Slovakia

    The Auschwitz Report by Peter BebjakMARKET ANALYSIS 2020

    BRATISLAVA: The COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of cinemas and to a number of measures restricting filming and travel for coproduction teams in 2020. However, Slovak filmmakers managed to complete 28 films, while distributors released 20 domestic titles.

    After new amendments to the Audiovisual Law had been approved in September 2019, the cash rebate increased from 20% to 33% starting 1 January 2020.

    A total of 45 projects registered for the 33% cash rebate at the Slovak Audiovisual Fund in 2020, compared to 30 in 2019.

    PRODUCTION

    A total of 11 feature films (including six minority coproductions) and 17 documentaries (including three minorities) were completed in 2020.

    Multiple high-profile projects were in production in 2020 and some of them are expected to premiere in 2021.

    Mátyás Prikler finished the shooting of his new feature film Power/ Moc at the beginning of 2020. The film is produced by MPhilms and coproduced by Proton Cinema from Hungary, the Power by Mátyás PriklerCzech company Negativ and RTVS. The premiere is expected for 2021.

    Tereza Nvotová completed the shooting of The Nightsiren / Svetlonoc, produced by BFILM in coproduction with moloko film and Silvera Productions. The premiere is planned for the spring of 2021.

    Chambermaid / Slúžka directed by Mariana Čengel Solčanská, produced by Bright Side Pictures and coproduced by RTVS and CINEART TV Prague, also completed production in 2020. The premiere is expected for October 2021.

    The acclaimed director Juraj Lehotský shot his third feature film Applause / Potlesk in the autumn of 2020. The film is produced by ARYTMIA s.r.o in coproduction with RTVS, Harine Films (Poland) and Black Balance.

    The animated film Of Unwanted Things and People / O nepotrebných veciach a ľuďoch directed by David Súkup, Martin Smatana, Leon Vidmar and Jean-Claude Rozec, continued production in special conditions in 2020. The film is a big coproduction between Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and France, and it is produced by ARTICHOKE, Maur Film, ZVVIKS and Vivement Lundi!.

    After the new amendments to the Audiovisual Law had been approved in September 2019, the cash rebate increased from 20% to 33% starting 1 January 2020.

    A total of 45 projects registered for the cash rebate at the Slovak Audiovisual Fund in 2020 (compared to 30 in 2019). Among them are several Slovak majority coproductions, such as: The Dormant Account / Spiaci účet directed by Miloslav Luther and produced by ALEF FILM & MEDIA in coproduction with Fulfilm and Filmové ateliéry (Czech Republic); Nobody Likes Me / Nikto ma nemá rád directed by Tomáš Weinreb and Petr Kazda, and produced by ARYTMIA s.r.o and Black Balance in coproduction with Arizona Productions (France) and Bord Cadre Nightsiren by Tereza Nvotová, photo: BFILMFilms (Switzerland); White Plastic Sky / Umelohmotné nebo directed by Tibor Bánóczki and Sarolta Szabó, and produced by ARTICHOKE (Slovakia) and Salto Film (Hungary); Applause / Potlesk directed by Juraj Lehotský and produced by ARYTMIA s.r.o in coproduction with RTVS, Harine Films (Poland) and Black Balance; Kryštof directed by Zdeněk Jiráský and produced by ALEF FILM & MEDIA and Fulfilm in coproduction with the Czech Television, RTVSUN FILM, FULLHOUSE Production Group and Barrandov Studios; The Auschwitz Report / Správa directed by Peter Bebjak and produced by D.N.A. in coproduction with Agresywna Banda (Poland), Evolution Films (Czech Republic), Ostlicht Filmproduktion (Germany), RTVS, the Czech Television (Czech Republic) and TVP (Poland).

    COVID GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

    In August 2020, the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic announced its intention to provide an extraordinary 11 m EUR aid package for the independent culture sector, of which 700,000 EUR went to the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, which decided to allot 500,000 EUR to cinema operators. The remaining 200,000 EUR were used by the fund to increase the support for distribution, especially of new Slovak films in cinemas.

    On 23 November 2020, the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic issued a call for support for technical and support professions in the culture and creative industries. In this first call, which ended at the end of 2020, the Ministry supported 269 applications with a total amount of 853,200 EUR.

    DISTRIBUTION

    A total of 20 domestic films (nine feature films and 11 documentaries) were released in Slovakia in 2020, of which six were 100% Slovak productions, four majority coproductions and 10 minority coproductions.

