Montenegro Enacts Emergency Measures to Help Film Industry and Culture Professionals


    PODGORICA: Montenegro, the last European country to be hit by COVID-19, has announced actions intended to help the film industry during the crisis. They include a set of emergency measures which will delay tax payments of commercial film companies for the next three months, enacted by the government of Montenegro, as well as a public call for emergency support for the cultural sector, and a public call for the co-financing of script and film development from the Film Centre of Montenegro.

    The country has been in official lockdown since 13 March 2020, four days before the first Coronavirus case was officially registered, which includes the closure of cinemas, theatres and other cultural venues. The country has been introducing more new and drastic government measures on an almost daily basis.

    In order to mitigate the negative consequences of the coronavirus pandemic in the cultural sector, the Ministry of Culture launched, in cooperation with the Film Centre of Montenegro, a public call for emergency support in the amount of 500,000 EUR in the field of creativity, for cultural workers most affected by the current situation. This public call will address co-financing activities in the field of cultural and artistic creativity that serve the public interest and the protection of the socio-economic interest of unemployed artists and cultural professionals, cultural entrepreneurs, freelance artists, and cinemas/businesses whose activity has been suspended due to the Coronavirus. It will apply to film production companies, cinemas, and individuals, along with others in the creative sector.

    In addition, on 24 March the Film Centre of Montenegro announced a public call for co-financing of film works, for script development and project development, ahead of the planned calendar of the competition and with larger commitments. The deadline for submitting the applications for both calls is 24 April 2020.

    Sehad Čekić, the Director of Film Centre of Montenegro, stated: “The Ministry of Culture and the Film Centre of Montenegro immediately launched the first measures in order to help, above all, those film workers and companies most affected by the current situation: freelancers and cinemas. We also announced public calls for film script and project development, the applications for which can all be completed online from homes. At this moment, we do not know how long this will last, what the recovery process and the return to the regular practice will be like, but we are also looking for the possibilities of new forms of support. Many obligations of the Film Centre within the national and international frameworks are delayed or transformed, so we are in a highly challenging situation, in which we must continue our regular work and be ready for the return of regular conditions. Finally, it is crucial that this challenging period ends with as few consequences as possible for the health of people, and I am convinced that the film sector will recover soon. The citizens display a great need for film works during this time, which points to the essential role films play in today’s world.”

    The Agency for Electronic Media of Montenegro has also taken urgent measures, including the exemption of commercial and public broadcasters (both radio and television) from the obligation to pay broadcasting fees in the next three months. The obligations will be reduced by approximately 80,000 EUR. In addition, the Agency for Electronic Media of Montenegro has recently approved the allocation of 30,000 EUR from the Agency's funds for the purchase of respirators or other medical equipment necessary for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.