almost all the towns of the country, which, aided by numerous film weeks and themed film events, greatly contribute to the cultural life of the country.
GRANTS AND LEGISLATION
Film Center Serbia decided at its sessions in May and December 2017 to distribute 2,363,200 EUR / 280 m RSD to feature film projects directed by Dušan Milić, Nenad Pavlović, Vuk Ršumović, Nemanja Ćipranić, Boriša Simović, Ivan Ikić, Oleg Novković, Sabolcs Tolnai, Kosta Đorđević and Ognjen Glavonić.
In 2017 Film Center Serbia suported 157 film projects or film-related projects (such as pre-digitalisation). In 2017 there were 24 contest for co-financing of feature and short fiction films, long and short documentaries, student films, experimental and video art films, genre-profiled and potentially commercial films, compared to 16 in 2016 and nine in 2015.
Serbia continued its already fruitful cooperation with MEDIA Desk, which was launched in Serbia in 2016, resulting in MEDIA support for several Serbian films: Mirjana Karanović’s Mara (produced by Film Deluks), Radivoje Andrić’s The Summer When I Learned to Fly / Leto kad sam naučila da letim (produced by Sense Production), Ivan Jović’s Shadows of the Mediterranean / Senoviti Mediteran (produced by Produkcija Terirerm) and Vanja Kovačević’s long documentary Supernova, produced by All Inclusive Films.
MEDIA has also supported the Belgrade-based production company Art & Popcorn, as well as the Belgrade’s Beldocs Documentary FF and also four distribution companies distributing European films.
During the Sarajevo Film Festival 2017, Film Center Serbia and the Greek Film Centre signed a cooperation agreement focusing on the distribution of Serbian and Greek films. Film Center Serbia also sponsored the award for best new drama series at the CineLink Drama in 2017.
In September 2017 Film Center Serbia and the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China signed a memorandum focusing on future cooperation in several areas including film production and film distribution. A partnership agreement with the When East Meets West coproduction market within the Trieste Film Festival was also signed in 2017.
Two Serbian feature films were supported by Eurimages in 2017 - Miroslav Terzić’s Stiches / Šavovi and Srdan Golubović’s Father / Otac (produced by Baš Čelik). Alongside Stefan Arsenijević’s Strahinja (produced by Art & Popcorn), Father was also supported by the French CNC. Arsenijević’s Strahinja was granted 200,000 EUR from the Film Fund of Luxembourg, as it is the first coproduction between Serbia and Luxembourg.
In 2017 the newly founded Film Centre of Montenegro supported three projects by Serbian directors Slobodan Šijan, Gordan Kičić and Stefan Malešević. Dušan Milić’s fourth film Darkling / Mrak (produced by Film Deluks) was officialy supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center..
In 2017 the Serbian National Broadcasting Company RTS kept its dominance both in production and popularity. Furthermore, it fully implemented the part of the agreement it had previously reached with Film Center Serbia as to covering the broadcast of Serbian documentary films and programmes. Thursday’s prime time slot has been reserved for such content. For the first time in the history of Serbian documentary filmmaking, RTS bought the broadcasting rights for 20 praised documentaries.
According to a research announced by RTS, its first channel RTS1 was the most popular TV channel during 359 days in 2017, compared to 342 in 2016. The list of 100 most watched shows has 93 programmes broadcast by RTS.
In November 2017, RTS (which celebrated 60 years of broadcasting in 2017) had 4.8 % rating and 20.3 % market share. The most important TV channels in Serbia in 2017 were, again, RTS , TV Pink, TV Prva, 02 TV (formerly known as B92) and TV Happy.
The most watched TV series in 2017 were coproduced and broadcast by RTS: the 10-episode retro-chic crime mystery Black Sun / Senke nad Balkanom (for the most part directed by Dragan Bjelogrlić, who starred and coproduced through Cobra Film), Selo gori, baba se češlja (coproduced by Contrast Studio) with its farewell season, Psi laju, vetar nosi (helmed by Jelena Bajić Jočić and also coproduced by Contrast Studio), and the biopic about Serbian poet Laza Kostić Santa Maria della Salute (directed by Zdravko Šotra and coproduced by Vision Team).
Also in 2017 RTS produced and aired two of its sitcoms initialised in 2016 – Neighbours / Komšije (coproduced by Vision Team) and Suspects / Sumnjiva lica (with Film Deluks as executive producer). At the very end of 2017, the second season of My Father’s Killers / Ubice mog oca, which was originally produced and aired by RTS, became part of the offer of the newly founded cable channel Top.
In 2017 RTS worked on several new series to be broadcast in 2018, such as The Nemanjics – Birth of the Kingdom / Nemanjići – Rađanje kraljevine (the 15-episode historical drama scripted by Gordan Mihić and directed by Marko Marinković, with the first episode aired on RTS on 31 December 2017) and Roots / Koreni (based on Dobrica Cosić’s literary classic, directed by Ivan Živković and coproduced by Eye to Eye film).
At the beginning of 2018, RTS aired the first episode of its new original crime mystery TV series Pet, that will be fully broadcast in spring 2018. Viewers can also expect the return of the TV series Military Academy / Vojna akademija (coproduced by Nira), that will reach its fourth season.
In 2017 TV Prva presented two new series based on foreign content – Truth and Lies / Istine i laži (originally a TV show in Argentina) and Mamma’s Boys / Mamini sinovi (deriving from an Australian sitcom). The production of TV Prva’s older hit TV series, ER / Urgentni centar and The Sinđelić Family / Sinđelićevi (the Serbian versions of ER and Los Serrano, produced by Emotion ) continued in 2017.
After several years of inactivity, Pink returned to TV production with the comedy Codename: Despot / Šifra: Despot (50 episodes during its first season coproduced by Contrast Studio). Željko Mitrović, the owner and CEO of Pink, announced that the company will significantly continue the TV series production in the years to come.
MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND INFORMATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA Vlajkovićeva 3, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia Phone: +381 11 33 45 650 (Secretary of the Ministry) www.kultura.gov.rs
Report by Zoran Janković (2018)Sources: Film Center Serbia, the Serbia Film Commission