Minister, TV, set target of 10 films per year
by Sakis Kontos
Marek Madaric is set to enter territory previously unchartered by any Slovak this millennium. Slovakia’s newly appointed Minister of Culture has stated that his aim is for the country’s original film production is to reach the (previously unthinkable) number of 10 titles by as early as 2008.
In other European countries the size of Slovakia this statement might sound like a joke but in Central Europe it is serious talk. Since 2000, Slovak filmmakers have contributed to an average six feature films, of which an average of only two per year were original Slovak productions. In 2006, there has not been a single Slovak feature film produced entirely by Slovak funds.
“A common approach by the government, producers and broadcasters is of paramount importance if we want to get Slovak film back on track,” Madaric is quoted as saying to the Slovak press. His ministry is currently preparing a new law regarding government cultural grants that would make it easier for filmmakers to receive state financing, yet his main aim is getting Slovak public television (STV) “back on the film co-production track”.
STV used to be the filmmakers’ main partner but it has not seriously entered a co-production since 2003. Madaric, a former STV vice-president and dramatist, has reportedly persuaded STV to agree to freeing up just under €1m to back four films in the coming months. And more is yet to come next year.
Slovak producers see this as a positive development. “The help of STV is essential as it helps us then apply for European backing as well”, said Patrik Pass, president of Slovak Audiovisual Producers (SAPA). “If we fail to renew it we will remain at the bottom of Europe [of film investment]”.
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