    The Association of Slovak Film Clubs (ASFK) was the leader in distributing domestic titles in 2020 with three 100% Slovak productions: Earthly Paradise / Raj na zemi directed by Jaro Vojtek and produced by MPhilms in coproduction with RTVS; Salto Is the King / Salto je kráľ directed by Pavol Barabáš and produced by K2 studio in coproduction with RTVS, and Milan Applause by Juraj Lehotský, credit: ArytmiaSládek directed by Martin Šulík and produced by TITANIC in coproduction with RTVS, the Slovak Film Institute and Grimaldi production.

    ASFK also released the Slovak minority coproduction Alchemical Furnace / Alchymická pec directed by Jan Daňhel, Adam Oľha, and produced by Pubres in coproduction with ATHANOR, as well as the minority coproductions Droneman / Modelář directed by Petr Zelenka and produced by Czech 0.7 km films in coproduction with the Czech TelevisionHangar FilmsPunkchart FilmsFabula; and Pardon / Ułaskawienie directed by Jan Jakub Kolski and produced by Wytwórnia Doświadczalna and Centrala in coproduction with Czech Mimesis Film, Slovak sentimentalfilm and Polish Telewizja PolskaOdra Film, Podkarpacki Fundusz Regionalny, EC1 Łódź – Miasto Kultury, Centrum Technologii Audiowizualnych (Wrocław) and Wojewódzki Dom Kultury (Rzeszów).

    Continental Film released the 100% Slovak production Tempos directed by Nazarij Kľujev, Roman Kelemen and Maxim Kľujev, and produced by Red Bull Slovensko in coproduction with TOXPRO, as well as the Slovak majority coproduction Video Kings / Králi videa directed by Lukáš Bulava and produced by Artactive Production in coproduction with Blackout Productions.

    Continental Film also released the minority coproduction Far Too Personal / Príliš osobná známosť directed by Marta Ferencová and produced by Czech Joy Department in coproduction with Slovak NUNEZ NFE and Trinity Pictures.

    CinemArt SK released two Slovak majority coproductions: Scumbag / Sviňa directed by Mariana Čengel Solčanská and Rudolf Biermann, and coproduced by CinemArt SKIN Film Praha and Magic Seven Slovakia, and Summer Rebels / Letní rebeli directed by Martina Saková and produced by Slovakia’s Silverart and Germany‘s Projector23, in coproduction with RTVS.

    CinemArt SK also released the minority coproduction Charlatan / Šarlatán directed by Agnieszka Holland and produced by Marlene Film Production in coproduction with Film and Music Entertainment (Ireland), Madants (Poland), Furia Film , the Czech TelevisionBarrandov Studio and RTVS.

    Of Unwanted Things and People by David Súkup, Ivana Laučíková, Leon Vidmar and Jean Claude Rozec, photo: Maur FilmThe small but progresive distribution company Filmtopia released the Slovak majority coproduction Servants / Služobníci aka Disciple directed by Ivan Ostrochovský and produced by Punkchart films in coproduction with the Slovak RTVS, Romania’s Point Film, Negativ from the Czech Republic, Ireland’s Film & Music Entertainment, Slovak LEV Design and sentimentalfilm.

    Filmtopia also released two minority coproductions: Caught in the Net / V sieti directed by Vít Klusák and Barbora Chalupová, and produced by Hypermarket Film in coproduction with Czech Television, RTVS, Peter Kerekes and helium FILM, as well as Old Timers / Staříci directed by Martin Dušek and Ondřej Provazník, and produced by endorfilm in coproduction with the Czech Television and sentimentalfilm.

    Film Expanded, the new alternative distribution company focusing on creative documentaries, released the 100% Slovak production The Golden Land / Zlatá zem directed by Dominik Jursa and produced by HITCHHIKER Cinema in coproduction with RTVS, FLEISCHER production and FTF VŠMU, as well as the successful experimental documentary FREM, a minority coproduction directed by Viera Čákanyová and produced by Hypermarket Film in coproduction with Punkchart films and the Czech Television.

    Bontonfilm released the 100% Slovak production Ice-Hockey Dream / Hokejový sen directed by Marek Vaňous and produced by promovie in coproduction with HomeMedia Production.

    Magic Box Slovakia released the Slovak/Czech coproduction Meky directed by Šimon Šafránek and produced by Pubres and Negativ in coproduction with Miro agency, the Czech Television and RTVS.

