11-05-2015

Public TV Broadcasters in Slovenia and Slovakia Animate Content Funding

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TREBON: Speaking at a panel consisting of TV broadcaster from across the CEE region, representatives from the public broadcasting channels in Slovakia and Slovenia said that recent new sources of funding for animation have resulted in the return of domestic content to their screens.

In Slovenia, a law that required public broadcaster RTVSLO to give 2% of its license fee revenues to film production was seen by the broadcaster as an opportunity to fill a gap in film production. The result of negotiation over the distribution of that funding was an agreement that RTVS would put some of that money into an area that was overlooked in film production funding: animation. Andraz Poeschl, head of culture and art programming at RTVSLO, told FNE that animation, feature films for the youth/young adult market, creative full-length documentaries, and short films will have received 5m EUR over the course of three years, with some 800,000 EUR already spent on animation alone.

“We invested in 18 animation projects,” he said, including two full-length animated films and the beginning episodes of three TV series. One of them, Koyaa produced with animation house ZVVIKS, won the Best Pitch at the Visegrad Animation Forum last year and was back this year to present as a TV series in production. Management at RTVSLO, which hopes to follow the example of the Czech Republic, is in early discussions with the government to make a change in the law with would allow the addition of a third public channel. That channel could end up specializing in children’s and arts programming.

Slovakia’s public broadcaster RTVS is also pushing for a third public broadcasting channel to focus on children’s and arts programming, but any action on that will have to wait until the next round of national elections. However, original Slovak animated TV series are making a comeback after an absence of two decades. RTVS programme director Tibor Buza said that the station changed its priorities at the beginning of 2013, with a focus on children’s programming and a special slot created for animation.

The station is increasing its share of new children’s programming, and last year it introduced the Slovak animated TV series Mimi and Lisa, the first animated series in Slovakia in 20 year, to what Buza said was “very positive response.” RTVS is investing in two more animated series, including Tots from Slovak production company Objectif which was presented at the In Production section of the Visegrad Animation Forum. Public TV’s partner in the revitalization of animation has been the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, which in its most recent round (February 2015), allocated 81,000 EUR to animation production. Over the past five years, the fund has given some 1.2m EUR to an estimated 38 animated films and series.

Across the CEE territories, only Poland’s public broadcaster TVP has the funds to support production of an entire animated TV series. In other territories, funds are stretched out over two or more seasons. But while TV broadcasters are crucial partners for animation producers, no one in the region will pick up a series via pre-sales; producers instead line up letters of intent before moving on to other funding sources.