Croatia to digitize 28 independent theatres
by Vladan Petkovic
18/07/2012 - The decision was made in May, when Croatian Culture Minister Andrea Zlatar Violić (photo) decided to accept the List of Independent Cinema Operators, submitted by HAVC. Digitization in the region of south-east Europe was one of the main topics discussed during the Regional Forum on the state of the industry in South Eastern Europe, held as a part of the Sarajevo Film Festival's industry section.
"The biggest problem is that the exhibition is monopolized - one exhibitor holds 80% of the market, and it’s impossible to get an independent film to play in their chain,” said Denis Borić from distribution company Continental Film. “With digitization, the situation will greatly improve because with 35mm, we can only afford to buy one print and go from town to town with it. With DCP we can have a nationwide release of a film such as Haneke’s Amour [trailer, film focus], which we purchased in Cannes.”
Currently Croatia has the highest rate of digital screens in the region of the former Yugoslavia, with 90 digital screens out of the total of 136. With the new funding initiative, another 28 theatres in 25 cities will have a DCP option.
"With the recent digitization the entire chain of audiovisual industry has changed. At this point, the digital switch over is necessary for sustainability of Croatian independent exhibitors as well as for audience to have an alternative to the dominating multiplexes repertoire," said said Tina Hajon, Head of the Digitization Project. "The power of this project lies in the fact that it is a group endeavour of Croatian exhibitors supported by Croatian Ministry of Culture. Besides the major Croatian cities, even the small communities will soon be able to enrich their cultural offer and to participate in creating the network of Independent cinemas".