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The Slovak Audiovisual Fund provides financial support for local cinema operators


- The theatres will receive the support this month, after they have had to shutter again as the second wave of coronavirus hits the country

The Slovak Audiovisual Fund provides financial support for local cinema operators
The Cinema Lumière in Bratislava (© Cinema Lumière)

The Slovak Audiovisual Fund plans to distribute funding of €500,000 among domestic theatre operators. The support is a result of the joint initiative between the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, the Slovak Union of Film Distributors and the domestic Association of Theatre Operators launched in June and subsequently presented to the Minister of Culture. It led to an allocation of €700,000 from the state budget to the fund, while €500,000 have been earmarked for theatres and €200,000 have been set aside to support the distribution of new Slovakian films.

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“The total amount of €500,000 will be redistributed by the fund among all 57 cinema operators that submitted the application before the deadline set by the special call,” announced the fund. The support will cover 176 one-screen venues, which represents almost 80% of all standard screens in the country with the exception of summer cinemas and alternative venues. The fund has demanded that all applicants promptly deliver the remaining documents so that the finances can be released and received by operators during October. The received finances can be utilised until 31 July 2021.

“It was not planned as ‘compensatory relief’ for those theatres that had to shutter during the first wave of the outbreak,” the head of the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, Martin Šmatlák, told Cineuropa, adding that the fund cannot provide such "compensatory relief". Such support necessitates updates to the law, which are already under way. The theatres will use the finances to cover operational expenses and costs related to general measures taken to fight COVID-19, including online screenings. “The support was designed as a form of help to kick-start theatres after the re-opening [after the first wave of the coronavirus],” clarifies Šmatlák.

The local cinemas shuttered again on 15 October due to preventive measures implemented to tackle the spread of the second wave of the coronavirus, which includes the banning of gatherings exceeding six people. The country entered a state of emergency on 1 October, which is expected to last for at least the following 45 days. The Cinema Lumière, a venue in the capital city, has returned to the system of online screenings that it employed in April (see the news).

“Finances for compensatory special support due to the closures of theatres and the lack of distribution need to be found by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Finances. If that happens, we are ready to distribute it transparently,” concludes the head of the fund.

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