25-11-2020

Slovenian Arthouse Cinemas See Grants Cut By Half

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LJUBLJANA: Slovenian arthouse cinemas, already struggling for survival from COVID closures and capacity restrictions, are now facing funding cuts of nearly half from the Slovenian Ministry of Culture.

Slovenian Art Cinema Network cinemas have just received the grant application results for co-financing of arthouse programmes for 2020 from the Ministry of Culture only to find out that the co-financing has been cut in half. Funding has been reduced from 77 793 EUR in 2019 to 37,766 EUR for 2020. On average more than ten and at best up to 17 cinemas have had their arthouse programmes supported by the grants in the past.

Co-financing the distribution of European, auteur and worldwide cinematheque films in the art cinema network and VOD in 2020 has also been cut to 12,233 EUR compared to 25,000 EUR in 2019.

In Slovenia the only way for the Slovenian Art Cinema Association (SACA) itself and individual arthouse cinemas to receive support for programming quality film is with these Ministry of Culture grants. Arthouse cinemas and SACA also receive financial support from the Slovenian Film Centre, but just for educational programmes and network projects. "In most of the other European countries the Slovenian Art Cinema Asocciationprogramming support comes through national film centres or other state agencies that support the country's production, distribution and exhibition sector," explains Jure Matičič, the president of the Slovenian Art Cinema Association.

"The amount of funds intended for these grants has been lowered in accordance with the changes to the 2020 state budget," explained the PR representatives of the Ministry of Culture, who gave no detailed explanation for the cuts.

In the absence of any emergency financial assistance for the exhibition sector in the country, during this challenging period, the lack of funding means many will be struggling to survive or forced to give up their arthouse programming in favour of mainstream content.

"We take this as a systematic move towards damaging and in the end destroying independent cinemas, the only providers of film education programmes, quality film programming and cornerstones of the country’s film culture," Matičič told FNE. "With vast amounts of EU emergency funds allocated to help the creative industries, we are realising that none of those funds are finding their way into the film exhibition sector, thereby in the long-run reducing the capacity to show quality, European and national films."

“The Slovenian Art Cinema Association has been building a successful model for independent cinemas in the last decade, with constant growth and quality curated programming. All these efforts could be destroyed in a single year with negligent ignorance and lack of vision from the side of the Slovenian Ministry of culture and the Government,” said Matičič.