    Forum Film released the minority coproduction The Banger / Bourák directed by Ondřej Trojan and produced by Total HelpART T.H.A. in coproduction with the Czech Television, Pubres, bpdpartners, innogy and Fortuna Film and TV. 

    Some of the Slovak films that premiered internationally are scheduled to be released in domestic distribution in the early months of 2021. The list includes the feature films: Man with Hare Ears / Muž so zajačími ušami directed by Martin Šulík and produced by TITANIC s.r.o. and IN Film Praha in coproduction with RTVS and the Czech TelevisionCook, F**k, Kill / Žaby bez jazyka directed by Mira Fornay and produced by CINEART TV Prague in coproduction withRTVS, the Czech Television, Synergia film and MIRAFOXForebodings / Predtuchy directed by  Rebeka Poláková in Nobody Likes Me by Tomáš Weinreb and Petr Kazda.jpgVyacheslav Kristofovich and produced by Garnet International Media Group and Taura (Lithuania) in coproduction with Wandal Production; Shadow Country / Krajina ve stínu directed by Bohdan Sláma and produced by Luminar film in coproduction with Filmpark production, the Czech Television and i/o post, as well as The Pack / Smečka directed by Tomáš Polenský and produced by 8Heads Productions in coproduction with Furia Film and EgoMedia.

    Among the domestic documentaries that premiered internationally and are scheduled to be released at the beginning of 2021 is the winner of the 24th Ji.hlava IDFF White on White / Biela na bielej directed by Viera Čákanyová and produced by Guča in coproduction with Marina Films (Czech Republic); as well as King Bee / To ta monarchia directed by Vladislava Sarkány and produced by sarkany in coproduction with RTVS.

    VOD PLATFORMS AND ONLINE DISTRIBUTION

    Alongside mainstream platforms available in Slovakia such as Netflix, HBO GO and Amazon´s Prime Video, several alternative VOD platforms provide streaming of art films, award winning titles, documentaries and domestic titles.

    Edisonline, the first Czech/Slovak online video library, focuses mainly on award-winning European titles. At the price of a cinema ticket (6 EUR per month), viewers can choose among over 300 titles and have access to online broadcasting of two film TV channels, Film Europe and Film Europe +.

    In February 2020, the international streaming service DAFilms launched the regional platform dafilms.sk, which became the largest VOD platform in Slovakia, primarily focusing on local content. Priority is given to original documentaries, films at the crossroads of genres, experimental and art films, as well as current domestic feature films and important foreign titles.

    On 22 April 2020 the Slovak distribution company Filmtopia started the new project Filmtopia Online at Your Home, offering a diverse selection of quality films online. Database includes art Kryštof by Zdeněk Jiráskýfilms, classics, art documentaries, experimental films and Slovak films. 

    ASFK is the new VOD platform provided by The Association of Slovak Film Clubs, which currently offers around 35 club film titles and world-acclaimed films, to which more recent titles are to be added.

    VOD platform Kinocola is specialised in Slovak content and provides 22 feature films, 17 documentaries, 12 short films, 19 TV series and 42 episodes of the TV documentary GEN.SK.

    Kinedok.net, the independent distribution platform for documentary films in Eastern and Central Europe, focused in 2020 mainly on online VoD screenings. Currently, it allows viewers in Slovakia to access 27 documentaries, while the ticket price is usually 2.50 EUR.

    Kino Lumière, which is operated by the Slovak Film Institute, launched the Cinema at Home online platform. That inspired other cinemas across the country, which also started to use this platform (Kino Úsmev Košice, Kino Iskra Kežmarok, Kino Akademik Banská Štiavnica, Kino Fontána Piešťany).

    Unlike the VOD platforms, on Cinema at Home viewers buy a ticket for an online screening and watch the film in real time, without the possibility of stopping, thus having the opportunity to see current cinema premieres even though cinemas are closed. For selected titles, the audience also receives lectures or bonuses in the form of short films.

    #kináspolu is a platform based on the same principle in order to support the functioning of local cinemas during their closure. Viewers can choose their local cinema from the cinemas involved in the project (Kino Film Europe Bratislava, Kino Lastovička Dubnica nad Váhom, Kino Úsmev Košice, Kino Junior Levice, Kino Záhoran Malacky, Kino Mier Modra, Kino PKC Pezinok, Kino Tatran Poprad, Kino Šaľa, KC Malý Berlín Trnava, Kino Zálesie Zálesie) and purchase a ticket from the programme. The films can be watched only in real time. 

