FNE 2010 Visegrad Special: Slovakia

By Ondrej Starinsky

    The most important development in Slovak cinema in 2010 was the advent of financial support through the new Slovak Audiovisual Fund which began to process grant applications this year. In the first round, there were 190 applications for funding support of almost 5.5 million EUR, out of which just over 3.3 million EUR went to production. A second round of grants will be awarded by the end of 2010.

     During the first six months Slovakia saw a decline in the number of completed films. Only one Slovak fiction feature film premiered: Flying Cyprian (www.lietajucicyprian.sk) by VŠMU graduate Marianna Čengel-Solčanská. The story is based on a legend of an 18th Century monk who became famous thanks to his herb collection. According to the legend, he created a set of wings and took off with them to be never seen again.

    The movie, which opened on 29 July 2010 had mixed reviews and garnered just over 50,000 admissions. Box office during the first six months of the year has been dominated by US films, with Avatar reaching 352,000 admissions. According to Union of Film Distributors of the Slovak Republic (www.ufd.sk), attendance for the first six month reached 1.8 milion, trailing 2009 which had 4.1 milion, the best result since 1996.

    Several major film festivals took place in the country in the first sixth months as well: the 17th International Film, TV & Video Festival FEBIOFEST 2010 (www.febiofestsk.sk) toured 8 Slovak cities (Bratislava, Poprad, Košice, Banská Bystrica, Prešov, Martin, Trenčín, Nitra, March 26 - April 27); and the 18th International Film Festival ARTFILMFEST (www.artfilmfest.sk) (June 18 - 26). The 5th International Film Festival CINEMATIK Piešťany (www.cinematik.sk) (September 9 - 15) launched a new competitive section dedicated to Slovak documentary features. The winner, Jaroslav Vojtek for his film The Border, won the newly established FILM EUROPE AWARD from the Film Europe media company led by CEO Ivan Hronec (www.filmeurope.eu.) The International Film Festival Bratislava (www.iffbratislava.sk) (November 5 - 11) will see the launch of the Film New Europe Visegrad Prix for a documentary film.

    The national election held on 12 June 2010 left the former Prime Minister unable to form a coalition government. The results were a major political shift with four right and center-right parties forming a coalition under new Prime Minister Iveta Radičová. Daniel Krajcer from the liberal Sloboda a Solidarita party was appointed Minister of Culture and Tourism. Faced with a serious economic crisis, in early October the new minister announced his intent to merge the public broadcaster Slovak National Television (www.stv.sk) with the Slovak Radio (www.rozhlas.sk) to improve the financial situation of the public media.