Slovenia: stabilizing the local market
by Vladan Petkovic
- After a severe decline in 2014, followed by a slight improvement last year, film attendance could be back on the rise in 2016, especially for local films
Šiška Deluxe, written and directed by Jan Cvitkovic
(This article has been published in the Cannes 2016 Market News daily by Le Film Français)
Last year, our Focus on Slovenia highlighted problems in the distribution-exhibition sector. The decreasing attendance was in a large part attributed to poor relations between the leading distributor Blitz Video & Film Distribution, which handles titles of Warner Bros. and Fox, and the biggest multiplex chain Kolosej. In autumn 2013, Blitz has quit providing Kolosej with its titles, but in January this year, the two companies finally came to an understanding and Blitz releases are again being screened in Kolosej cinemas. This is especially important because key city Ljubljana accounts for 24% of overall attendance, most of it coming from the Kolosej multiplex and its 14 screens.
Expectedly, in 2015 the box office was again driven by Hollywood fare, led by Universal’s Minions, Fifty Shades of Grey and Fast and Furious 7, distributed by Karantanija. These films took the first three positions on the annual chart, with Shaun the Sheep [+see also:
film profile] as the best positioned European majority title at the tenth rank. The US films market share was 78%, and the European ones’ 18,24%.
After the biggest attendance decline in Europe in 2014, of 20,8%, the situation improved slightly and cumulative admissions for all titles on release rose from 1,929,161 to 2,101,500. However, the BO share of national films came down to only 2,81%, with the only significant result coming from Jan Cvitkovič’s Šiška Deluxe [+see also:
film profile] and its 15,101 admissions.
The third highest local grosser, with 5,673 tickets, was the horror flick Idyll [+see also:
film profile] by first-time feature writer, director and editor Tomaž Gorkič. The film unexpectedly won Vesna Awards for best film, best supporting actor for Jurij Drevenšek, best supporting actress for Nika Rozman, and best production design for Gregor Navrtnik at the Festival of Slovenian Film in Portorose.
The low market share for local films could evolve in 2016, with potential hits coming up. The most promising one is Nika by Slobodan Maksimović, a youth drama about a teenage girl, a go-kart driver, which will have its world premiere at the Zlin Film Festival. Youth-oriented films scored big numbers for local industry in the past five years, most of all Miha Hočevar’s Going Our Way (2010) and its sequel (2013) with almost 240,000 admissions combined, and Maksimović’s previous feature, comedy Thanks For Sunderland [+see also:
film profile], produced by national broadcaster RTV Slovenija, which did well in cinemas in 2013 with 21,137 admissions, and later had strong TV exposure.
Another possible local box-office booster could be Igor Šterk’s coming-of-age adventure Come Along, about four 13-year olds who get lost in the mountains. On the international festival circuit, Šiška Deluxe had a strong run in Europe and won the audience award at the Cottbus Festival of Eastern European Cinema, while Vlado Škafar’s poetic docudrama Mother [+see also:
interview: Vlado Škafar
film profile] world-premiered in Rotterdam’s Bright Future section.
Pusing a tax incentive through various barriers
Žiga Virc’s mockumentary Houston, We Have a Problem! [+see also:
interview: Žiga Virc
film profile], based on the premise that in 1961 Yugoslavia sold its clandestine space programme to the US and thus helped them win the space race against USSR, world-premiered at Tribeca Film Festival. Co-produced by Slovenia’s Studio Virc, Croatia’s Nukleus Film, and Germany’s Sutor Kolonko, with HBO Europe, RTV Slovenija and WDR, it went into a limited theatrical distribution in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia right after Tribeca.
Among minority co-productions, Ivan Gergolet’s documentary Dancing With Maria [+see also:
interview: Ivan Gergolet
film profile], co-produced by Italy’s Transmedia, Argentina’s Imaginada Films, and Slovenia’s Staragara, world premiered in Venice 2014, winning the Civitas Vitae Prossima Award, and was nominated for European Documentary at the 2015 European Film Awards.
Slovenia was also a minority co-producer, through Petra Vidmar’s Gustav Film, on Dalibor Matanić’s The High Sun [+see also:
interview: Dalibor Matanic
interview: Tihana Lazovic
film profile], which won the Jury Prize in 2015 Cannes Un Certain Regard section; while Dunja Klemenc and her company Studio May co-produced Bosnian director Ines Tanović’s Our Everyday Life [+see also:
interview: Ines Tanović
film profile], which premiered in Sarajevo Film Festival’s competition and went on to win awards at Kino Pasavaris in Vilnius, the Lecce Festival of European Film, and PriFilmFest in Pristina.
Through his company Arsmedia, Slovenian producer Boštjan Ikovic co-produced Family Film [+see also:
interview: Olmo Omerzu
film profile], directed by Slovenian-born and Prague-based Olmo Omerzu, which world-premiered at San Sebastian and is still going strong on the festival circuit. Ikovic is also present in Cannes as one of the European Film Promotion’s Cannes Producers on the Move.