    KINO Z GAUČA was a similar project that had the ambition to move films from cinemas to living rooms, and was available during the first wave of lockdown (March-May 2020). 

    Some film events moved online due to the restrictions caused by the pandemic, whereas several domestic titles eventually premiered.

    Nightsiren by Tereza Nvotová, photo: BFILMThe 6th Slovak Film Week, the showcase of domestic production, took place in a reduced online format from 20 to 26 October 2020 through dafilms.sk and dafilms.cz. Selected films were also screened on the Lumière cinema's online platform until 10 November 2020. From 7 to 11 December 2020 accompanying events took place in the Lumière cinema.

    The 21st IFF One World Festival Bratislava screened (through dafilms.sk and Lumière cinema's online platform) almost 50 documentaries and dozens of discussions from 5 to 11 November 2020. Several domestic titles premiered there, such as FREM directed by Viera Čákanyová and produced by Hypermarket Film in coproduction with Punkchart films and the Czech Television; The Commune / Komúna directed by Jakub Julény and produced by HITCHHIKER Cinema in coproduction with RTVS and Backround Films (Czech Republic); King Bee / To ta monarchia directed by Vladislava Sarkány and produced by sarkany in coproduction with RTVS, and Unseen / Neviditeľná directed by Maia Martiniak and produced by ARINA.

    The 7th edition of Be2Can, a festival of award-winning films from the Berlinale, Venice and Cannes, applied the principle of a multi-platform distribution through cinema, TV and VOD. After screening in the Czech Republic, the showcase took place online on the Edisonline platform from 23 to 29 November 2020, and also in selected cinemas and cultural spaces across Slovakia.

    EXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Through In October 2020 Slovakia had 162 cinemas with 263 screens, of which 195 had already been digitalised (including six open air theatres). They include four multiplexes, 21 miniplexes, 97 single screens, 24 open air theatres, two traveling theatres, one drive-in and 14 alternative spaces.

    The number of cinemas decreased from 170 to 163 and the number of digitalised screens decreased from 197 to 195, compared to 2019.

    Earthly Paradise by Jaro VojtekSlovakia also has one IMAX cinema, which opened in 2015.

    Several small art house cinemas operate in Bratislava. Kino Lumière has been operated by the Slovak Film Institute on the site of the former Charlie’s Centrum since September 2011. MladosťNostalgia and Film Europe Cinema also add to the diversity of Bratislava's art house landscape, together with Foajé and Kino inak, a screening room hosted by the alternative cultural centre A4 – Space for Contemporary Culture.

    In 2020 the Slovak Audiovisual Fund supported 114 cinemas with a total amount of 1,130,139 EUR through a programme focused on support of 1 EUR for each admission to a Slovak film, including minority coproductions (0.50 EUR for a film with more than 100,000 total admissions). The programme was launched in 2016. Every cinema has the right to apply.

    Cinemas were closed several times during 2020. In the first wave of the pandemic cinemas were closed from 10 March to 19 May 2020. Kino Úsmev Košice was the first cinema which opened on 21 May. The second wave brought restrictions in early October and cinemas were closed again on 15 October. On 16 November it was possible to reopen cinemas with half the capacity (Artkino Metro Trenčín opened first, on 17 November), but since the end of 2020, blocking restrictions did not allow people to go to the cinema. At the beginning of 2021 the cinemas were still closed.

    In total, cinemas had to be closed 116 days in 2020. However, they were closed a few days longer because for several reasons it was not possible to open them immediately.

    The cinema screenings dropped by more than 50% through September 2020 compared to 2019.

    Total admissions were 2,336,213 through 31 October 2020, with a decrease of 64% compared to 2019, when total admissions were 6,529,320. Total gross decreased by 62.89% through the end of October 2020 compared to 2019, according to official statistics.

    The reduction of the market share of US films in Slovak distribution, caused by the pandemic, increased the domestic films‘ share in cinemas from 16.47% in 2019 to 30.54% in 2020 through September 2020.

    FREM by Viera ČákanyováGRANTS AND NEW LEGISLATION

    The Slovak Audiovisual Fund has been the main tool of public support for cinema in the Slovak Republic since 2010. The budget of the AVF is subsidised with at least 6 m EUR annually from the country’s budget and by the contributions of other subjects, like TV channels, cinemas and distributors.

    The average yearly support from 2010 to 2020 (standard grants for audiovisual culture) was 7.8 m EUR. The estimated support in 2021 is 8 m EUR.

