New Slovak film law

By Cathy Meils in Bratislava
    The draft of the new Slovak special law on audiovisual funds, which was passed in parliament on November 5, is awaiting the president's signature in order to take effect on January 1.

    The new law will impose a 2% tax on all commercial TV advertising revenues, and 5% on public TV ad revenues, which will be designated for audiovisual spending. The tax is expected to increase the budget by as much as €3 million. In addition, the law puts in place a levy of one Slovak crown (€0.03) on each cinema ticket sold, and a 1% tax on video distribution and cable revenues. The entire amount is expected to reach €4 million, which would in effect double the current budget for all audiovisual spending, including funding for film production.

    "We have been waiting for this for 18 years," Martin Smatlak, advisor to the Slovak Film Institute (www.sfu.sk) told FNE. "Now we need to develop a good strategy for the next three to five years, how to develop the audiovisual market in Slovakia. For example, we have no film labs in Slovakia."

    The tenure of Culture Minister Marek Madaric, a former scriptwriter, has been a boon for Slovak filmmakers. Madaric appeared at the opening night ceremony of the 10th Bratislava International Film Festival, running through December 5, to convincingly declare his support for the film industry and the festival in its 10th anniversary edition. One of the most anticipated side events of the festival is the presentation of new Slovak films in production or awaiting release.