30-07-2007

Slovenian Culture Ministry trying to mend Film Fund

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Slovenia’s Ministry of Culture says it is striving to mend divisions over the Slovenian Film Fund, which has been mired in controversy for months leading to the resignation or dismissal of three subsequent directors.

The fund is the biggest source of subsidies for Slovenian film production, with the average feature about 80% funded by the state. The last public call for applications for funding closed more than nine months ago. The current director, Denis Miklavcic, is attempting to establish a new budget and decide whether to accept five films proposed in a new programme plan and present them to the board, or reject them as not having the proper legal framework.

The agency is an independent institution on which the ministry “has very limited influence on its actions and no influence on its management decisions,” ministry spokeswoman Nina Orel said in an email exchange with FNE. “The administration board is therefore the only [body] responsible for the execution of the annual film program and its financing.”

She said the dismissal in late June of Marjetica Mahne, head of the fund’s supervisory board who had the backing of many filmmakers and several leading newspapers, was due to “constant public accusations, without giving any evidence,” that her predecessor “had committed certain criminal acts.” Her predecessor, Stanko Malčič, resigned after rejecting all 28 applications for funding in 2007 as being inadequately prepared.

The Culture Ministry is “striving to mend the situation in the Slovenian Film Fund within its official competence, especially by giving the fund help and other possible support,” the spokeswoman said.