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Culture Ministry wants to attract foreign filmmakers to Slovakia

While foreign filmmakers often choose the capitals of neighbouring countries to shoot their films, they often avoid Bratislava. The Slovak Culture Ministry wants to change this practice through the amendment to the Act on the Audiovisual Fund, focusing on attracting more filmmakers to produce their work in Slovakia, the TASR newswire reported on July 9.

While foreign filmmakers often choose the capitals of neighbouring countries to shoot their films, they often avoid Bratislava. The Slovak Culture Ministry wants to change this practice through the amendment to the Act on the Audiovisual Fund, focusing on attracting more filmmakers to produce their work in Slovakia, the TASR newswire reported on July 9.

According to the amendment, if filmmakers pay the necessary costs, which in Slovakia would be taxed at a level reaching at least €2 million, after the end of filming they will be able to ask for a 20-percent rebate of the sum they paid. Such stimuli would be advantageous for public budgets, the development of services and new jobs, and they would also create impulses to develop the missing infrastructure in the audiovisual industry and support the promotion of Slovakia, said Culture Minister Marek Maďarič.

“We tried to set the system in a way to be equally or more attractive than similar systems in neighbouring countries,” Maďarič said, as quoted by TASR.

The minister added that, for example, in the Czech Republic foreign filmmakers apply for direct grants whose amount is, however, limited, while in Hungary there is a tax rebate system.

The advantage of the Slovak system might be in that there are no limits to the subsidy, which means that filmmakers will be able to ask for a 20-percent rebate of the costs anytime. Moreover, administration of the system should be simple, TASR reported.

Film productions seeking the incentive will have to pass a so-called ‘cultural test’ in which they will have to achieve at least 24 of 48 points. The subsidised works should be feature, documentary or animated films of at least 70 minutes or a series of 40 minutes per episode, and not films of a pornographic nature or films endorsing violence, Maďarič added, as reported by TASR.

The plans to support big film productions in Slovakia are nothing new as Slovakia is one of a few countries without the so-called initiation mechanism, said president of the Audiovisual Fund Martin Šmatlák, as quoted by the SITA newswire. He added that he welcomes the initiative of the Culture Ministry, saying that especially film projects with difficult content might have the biggest chance to get the subsidy.

“Though they bring more and more awards from foreign festivals as well as domestic events, it is necessary to develop the film industry, including its technological infrastructure and specific professions for full operation of the audiovisual environment,” Šmatlák told SITA, adding that this should be done only through bigger projects supported by foreign investments.

On the other hand, Šmatlák pointed to the fact that Slovakia destroyed its industrial base for film production: the film workshop at Koliba. The country is still feeling the consequences of this, he said, as reported by SITA.

The Culture Ministry plans to submit the draft amendment for interdepartmental review on July 15. If passed in parliament, the new rules will come into force on January 1, 2014.

Source: TASR, SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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