Country Focus: Slovakia
Slovak Films 2009 - 2010
A panel presenting Slovak films and co-productions with releases planned for the years 2009 and 2010 took place at the 10th International Film Festival Bratislava (held during the first week of December). The presentation was organized by Slovak Film Institute’s Audiovisual Information Centre. It included 28 fiction films, 6 animated and 14 non-fiction projects in various stages of production: final drafts of screenplay, films in production and post-production. Over half of the presented projects are co-productions mostly limited to the Visegrad area (Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary) with only a few cooperations with the rest of Europe (Germany, Ireland, Italy) or outside the continent (USA).
Beginning of 2009 should see national releases of two fiction films by Slovak directors: Miloslav Luther’s Mosquito’s Tango (January 22nd, Luther & Partner), Vladimir Balko’s Soul at Peace (January 29th, FORZA Production House). Another 15 fiction films are planned for next year and 10 more should follow in 2010. Annotations in the catalogue indicate that local filmmakers are starting to discover genres and forms that are not common in Slovak cinema such as B class slasher horror (Death Factory by Furca Film), comedy (The Corpse Must Die by Trigon Production) Hitchcock style thriller (Eye – Face in the Wall co-produced by ALEF Film & Media Group), psychological thriller (Former People by D.N.A. Production) and animated musical (Stones by Katarina Kerekesova).
So far non-fiction films have been more successful at drawing attention of international festivals and audiences. Next year the long awaited documentary Cooking History by Peter Kerekes (February 19th, sales: Taskovski films) will be released. In the summer of 2009 Marko Skop (Artileria), producer of Blind Loves is planning to release Osadne – Brussels – Osadne. Skop’s documentary confronts Slovak citizens from the very eastern border of the EU with the bureaucracy in its administrative center in Belgium and it already has good reception abroad “At the pitching forum in Amsterdam the Dutch TV station VPRO and the Finnish TV channel YLE are interested in supporting our film” Marko Skop explained.
Over the past four years the panel has presented many projects that never came into production or had stayed in production for longer than planned due to limited funding.
Filmmakers believe that a new public institution, the Audiovisual Fund will improve this situation and most of the introduced projects will be released on time. The panel kicked off with a presentation of the Audiovisual Fund which will be established in January 2009. Its funds should come from diverse sources: the Ministry of Culture and special taxes imposed on audiovisual material and its presentation (percentage of income from TV stations’ advertising etc.). The income for 2010 is expected to reach more than 8 million euro. The fund will also grant European co-production status. First call for projects will be announced in autumn 2009. Support from current grant mechanism ended with its last call this November.
Another form of support for Slovak films starting in 2009 was presented by Heineken Slovakia. The company plans to set up a budget which aims to boost presentation of films helping them to reach wider audiences. “We are currently working on the criteria which will be the grounds for selection procedures. The criteria will be announced at the beginning of 2009” said Roman Krajniak from Heineken Slovakia.
The complete catalogue of presented projects can be downloaded here:
New Slovak Films '09 - '10