Country Focus: Slovakia
2013 a good year for Slovak exhibitors and filmmakers
by Martin Kudláč
- The year 2013 was highly successful for Slovak exhibitors and filmmakers. The annual total box-office takings rose by 7.6% compared to 2012, generating €18.8 million, while the total annual number of admissions increased by 7.7% in comparison with the previous year, amounting to 3.7 million visitors (the country has a population of 5.4 million). While the box-office top ten in 2013 was mostly dominated by US productions (including six animated children’s films), fifth place was occupied by Czech folk comedy Babovřesky.
Among the total of 267 films released, 23 were domestic titles (15 fiction features and eight documentary films). The Slovak film magazine film.sk has published a report on Slovak releases, which states that audience numbers for domestic productions increased considerably – by 78.65% (obtaining a share of 160,151 admissions). The most successful Slovak film was The Candidate (with 80,234 admissions, placing the film in eighth position in the top ten most-seen Slovak films during the country’s existence as an independent state), a thriller about the power of the media set against the backdrop of a presidential election. The apt timing (the film was released in October, and the presidential election will be held in March), meticulously prepared and hard-to-overlook promotional campaign, aesthetics of the adverts and trailers (including slow motion and fast cutting) and somewhat controversial theme (the film poster declares: “The head of state is (not) elected by you”) seemed to provide the magic formula for drawing in the crowds. The second most-seen Slovak film was the family drama Love Me or Leave Me (with 14,139 admissions), which tells the story of a love triangle between a mother and her adolescent daughter competing for the same man.
The most successful documentary was Normalization (which took 8,565 admissions), which recounts a dark episode in the history of the Czechoslovak judicial system: the longest-running case, referred to as the Cervanová Case. The director, Robert Kirchhoff, spent eight years preparing the film, gathering details about the infamous murder of a medicine student, L’udmila Cervanová. The unsolved case of the alleged murder and rape of the student in the political context of communism (during the era of Normalisation) sparked a great deal of conspiracy theories – hence the audience appeal.
(Figures provided by the Union of Film Distributors of the Slovak Republic and film.sk)