14-10-2020

Emergency COVID Financial Support for Slovak Cinemas

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BRATISLAVA: Slovak cinema operators, who were stunned by the government’s decision to close them for a second time as of 15 October 2020, will receive 500,000 EUR as a part of the extraordinary 11 m EUR aid package of the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic for independent culture. The Slovak Audiovisual Fund has decided to allot this amount from the 700,000 EUR support it received from Ministry of Culture.

„We originally planned this as special and quick help to cinemas in reopening them after the first wave of the corona. We wanted to encourage them to start screening properly and also to present new Slovak films that had postponed their premieres from the first half of the year or planned premieres for the second half of 2020,“ Martin Šmatlák, director of the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, told FNE.

The Initiative for support was presented to the Minister of Culture in June by the Audiovisual Fund in cooperation with cinema associations and distributors. In August 2020, the Minister informed the Fund that it had managed to obtain extraordinary resources, and the AVF announced a call. Cinemas responded with 57 complete requests, and all were supported. Together, the fund will help 176 cinemas, which represent almost 80 percent of all standard cinemas throughout Slovakia.

„However, the second wave of the corona brings another restriction on the operation of cinemas, so we are trying to send this money to cinemas as soon as possible and at the same time negotiate with the ministry on the possibility of additional funds, this time ‘compensatory support’ for cinemas, distribution and film professionals,” Šmatlák continues, „After this legislation adjustment, the Ministries of Culture and Finance will also have to find specific financial resources for compensatory aid in culture and the creative industries. We really do not have the money in the budget for such help and we cannot take it at the expense of standard project support.“

The remaining 200,000 EUR from the extraordinary contribution are used by the fund in the ongoing call for increased support for distribution, especially of new Slovak films in cinemas.