The results, from the Slovak Film Distributors Union (UFD SR), show that by the end of April, attendance reached 1,215,222 -- a 35% increase over 2008's comparable numbers.
The rise was stimulated by Slovak film productions, a first for Slovakia. Following the impressive success of Juraj Jakubisko's Bathory (430,241 viewers), Slovaks began seeking out locak films. Soul in Peace by Vlado Balko, which premiered in January 2009, had 114,282 viewers -- more than 10% of all admissions -- making it the leading film of 2009.
"Soul in Peace is planned to be screened until end of July. We are distributing it on 15 copies," Martin Sestak from Forza Production Company (www.forza.sk) told FNE.
Miro Ulman from the Slovak Film Institute (www.sfu.sk) calls this unusual phenomena "The Bathory effect." Proving the point, two further Slovak films premiered this year with high admission numbers: The Great Thaw (Snezenky a Machri po 25 letech, www.pragofilm.cz), a Slovak minority co-production, has 41,994 viewers; and Mosquitos´ Tango (Tango s komarmi, tangoskomarmi.com) reached 38,979. Both films are among the top 10 in admissions.
The rising tendency in the cinema attendance has started already in the year 2008. "In 2008 Slovakia showed the highest percentage admission rise among the 27 EU countries," Ulman said. He also points out that the rise in admission is not due to a higher number of screenings, but is the result of higher attendance per screening.