Anita Stojcheska • Senior associate for film production, Macedonian Film Agency
"A broader co-production with more countries involved is always a better solution"
by Teresa Vena
- We spoke to the Macedonian Film Agency’s Anita Stojcheska at Oldenburg about why international producers should work with co-production companies from Macedonia
The Macedonian Film Agency is in charge of the promotion of the national film industry, offering financial support and favourable conditions for international co-productions. The current regulations allow a cash rebate of 20%, as well as various other financing schemes. The agency is in the process of drafting amendments to the Film Industry Law, in force since 2014, which are aimed at further implementation of European film regulations and strategies for improving international cooperation, and fostering the realisation of a greater number of co-productions. Moreover, the cash rebate will be raised to 30%. The Macedonian Film Agency wants to actively encourage producers – especially European ones – to invest in the national film industry, with the long-term goal of contributing to the Macedonian economy and promoting national film production. We spoke to the senior associate for film production at the agency, Anita Stojcheska, about exactly what the country’s film industry has to offer European producers.
Cineuropa: What is the role of the Macedonian Film Agency?
Anita Stojcheska: The primary objective of the Macedonian Film Agency is to stimulate the film industry in the country by providing continuous and annual financial support to Macedonia's national film output, international co-productions and national film festivals, as well as providing backing for script development and the promotion of Macedonian films at international film festivals, plus other activities focused on the development of the film industry. The Macedonian Film Agency is the only national institution for the support of the film industry.
How are the supported projects selected?
Once a year, in January, the agency publishes a call for applications for project funding, with two deadlines for decisions. The call applies to feature films, shorts, documentaries and animated films, which are being made as both majority and minority co-productions. An evaluation procedure has been created and is outlined in the Film Industry Law as well as in the by-laws, so that the decision on the project selection can be made in a straightforward manner. The project must be submitted by a Macedonian producer as a co-producer, and he or she must have at least 4% of the Macedonian Film Agency’s funds in place as a private investment. The quality of the script is always crucial. When the producer submits the project for the call, 50% of the total budget should already have been secured. Also, it is very important to mention that besides the script, the number of shooting days in Macedonia, the number of artistic and technical staff members, and the amount of confirmed funds from public sources are also taken into account in the evaluation process.
How do you promote your services?
Film markets are our main focus, and also, we try to participate in and partner with training programmes and forums – like the Matchbox Coproduction Lounge at Oldenburg – but we always choose very precisely, since we want to have fruitful promotions that will result in collaborations and co-productions. It is always good to be present at this type of event, as if you don’t do this, it is as if you don’t exist – so you need to stay on the map and be visible. We need to inform film professionals abroad about everything we do in order to provide more opportunities for co-productions and for all kinds of collaboration.
With which countries have you had the most prolific collaborations so far?
We do a lot of co-producing with the countries from our region (Southeast Europe), but also with other countries, although not as much. In my opinion, a broader co-production with more countries involved is always a better solution. Over the last three years, through this kind of co-production, we have had two films in the Official Selection at Cannes (Sieranevada [+see also:
Q&A: Cristi Puiu
film profile] by Cristi Puiu, from 2016, a co-production between Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and France; and The Wild Pear Tree [+see also:
film profile] by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, from 2018, a co-production between Turkey, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Sweden) and one film in Un Certain Regard (Directions [+see also:
interview: Stephan Komandarev
film profile] by Stephan Komandarev, from 2017, a co-production between Bulgaria, Macedonia and Germany).
What are the biggest advantages for foreign producers?
What is important is that we offer a 20% cash rebate, and this is intended for foreign producers. We have affordable taxes, low prices, great locations (dramatic mountains and canyons, deep valleys and dense forests, beautiful rivers, lakes and waterfalls can all be found in Macedonia – and even a small desert) and, most importantly, a huge number of film professionals who have experience in working in foreign crews.
What is the current ratio of national productions versus Macedonian-foreign co-productions?
In the period from 2008-2017, 49 feature films were released (supported by the agency), of which only three were 100% national films and 43 were co-productions (28 co-productions with Macedonian minority financing and 18 co-productions with Macedonian majority financing).
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