31-03-2020

Croatia Introduces State Measures to Support Filmmakers

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ZAGREB: The COVID-19 pandemic affects the Croatian film industry strongly. All filming has been canceled or postponed, including the production of the new feature films by Goran Dukić, Juraj Lerotić and Leon Lučev, as well as TV series by Vinko Brešan, Goran Kulenović and Igor Mirković.

Following the 2019 total of 50 m EUR / 377 m HRK in earnings from servicing productions, due to the pandemic there are no foreign productions scheduled to be filmed in Croatia in the coming months.

As previously reported by FNE, Croatian mainstream cinemas are losing 1.7 m EUR / 13.1 m HRK per month because of the closure, and an additional 144,626 EUR / 1.1 m HRK per month is lost in the Croatian Independent Cinemas Network.

A set of state measures has been introduced to help entrepreneurs survive this period. On 17 March the Croatian Parliament passed a total of 66 measures to support the local economy, estimated at 3.9 billion EUR / 30 billion HRK in total. Under these measures, filmmakers can benefit from a postponed tax payment with no interest, and employers will be able to apply for help from the 5 billion HRK state fund to cover minimum salaries for their employees, up to 425 EUR per employee.

Additional measures introduced by the Ministry of Culture include an emergency fund that is being set up to support all who feel the impact of closed cinemas and other preventive measures. Both individuals and companies will benefit from the fund, the Ministry stated. They will also allow an extension of the implementation period for all projects that had to be postponed.

Additionally, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) pledged to cover parts of unforeseen expenses for those who had to postpone their events, such as the ZagrebDox festival, that was scheduled for March. Their total budget for film festivals amounts to 786,600 EUR / 6 m HRK per year.

“Croatian production companies are small -- they rarely have more than one or two people employed -- but they generate income for hundreds of freelancers. We’re working around the clock, together with the HAVC and the Ministry of Culture, to help them get through this period of stagnation, and to resume normal activities as soon as the pandemic allows us”, Maja Vukić, head of the Croatian Producers Association, told FNE.

Together with the Croatian Film Director’s Guild, they intend to introduce proposals for additional state measures to help the crumbling audiovisual sector.