COVID-19 Impact on Slovenian Animation Production

    Steakhouse by Špela Čadež Steakhouse by Špela Čadež

    LJUBLJANA: COVID-19 restrictions have not caused any major delays in the current development and production of Slovenian animation projects, but future activities will be strongly affected.

    Matija Sturm, chairman of the Slovene Animated Film Association"Animated projects in development are running smoothly, as are a part of projects in production," Matija Šturm, producer and the chairman of the Slovene Animated Film Association told FNE. "However, there are still some major obstacles: the lack of international calls and the hold put on some of the Slovenian Film Centre's (SFC) activities. It affects financing and the cash flow of the production companies, but also other contractors in the AV production field. Only recently payments to producers have been released, based on claims made earlier this year or last year. This goes for all of the projects with signed contracts."

    FNE has looked at a sample of Slovenian animated films and TV series in various stages of production.

    The animation project How it Grows, a TV series for pre-schoolers directed by Miha Kalan and produced by Invida, is in production without any delay. It is scheduled for release in 2021.

    Špela Čadež is facing a delay finishing her new project Steakhouse, produced by Finta in coproduction with RTV Slovenija, Fabian&Fred (Germany) and Miyu Productions (France). The project is in postproduction but due to restrictions on travel some of coproduction activities cannot be realised.

    The production of Zarja Menart's short animation The Three Birds, produced by Finta, is also facing delays due to the situation at SFC where activities are on hold, meaning that issuing resolutions, signing contracts and contract payments in the past three months have all stopped. No new calls for applications have been published since mid-March and therefore a delay for this year's remaining calls is expected.

    "Due to the regulations and laws put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19 some procedures have been temporarily put on hold, public calls especially. This is true for the Slovenian Film Centre, as well as for other public institutions,” says Šturm.

    "The Slovene Animated Film Association is a partner of two international projects, the CEE Animation Workshop and CEE Animation Forum, that are the most affected by this law, as this year no call from the Ministry for Public Affairs for co-financing of European supported projects nor any other call intended to help and secure a share of domestic funding has yet been published in Slovenia," says Šturm. He said that, on the other hand, the financing and production of animated projects supported by RTV Slovenija is running smoothly.

    RTV Slovenija does not generally produce domestic animated series itself, but coproduces them through RTV Slovenija calls, which is one of the main sources for ensuring the production of domestic animation series, as also How It Grows by Miha Kalanconfirmed by the Slovenian producers. RTV Slovenija coproduces around ten short animated films per year.

    "In recent weeks the interest in purchasing animation programmes for children has been very high, as television slots have to be filled while the children are staying at home most of the time. The international acquisition market is very lively," Martina Peštaj, Head of Children's and Youth Programme at RTV Slovenija, told FNE, adding that national television took the unique opportunity to broadcast the entire domestic animated production they had in stock.

    The call for the most recent tender for film production by independent producers for public cinema release went out last year, but the procedures were stopped due to the COVID-19 and the temporary resolution that all public procedures be put on hold from 12 March. The resolution has now been cancelled and all the procedures resumed on 1 May 2020. Since this year's calls went out earlier than last year's, no delays in regard to closing the call are expected.