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DISTRIBUTION / RELEASES / EXHIBITORS Slovakia

Cinemas and distributors in Slovakia resort to online initiatives

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- Domestic cinema operators have calculated that their losses stand at over €4.5 million for March

Cinemas and distributors in Slovakia resort to online initiatives
The Traitor by Marco Bellocchio is one of the films that Bratislava's Kino Lumiere is currently livestreaming

After a strong 2019 in cinemas (see the news), and with a record-breaking opening for the domestic film Scumbag [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
earlier this year (see the news), Slovakian cinemas were looking set for a good start to the 2020 season. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has thwarted expectations, as all of the cinemas were forced to close their doors following the preventive measures taken to ensure social distancing and self-isolation. The Slovakian Association of Cinema Operators and Union of Film Distributors have calculated the losses for the period 10-26 March 2020 to be €4,660,652 (total box-office revenue, including income from renting out space, selling refreshments and advertisement), based on the average numbers for 2019 (total earnings of €37,258,401, monthly average of €3,104,867 and daily average of €102,078). The cinemas are expected to remain shuttered for at last six more weeks.

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Some cinema operators are resorting to online screenings in order to recoup part of the losses. The city cinema Kino Lumiere in the capital of Bratislava, run by the Slovak Film Institute, has started up a “home cinema” initiative. Unlike on VoD services, the films are screened as a livestream without the option of stopping or rewinding. Viewers can interact with each other before, during or after the movie via chat. Kino Lumiere is currently livestreaming Céline Sciamma's Portrait of a Lady on Fire [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Céline Sciamma
film profile
]
, Nicolas Bedos' La Belle Époque [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nicolas Bedos
film profile
]
and Marco Bellocchio's The Traitor [+see also:
film review
trailer
Q&A: Marco Bellocchio
film profile
]
. The Slovak Association of Film Clubs is also rolling out some of its acquisitions online as video on demand, including Grímur Hákonarson's Rams [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Grimur Hakonarson
film profile
]
, Michael Haneke's Happy End [+see also:
film review
trailer
Q&A: Michael Haneke
film profile
]
and Damián Szifron's Wild Tales [+see also:
film review
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film profile
]
.

The Slovakian arm of VoD service DAFilms has recorded a three-fold hike in viewership numbers during the quarantine period (although the Slovak branch only started operations on 1 February 2020). The most-watched titles are Pavol Pekarčík's Silent Days [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Pavol Pekarčík
film profile
]
(which can be streamed free of charge), Marko Škop’s drama Let There Be Light [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Marko Škop
film profile
]
, Jiří Havelka's comedy Owners [+see also:
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film profile
]
, which recently netted prizes at the Czech Lion Awards (see the news) and the Czech Film Critics’ Awards (see the news), Juro Šlauka's Punk Never Ends! [+see also:
film review
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interview: Juraj Šlauka
film profile
]
, and Little Harbour [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Iveta Grófová
film profile
]
by Iveta Grófová. Most recently, the young distribution company Filmtopia decided to roll out an online initiative, starting with the award-winning Macedonian documentary Honeyland [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ljubomir Stefanov, Tamara K…
interview: Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir S…
film profile
]
by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, which was nominated for the 92nd Academy Awards in the Best International Feature Film and Best Documentary Feature categories, and the documentary Solo [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Artemio Benki
film profile
]
by producer-director Artemio Benki, which won the Czech Joy! Best Documentary Award at the 2019 Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.

On 22 April, Slovakia began relaxing its strict pandemic preventive measures, a process that is now unfolding in four phases. According to this plan, cinemas will open in the fourth phase, which is expected to take place on 3 June, on condition that the number of infected people doesn’t rise significantly during the process of opening up the domestic economy.

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