Slovenian Film Fund director withdraws resignation

By Matevz Rudolf
    The Slovenian Film Fund director Jelka Stergel has recalled her resignation, which was announced on March 19.

    Stergel gave no further comment.

    The announcement of the resignation was made by Marjetica Mahne, president of the supervisory board of the Slovenian Film Fund, at a board meeting on March 19. The supervisory board immediately recommended the Slovenian government confirm her resignation and name board member Denis Miklavčič as acting director.

    Stergel is the Film New Europe Association member representing Slovenia.

    Prior to Stergel's resignation there was a proposal on the supervisory board meeting agenda for her dismissal, based on the board's disapproval of the budget Stergel had submitted. In a statement Mahne said, "We are aware of our responsibilities to filmmakers and the Slovenian government. That is why we will take care that the Film Fund will continue to work undisturbed. We will also take care that we will as soon as possible announce the financial plan for this year and save this production year for filmmakers." A new director must be chosen within 90 days.

    Stergel, who was for many years the highly regarded director of the Ljubljana film festival and is the current director of the Potoroz film festival, was director of the Slovenian Film Fund for only five months. In an interview with the newspaper Delo, she said, "These are just baseless accusations and even offensive (...) The supervisory board was acquainted with the most precise and exact financial plan so far, however their own lack of understanding was reproached ... If members of the supervisory board would be constructive they would suggest some corrections. (...) In this kind of situation Slovenian cinematography will not be able to work as successfully as it could according to its creative potential."

    Neither Stergel, who has been on sick leave, nor the Film Fund board were available for further comment.

    The directorship of Slovenian Film Fund has been a challenging position. The next director will be the ninth since the fund was established 15 years ago. The Slovenian Court of Auditors suggested the Film Fund should be eliminated and all responsibilities should be returned to the Ministry of Culture, which would be a unique reversal among European countries.