Slovenia Country Profile 2011

By Matic Vecko

    {mosimage}LJUBLJANA: The 2011 year saw a strong start for the film industry in Slovenia, with the launch of the Slovenian Film Center (SFC; www.film-center.si). The new public agency replaced the Slovenian Film Fund (SFF), the public fund founded in 1994, and established a new film financing and grants system.

    Jožko Rutar was elected as the new director of SFC and took the post on 1 July 2011 for a five year term, ending 1 July 2016. Together with the launch of SFC a new financing and grants system was introduced. Grants are now not greater than 50% of the budget for most films, except for youth and low-budget films (under €700,000) where support can be as much as 80%. In the past, SFF covered up to 100% of a film's budget. Unlike SFF, SFC does not participate in film production as an investor, and does not share in any film profits. According to new laws, the national broadcaster RTV Slovenija is required to contribute 2.5% of the income from its mandatory license fees (approximately €2,000,000) for film co-productions with independent producers. All other nationally distributed TV stations have to give 5% of their advertising income for the co-production of features or TV films. In theory this should bring additional €2,500,000 Euros for Slovenian cinema, but RTV Slovenija submitted this part of the law to constitutional review, therefore it has had no practical effect up till now.

    {mosimage}In 2011, SFC received €4,465,000 to finance Slovenian film production in 2011, approximately the same as the €4,700,000 received in 2010. The number of films receiving funds has yet to be announced by the commission. A substantial blow for the Slovenian film industry was the recently accepted amendment to the state budget for 2011, which reduced the money available for SFC and consequently Slovenian film.

    Nevertheless, 2011 was a good year for Slovenian film production, with seven new feature films produced, compared to only four films in 2010. Two of these were debuts: A Trip by Nejc Gazvoda (€228,500), which received several national Vesna awards and is also receiving international acclaim (special mention of the jury at Plan-Sequence festival and Cinedays in Skopje), and Bread and Circuses (produced by national broadcaster RTV Slovenija with a budget of €700.000) by Klemen Dvornik. The latter was also the most pleasant surprise at this year`s Festival of Slovenian Film, where it received the audience award and two national Vesna awards. The fact that A Trip is a low budget film while Bread and Circuses did not receive funding from SFC, indicates vital and promising Slovenian low budget, independent, and television productions. This year`s main national film award went to the poetical "pure" art film Archeo (estimated budget of €1,400,000) by Jan Cvitkovič.

    {mosimage}Only one coproduction film premiered in 2011 - The Maiden Danced to Death (estimated budget of €1,800,000), a Hungary/Canada/Slovenia coproduction by Endre Hules, coproduced in Slovenia by Igor Pediček of Casablanca Productions (www.casablanca.si). There were no foreign films produced in Slovenia in 2011, mainly due to the fact that no film incentives or tax rebates are offered by the government.

    According to the current estimates, attendance at Slovenian multiplexes is expected to be approximately the same as in 2010 - around 2,600,000 visitors - or perhaps a bit higher. The total national attendance should also be at least as high as last year (2,891,000) and might even surpass 3 million, which has occurred only once since 1992. Box office has been dominated by US-produced movies led by animated movie The Smurfs with 198,668 admissions, followed by Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides with 108,879 and Hangover 2 with 92,959 admissions. The current box office leader among Slovenian films that premiered in 2011 is Good Night, Missy (€1.9 million) by Metod Pevec with 9,499 admissions, followed by State of Shock (estimated budget of €1.8 million) with 4,278 admissions, a number which is expected to increase substantially, given that the film premiered in cinemas only recently.

    Planet Tuš (www.planet-tus.com) remains Slovenia's largest exhibitor with 32 screens. Together with Kolosej (www.kolosej.si), which is the second largest exhibitor, with 30 screens but the highest market share, Slovenia has 62 screens in multiplexes. In October, the one millionth ticket was sold in a Planet Tuš multiplex, which is a month earlier than last year, also indicating the positive box office trend of 2011. Another trend noticeable in 2011 is the constantly increasing number of viewers watching films in 3D.

    A new cinema Kino Komuna reopened in Ljubljana after another cinema, Kinoklub Vič, permanently closed its doors. Kino Komuna, a 378-seat theatre run by Kolosej Cinemas, is now the only cinema hall in the very centre of the capital. In September the main Slovenian art theatre Kinodvor became digitalized, making a total of 17 digital screens in Slovenia. A great blow for the digitalization process was the recent announcement of SFC that 2011 grants for the digitalization in total amount of €250,000 will not be distributed because of the amendment to the state budget.

    The TV market in Slovenia is dominated by national public broadcaster RTV Slovenija (www.rtvslo.si), CEE broadcaster Central European Media Enterprises (www.cetv-net.com) which owns the media company PRO PLUS (www.pro-plus.si) and its commercial television stations POP TV and Kanal A, and commercial television TV3 (www.tv3.si), which is part of the Modern Times Group (www.mtg.se).

    National broadcaster RTV Slovenija is the main source of locally produced television content. It currently airs only one self-produced scripted series. Among its other notable productions in 2011 were Bread and Circuses, which will also receive cinema distribution, and the elevision film Victory (€630,000), both of which premiered at the 14th Festival of Slovenian Film.

    In October the parliament passed the Act on Audiovisual Media Services, which was urgent due to the pending infringement procedure started this year by the European Commission, as Slovenia has failed to notify it of any measures for the implementation of AVMSD. The new law imposes additional restrictions on advertising on the national broadcaster and is expected to cause a severe reduction of income from advertising, estimated around €500,000 in 2011 and more than €3 million in 2012.

    In 2011 PRO PLUS launched a new programme packet POP NON STOP which includes six channels. Currently it airs one self-produced scripted series. Petra Uranjek, PR Manager at PRO PLUS said that in the first half of 2011, they successfully met their income plan, surpassing the income for the same time span of the previous year. The success of their business strategies has also been confirmed by increased income from advertising.