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European Distributors: Up Next! 2009 - Serbia

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Zoran Stankovic • Distributor

by 

Zoran Stankovic  • Distributor

Belgrade-based MCF MegaCom Film is one of the most successful distribution companies in the former Yugoslavia, established five years ago by Zoran Stankovic, with its own and partnership offices all around the region. Titles for which MCF has purchased screening rights include Soul Kitchen [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, The White Ribbon [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
film profile
]
, Antichrist [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
film profile
]
, The Class [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
film profile
]
, Three Monkeys [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and Waltz with Bashir [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

MCF is also at the helm of two renowned Belgrade film festivals, the Festival of Auteur Film and Kids Fest. MCF works actively on producing feature and documentary films, and provides support for festivals in the region through production and film editing, DVD publishing, TV and VoD distribution, thus promoting independent film.

Cineuropa: What is the state of distribution of European films in Serbia?
Zoran Stankovic: The distribution of European films in Serbia has hit rock bottom. The cause of this are overly agressive publicity campaigns of major commercial titles, which are now coming to our theatres simultaneously or with a short delay, as in the US. One-screen theatres are also tending to commercialize their programmes. On the other hand, multiplexes that are slowly entering the Serbian market are only interested in commercial fare and are not prepared to experiment with European films.

The distribution of European cinema is limited only to titles that can be screened at some of the numerous festivals. So it only comes as a result of the needs need of festivals and only then they get distributed. That way it's not possible to reach significant results and it's considered a success when a film is screened for longer than two weeks.

How does MCF function in this situation?
MCF has the advantage of organizing two festivals itself, so a certain number of films is acquired for festival screenings and afterwards they go into distribution. Some of the films are later screened at other festivals too. Out of a big number of funds that support distribution in Europe, only Eurimages is functioning in Serbia and that is the only support for MCF for some titles.

Is there any kind of institutional support for distribution in Serbia?
No, and the most tragic thing that there is no perspective that this will change. There is absolutely no chance that a network of theatres will be established and the quantity of functioning cinemas that Film Center Serbia is operating with is completely wrong, which is most obvious in the distribution of Serbian films that are screened at the biggest number of cinemas. Institutional support exists only for financing projects through competitions, where some get funding but no one is thinking about their subsequesnt exhibition. Everything comes down to random cases – there is no system whatsoever.

What do you expect from the San Sebastian Forum?
To meet new people, exchange and obtain experiences about both problems and positive things that happen in spite of a generally bad situation.

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