This year, Slovenia will present its first ever film selected for the Cannes Classics programme: a newly restored version of France Štiglic’s Valley of Peace, which was in Cannes competition in 1957, and garnered the Best Actor award to John Kitzmiller.
The Slovenian Film Centre is still trying to push the proposal for a 25% tax incentive through political and administrative barriers. Other current priorities are improvements on the distribution, script development and gender equality fronts, as well as introducing film literacy into school curriculum, according to SFC head Jožko Rutar.
TOP LOCAL FILMS 2015
An Almost True Story About Three Friends and a Pizzeria (Šiška Deluxe) [+see also:
Director, screenplay: Jan Cvitkovic; Director of photography: Jure Cernec; Editor: Dafne Jemeršic; Cast: Žiga Födransberg, Mariko Miladinovic, David Furlan; Production: Perfo Production (Slovenia), Evolution Films (Czech Republic), Kino Oko (Macedonia); Distributor: Fivia; Admissions: 15,101; Gross BO: €65,987
We Will be the World’s Champions [+see also:
film profile] (Bicemo Prvaci Sveta)
Director: Darko Bajic; Screenplay: Nebojša Romcevic, Gordan Mihic, Ognjen Silicic; Director of photography: Milan Tvrdišic; Editor: Andrija Zafranovic; Cast: Strahinja Blažic, Aleksandar Radojicic, Miloš Bikovic; Production: Intermedia Network (Serbia), Kinorama (Croatia), Perfo Production (Slovenia); Distributor: Fivia; Admissions: 6,085; Gross BO: €28,646
Idyll [+see also:
film profile] (Idila)
Director, screenplay, editor: Tomaž Gorkic; Director of photography: Nejc Saje; Cast: Nina Ivanišin, Lotos Šparovec, Nika Rozman; Production: Blade Production, Nuframe, 666 Production, Strup Produkcija (all Slovenia); Distributor: Karantanija; Admissions: 5,673; Gross BO: €25,358
TOP UPCOMING FILMS
Director: Slobodan Maksimovic; Screenplay: Slobodan Maksimovic, Matjaž Pikalo; Director of photography: Predrag Dubravcic; Editor: Jurij Moškon; Cast: Ylenia Mahnic, Marjuta Slamic; Production: Nora Production Group, RTV Slovenija
A teen and family film about rebellion, conflicts, understanding, and love. Nika is a 17-year-old girl who loves racing go-karts, inspired by her father, a professional race driver who died in a car accident. Her mother is afraid that, after the death of her husband, she could also lose her only daughter. But her prohibition achieves the opposite of the desired effect. (World premiere: Zlin Film Festival 2016, Domestic theatrical release: Autumn 2016)
Director, screenplay: Miha Knific; Director of photography: Aljoša Korencan; Editor: Sandra Mitic; Cast: Štefka Drolc, Brane Grubar; Production: Nukleus Film (Croatia, Slovenia), This and That Productions (Serbia), Helios Sustainable Films (Italy)
A mosaic of fates, depicting the experience of human life in all its depth of emotions, in all of its sensual, memorial and ideological wealth. It is a collage of moments we are unwilling or incapable to discuss, a mosaic of memories and secrets we keep to ourselves. An homage to life at its toughest. A shameless compilation of stories about them – and us. (Expected theatrical release: 2017)
Nightlife [+see also:
interview: Damjan Kozole
film profile] (Nocno Življenje)
Director: Damjan Kozole; Scrennplay: Damjan Kozole, Ognjen Svilicic, Urša Menart; Director of photography: Miladon Colakovic; Editor: Jurij Moškon; Cast: Pia Zemljic, Jernej Šugman; Production: Vertigo (Slovenia), Sisters and Brothers Mitevski (Macedonia), SCCA/PRO;BA (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Late at night, a renowned lawyer is found on the pavement of a busy street in Ljubljana. He is half conscious and his body is bleeding from numerous dog bites. Doctors at the Medical Centre are fighting for his life, while his wife is coping with the shock and her deepest fears. In the course of the night, she breaks all of the noral principles she had advocated all her life. (Expected theatrical release: 2017)
Come Along (Pojdi Z Mano)
Director: Igor Šterk; Screenplay: Igor Šterk, Dušan Cater; Director of photography: Miloš Srdic; Editor: Petar Markovic; Cast: Ivan Vastl, Mal Tepšic, Ronja Matijevec Jerman, Matija David Brodnik, Dare Valic; Production: A.A.C. Productions, Gustav Film, MB Grip, 100 (all Slovenia)
In search of the best photo from a school competition, four 13-year-old pupils head to remote hills. The competition for awards turns into a fight for survival. A story about growing up, love, friendship and heroism. The warm but suspenseful and sometimes spine-chilling film focuses on what happens in today’s world when technology stops working and the “primal” human instincts come to light. (Expected theatrical release: 2017)