Romania encourages co-productions and debut films with new cinema law
by Stefan Dobroiu
- The legal initiative also improves conditions for distribution and the re-opening of old cinemas
This week, the Romanian government approved an update to the country's cinema law, addressing a series of urgent issues that Romanian cinema has been confronted with. Presented as a priority by Minister of Culture Corina Şuteu, the new law will have important consequences for every stage of filmmaking, from funding to distribution.
From an international point of view, the most important change is that from now on, the Romanian National Film Center will support co-productions and minority co-productions. The new law stipulates that the project competition organised by the Center will now have a section for co-productions and minority co-productions, with the possibility of receiving up to 60% of the film's budget in the case of co-productions.
The new law also encourages first- and second-time directors, whose projects can now be supported with up to 85% of the total budget. In order to increase diversity in Romanian films, a competition for micro-budget (up to €60,000) projects was added to the traditional competitions for fiction, documentary and animated productions.
Noting the discrepancy between the international success of Romanian films and their lack of popularity at home, the new law now forces cinemas to increase the number of screenings of Romanian films or films with Romanian involvement to 10% of the total number of screenings. Also, 10% of prime-time screenings must be showings of Romanian films.
Another change addresses the disastrous situation of the state cinema network, as the number of active screens has decreased from more than 400 in the 1990s to only nine at present. The new law creates a context that helps local authorities to reopen and modernise the cinemas. Other changes eye the administration of the National Film Archive and a partnership between the National Film Center and the Ministry of Education to give a boost to programmes intended to improve high-school students’ access to relevant cinema.