16-03-2020

Slovenian Cinemas Closed and Exhibitors Count Losses

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Mestni Kino Metropol in Celje Mestni Kino Metropol in Celje

LJUBLJANA: The 22nd Documentary Film Festival has been postponed and all cinemas are closed until further notice, due to preventive measures regarding the spread of the Coronavirus.

Samo Seničar, the programme manager of the art cinema Mestni Kino Metropol in Celje, told FNE: "The damage is going to be big, but we haven't been able to get the figures together yet. We also wonder about future scheduled releases while most film festivals are being canceled, plus globally, the problems with the virus do not seem to end".

The 22nd Documentary Film Festival, which had been planned to run in Cankarjev dom in Ljubljana from 11 to 18 March 2020, was postponed to 6-13 May 2020. The Retrospective section of the festival (East German Documentary 1946–1990), which was supposed to be screened at the Slovenian Cinemateque Kinoteka, was cancelled.

"All the cultural and congress activities in Cankarjev dom are cancelled, so the general management will try to evaluate the damage as soon as possible. We will try to run the Documentary Film Festival later, if not in May then in the Autumn of 2020", Simon Popek, the Film Programme Manager of Cankarjev Dom and also the programme director of the Documentary Film Festival, told FNE.

According to the recommendations of the National Institute of Public Health all Slovenian cinemas, including the leading art house cinema Kinodvor, all the active members of the Slovenian Art Cinema Association and commercial cineplexes such as Kolosej Kinematografi, Cineplexx and Maribox, are closed till the end of March 2020.

Stipe Jerič, the managing director of Maribox, told FNE: "We estimate the loss of revenues from cinema activities at about 80,000 EUR net. While we expect that cinemas will remain closed also in April, an additional loss of 124,000 EUR is estimated. Even if cinemas reopen in May (which is still questionable) we have to take into consideration other losses due to the withdrawal of major film titles. In such a scenario, I am counting on an additional revenue loss of 360,000 EUR net, which means the total loss for 2020 is estimated at around 564,000 EUR. I still hope I'm wrong, but in my opinion the cinema market will recover only next year."

Ursula Cetinski, the General Managing Director of Cankarjev dom, also expects significant losses."Our calculations show that we will suffer a 416,665 EUR loss only by the end of March, and we fear that there is still a long way to restoreing all the activities. We will start repairing the damage as soon as we are allowed to operate again, but this time it really won't work without the help of the state. Cankarjev dom will not only be affected by the cancellation of cultural events, but mainly by the cancellation of international and domestic congresses, which for us are the largest source of our own revenue, through which we co-finance art events, general operating costs for halls, and salaries", Ursula Cetinski told FNE.

On the 12 March 2020 the Slovenian Ministry of Health issued a decree that prohibits gatherings of groups consisting of 100 and more people at public events in closed spaces.