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CULTURE SHORTS

Slovakia has fewer cinemas, but more films

The Slovak film industry was unusually productive last year, shooting ten feature films and documentaries. Between 1993, when Slovakia became independent, and 2001, only two or three films were made each year. After 1993, many cinemas closed down and audiences were declining, while ticket prices rose along with the costs of making films. State subsidies were also cut, according to the Pravda daily.

The Slovak film industry was unusually productive last year, shooting ten feature films and documentaries. Between 1993, when Slovakia became independent, and 2001, only two or three films were made each year. After 1993, many cinemas closed down and audiences were declining, while ticket prices rose along with the costs of making films. State subsidies were also cut, according to the Pravda daily.

In 2004, the Culture Ministry introduced a new grant system called Audiovízia. It currently has ten subdivisions and provided Sk110 million (€3.27 million) to filmmakers last year. The disadvantage of the system is that filmmakers must use and account for the money received within the calendar year. This complicates shooting, and sometimes draws out the entire process. The ministry has been thinking of a way to tackle this, and a new audiovisual act is being prepared for parliament at the beginning of this year, wrote Pravda.

According to Cinema Operators and Employees Association chairperson Mária Pichnarčíková, there were 526 cinemas in Slovakia in 1992, while in 1993 there were 456. By 1994, the number had fallen to 430. The lowest number of movie theatres in Slovakia was in 2006 - when there were only 215. Around 8.9 million cinema tickets were sold in 1993, 3 million fewer than in 1992, but 2.5 million more than in 1994, news wire TASR reported.

Historically, the lowest number of cinemagoers was in 2005, when only 2.5 million tickets were sold. In 2006, the number increased to almost 3.4 million, with tickets costing Sk86 (€2.5) on average.

For comparison, tickets cost Sk19 in 1993, rising to Sk22 a year later, almost Sk40 in 1997, and more than Sk52 in 1999. Higher charges meant higher revenues for the cinemas, even though there were fewer cinemagoers. In 1993, cinemas made Sk168.2 million from 8.9 million tickets, while 3.4 million ticket sales generated Sk290.3 million in 2006, according to TASR.

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