    In 2020, the Slovak Audiovisual Fund registered 691 applications for audiovisual culture support, of which 419 (60.9%) were supported with a total amount of 9.06 m EUR (on 26 January 2020). 

    Established in 2015, Slovakia’s 33% incentive scheme (which had been 20% before 1 January 2020) eased its requirements starting August 2017. In 2020 the Fund supported film projects with the total amount of 2.5 m EUR. The minimum sum of expenses is at least 300,000 EUR for feature TV series and 100,000 EUR for feature films and documentary series, and 50,000 EUR for documentary film, animation film or series.

    The cash rebate support of the audiovisual industry has a separate budget according to the presumable expenses of registered projects (there is no maximum limit of budget for the audiovisual industry support). In 2016 -2020 the total cash rebate support provided by the Fund was 4.5 m EUR. The budget estimate for this support for 2021 is 5.7 m EUR.

    In 2021 the maximum amount of support for one project remains the same as it was in 2020: 50,000 EUR for development, 2 m EUR for production, and 25,000 EUR for distribution.  However, the support for minority productions decreased from 250,000 EUR in 2020 to 200,000 EUR in 2021.

    A total of 500,000 EUR were redistributed to cinemas by the Slovak Audiovisual Fund as part of the extraordinary 11 m EUR aid package of the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic for independent culture. In the first phase, 176 cinemas received a total amount of 502,400 EUR. For cinemas that missed the September deadline, the fund prepared another call. In the second round, the Slovak Audiovisual Fund supported another 11 cinemas. The total number of supported cinemas thus increased to 187 (68 cinema operators), which represents almost 85% of all standard cinemas in Slovakia. The total amount for this specific support was 539,800 EUR, from which 39,800 EUR were provided by the fund from its own resources.

    Scumbag by Mariana Čengel Solčanská and Rudolf BiermannIn accord with the Slovak Audiovisual Fund (AVF) Act’s amendment of 2017, the Slovak Film Commission was established as a unit of the AVF. The Commission’s aim is to promote the Slovak film industry, to mediate creative business opportunities for Slovak audiovisual professionals and to present related services and individual regions of Slovakia. Zuzana Bieliková was appointed manager of the SFC on 1 June 2018.

    The primary source of information on films is the Slovak Film Institute through its specialised office, the Audiovisual Information Centre.

    TV

    Slovakia is unique in the CEE as the home of the only channel devoted exclusively to European films. Film Europe Channel was developed by Film Europe Media Company, which operates two more channels - Československo HD, dedicated to Czech and Slovak cinema, and Be2Can HD, which had been called Festival HD till November 2018, for films from A-list festivals.

    The channel operates in Slovakia along with the public broadcaster RTVS (Jednotka, Dvojka, Trojka) and commercial broadcasters: Slovenská produkčná (with channels: TV JOJJOJ PLUSWAUJOJ CinemaJojko, JOJ Family, Ťuki TV, CS Film, CS Mystery, CS History, CS Horror), Markiza Slovakia (with channels: TV Markíza, TV Doma, Dajto), the news channel TA3 (by C.E.N.), children channel ducktv (by Mega Max Media) and religious channel TV Lux.

    CONTACTS:

    SLOVAK AUDIOVISUAL FUND
    Director: Martin Šmatlák
    Grösslingová 53
    SK-811 09, Bratislava
    Phone: +421 5923 4545
    Fax: +421 5923 4461
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    www.avf.sk

    SLOVAK FILM COMISSION
    Manager: Zuzana Bieliková
    Grösslingová 53
    SK-811 09, Bratislava
    Phone: +421 905 360 033
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    SLOVAK FILM INSTITUTE
    General Director: Peter Dubecký
    Phone: +421 2 5710 1503Summer Rebels by Martina Saková, photo: Silverart
    Fax: +421 2 5296 3461
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    www.sfu.sk

    AUDIOVISUAL INFORMATION CENTER
    Miroslav Ulman
    Lea Pagáčová
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    www.aic.sk

    NATIONAL CINEMATOGRAPHIC CENTRE
    Director: Rastislav Steranka
    Phone: +421 2 5710 1526
    Phone/fax: +421 2 5273 3214
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    RADIO AND TELEVISION OF SLOVAKIA
    Mlynská dolina
    845 45 Bratislava
    Phone: +421 2 6061 1103
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    www.rtvs.sk

    Report by Zuzana Točíková Vojteková (2021)
    Sources: the Slovak Film Institute, the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, the Union of Film Distributors of the Slovak Republic