Slovakia Drives Digitalization Forward


    BRATISLAVA: The Slovak Audiovisual Fund (www.avf.sk) has taken the lead in digitalizing the country’s small cinemas.

    Martin Smatlak, director of the fund (AVF), told FNE that it had already invested 1.7 m EUR to digitalize 59 cinemas, primarily single screen cinemas, or nearly half of the small cinemas that still exist in Slovakia. “We will give out 1.2 m EUR in 2013,” Smatlak told FNE. “We expect to support digitalization of 30 to 40 more cinemas. Our ambition is to have 100 one-screen cinemas.” In addition to the small cinemas, the AVF has sponsored a travelling cinema going to rural villages for the past three years.  Slovakia’s multiplexes are all completely digitalized.

    The AVF give up to 50 percent of the cost of converting to digital, with an average cost of 70,000 EUR. Small cinimas, such as film clubs and cultural centers, can receive up to 90 percent of their costs, up to 15,000 EUR.

    The government provided an additional 700,000 EUR to support digitalization. “For the first time the Slovak government was discussing the topic of cinemas,” Smatlak said, noting that they are normally discussed and managed on the municipal level.

    The AVF takes application in four rounds of grants annually. “A lot of small cinemas have applied already,” Smatlak said. “The problem facing the small halls will be programming. We now have applications for two training programmes in the fall for programming and marketing.”