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Peter Badač • Director, Fondo Audiovisual Eslovaco

"Creo que deberíamos apoyar una gran variedad de proyectos y actividades"


- Cineuropa ha entrevistado al nuevo director del ente de financiación público, que tiene como objetivo apoyar el desarrollo de la cultura audiovisual, para hablar sobre sus nuevos planes

Peter Badač • Director, Fondo Audiovisual Eslovaco

Este artículo está disponible en inglés.

The Slovak Audiovisual Fund was founded in January 2009, and a new director was appointed this January, the first change to the top position in 14 years. Independent Slovak producer Peter Badač replaced the fund’s long-time director Martin Šmatlák (see the interview). Badač ran his own production company, BFilm, in Slovakia as well as another BFilm branch in the Czech Republic, and he has a variety of award-winning short and feature-length projects under his belt. Cineuropa sat down with the new director to talk about the directions he intends to steer the fund in during his tenure.

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Cineuropa: You are a successful international, independent producer, and even a few days before your appointment as the new head of the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, your latest project, Nightsiren [+lee también:
entrevista: Tereza Nvotová
ficha de la película
, had just sold to North America and the German-speaking territories. Why did you apply for the role?
Peter Badač:
I understand how the industry works and its principles, so I expect the onboarding to be fairly short compared to somebody lacking a producer’s experience. During my career, I have built up a vast network of contacts at international forums, markets and institutions. I plan to benefit from these contacts in favour of developing the domestic industry.

You are not stepping into an ideal situation after the pandemic, and with the energy crisis and the war in Ukraine both ongoing.
As an institution, we have a delay in the calculation of the budget that we will manage. For 2023, we will receive finances based on contributions from 2021, when the theatres were shut down. And inflation is also doing a number on the budget because the €6 million that the fund got in 2020 is simply not the same €6 million we will get this year. My first year will be about navigating these circumstances and drawing up a new strategy.

What are the priorities at the beginning of your tenure?
The digitalisation of the institution and its processes is definitely a top priority. This means the digital submission of applications, e-signing of contracts, and digital file archives. We have managed to digitise the whole pitching process during the pandemic, so this procedure is running completely online now.

Another one would be finding a new site for the fund, since our agenda has grown and we have more colleagues tending to new tasks as well. The third priority is a logical structuring of the fund’s agenda, its programmes and sub-programmes. But I am expecting a wider discussion with the public on this subject. The classic division of films into fiction, documentary and animation is antiqued today. I can imagine instead implementing a classification based on running time, and a special programme for minority co-productions and one for television projects.

You also mentioned sustainability at your hearing.
That’s about the digitalisation of the institution.

Not green shooting?
We will be prioritising projects that will be utilising our new environmental calculator that was designed by our very own Slovak Film Commission [see the news].

There have been discussions in the past about whether the Slovak Audiovisual Fund should support commercial projects.
I firmly believe that the fund should support everybody and not only one group of filmmakers. And I believe we should support a wide range of projects and activities. We back educational activities, film festivals, events, distribution, obviously development, and production.

Are you planning to collaborate more closely with the Czech Film Fund, since the majority of Slovak co-productions are made with the Czech Republic?
We are collaborating closely on the exchange of experience, since the Czech Film Fund is currently undergoing a transition into the Czech Audiovisual Fund. One of the most interesting ideas would be a Czech-Slovak Fund similar to the Polish-German Fund. But this possibility is currently precluded by our laws because we cannot support third parties at this moment.

What about the Visegrad Film Fund?
There was an ambition to create such a funding body, but as in the previous case, our current laws allow us to financially support only Slovak projects. But I still think it would be the right way to pool finances, similarly to the New Dawn initiative [see the news].

You said you could envision the gaming industry being supported by the fund during your hearing. Will it happen?
In the current situation, we don’t have the finances to support gaming, so this won’t change in the short term, since it would be necessary to implement institutional changes and update the legislation.

What about XR or immersive projects?
This is a case of the old-school division of films complicating project categorisation, whereas the running-time category would be more inclusive in regard to emerging media. As a matter of fact, we currently have an open call for projects where we take into consideration the nature of the media they use. And the new classification would have yet another benefit: documentary filmmakers have been lamenting the fact that their programme has fewer funds allocated to it than fiction filmmaking. Pivoting to a running-time criterion, all forms would be equal in the selection process. The committee would decide solely based on the project’s quality, and not its form. Furthermore, the current trend is towards a hybrid genre.

What about TV projects versus VoD series?
That’s a good question. I think the rule should be that we wouldn’t support classic television production; that should be under the responsibility of the public broadcaster, Radio and Television Slovakia. We should focus more on other small-screen projects, ideally with international potential – so-called quality TV.

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