Market Analysis

Market Analysis (21)

Finland

Under construction. Full country profile coming soon.

Finland Funds Six Films

HELSINKI: The Finnish Film Foundation (www.ses.fi) awarded over 1.6 million euros in funding for six feature films in the May 2012 grants round, and an additional 675,000 euros funding for one feature film in the April grants round.

The following films received funding:

ABOVE DARK WATERS (TUMMAN VEDEN PÄÄLLÄ)

The movie, based on the novel with the same title by actor Peter Franzén, is a touching and sensitive story of growin up in Northern Finland. A small boy opens his eyes in the morning, astonished by the sunlight. The family life is as usual; meals together, playing with siblings and other kids. Everything appears to be familiar, almost idyllic. But the boy starts to hear noises during the nights; arguments and crying. The father disappears, the mother takes the kids to the grandparents' house. The child trusts his parents, unconditionally, admiring their wisdom and experience, full of hope and faith in the future. But what happens to the child when this image breaks? When the threats and fear become a daily routine?

Above Dark Waters is a sensitive but simultaneously hilarious story. Franzén captures the view of the world of a child with great detail; the story consists of small observations and eventually evolves to a great drama where childhood is no longer what it was supposed to be.

Director: Peter Franzén
Script: Peter Franzén
Producers: Markus Selin, Jukka Helle
Cinematography: Hena Bolmberg
Shooting schedule: August 2012, January 2013
Distribution in Finland: Oy Nordisk Film AB
Budget: 1 490 000,00 €
Total support of the Finnish Film Foundation: 630 000 EUR
Production company: Solar Films Inc (www.solarfilms.com)

 

THE ONLY ONES (NE AINOAT OIKEAT)

The Only Ones is a romantic comedy about a woman who finally finds her "Only One", but then the man mysteriously disappears. Her next great love appears, but happens to also be the Prime Minister of Finland.

Director: Saara Cantell
Script:  Outi Keskevaari
Producer: Jarkko Hentula
Shooting schedule: 09-10/2012 and 12/2012
Premiere: 25.12.2013
Distribution in Finland: Oy Nordisk Film AB
Financing TV company: MTV 3
Budget: 1 490 000,00 €
Total support of the Finnish Film Foundation: 700 000,00 €
Production company: Yellow Film & TV (www.yellowfilm.fi)

 

CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN MEN (MIESTEN VÄLISIÄ KESKUSTELUJA)

After eight successful satiric novels about Finnish politicians and cultural life Kari Mairisaari quit writing his ninth novel about the True Finns party members. Instead he starts writing a book about a bus mechanic. Not just about an average handyman, either. Vlatkosta, a 36-year-old Croat from Espoo, who is one day picked up to answer to war crimes charges.

Mairisaari has been following a Rwanda genocide trial at Porvoo city court and he's concerned about the questions, "Doesn't 15 years deacent life pay anything back?", " What does a young man feel after taking another person's life?"

Writing a novel is a serious challenge to Mairisaari. Could he walk the path where he has to relearn how to navigate through and to put at risk all that he has so far achieved? Does he have courage to create art that has a real meaning - for himself and for the reader?

Director: Jarmo Lampela
Shooting schedule: 10.3.2010-3.3.2011
Premiere: Autumn 2012
Distribution in Finland: Pirkanmaa Film Centre
Total support of the Finnish Film Foundation: 25 900,00 €
Production company: Vegetarian Films

 

PIONEER

The country gains confidence as it fights to secure its riches. Professional diver Peder is obsessed about reaching the bottom of the Norwegian Sea. Along with his brother Knut, he has the discipline, strength and courage necessary for the world's most dangerous job. A test dive to below 500 meters is compared to Norway's moon landing, and is meant to convince sceptics that laying a pipeline to the mainland is possible. For Peder, the question isn't whether it's feasible, but who'll take part. Then a tragic accident changes everything, and sends Peder on a journey, where he gradually loses sight of who's pulling which strings.

Director: Erik Skjoldbjærg
Script: Hans Gunnarsson, Cathinka Nicolaysen, Kathrine Valen Zeiner
Shooting schedule: 1.9.-15.12.2012
Premiere: 10/2013
Distribution in Finland: Oy Nordisk Film AB
Financing TV companies: NRK, SVT, ZDF
World sales: TrustNordisk
Budget: 5 555 559,00 €
Total support of the Finnish Film Foundation: 150 000,00 €
Production company: Friland Produksjon AS (Norway)
Co-production company: Matila Röhr Nordisk Oy (Finland)

 

DETECTIVE OFFICE LASSEMAJA - THE SEVEN WONDERS (LASSEMAJAS DETEKTIVBYRÅ - DE SJU UNDERVERKEN)

Lasse and Maija have decided to take some time off from their detective duties and go on a holiday. Nevertheless they end up in the middle of strange events. The lady Lilly Sparvén arrives in Valleby and has her seven diamonds with her. After many incidents Lasse and Maija are accused for beeing responsible of the diamond's disappearance. Now the holiday has to wait, as Lasse and Maija have to find who the real diamond thief is.

Director: Valter Söderlund
Script:  Peter Arrhenius
Shooting schedule: September-October 2012
Premiere: Autumn 2013
Distribution in Finland: FS Film Oy
Financing TV company: SVT, MTV3
Budget: 1 387 000,00 €
Total support of the Finnish Film Foundation: 100 000,00 €
Production company: AB Svensk Filmindustri (Sweden)
Co-production company: Kinoproduction Oy (Finland) 
 

KEKKONEN

Marja Pyykko FINUrho Kaleva Kekkonen, the long-time president of the Republic of Finland, is scheduled to visit Alli's Bar on his way to northern Finland. He is blindly worshiped and the nearer the visit draws, the more envy, competition and dirty tricks we see in a small town. 


Director: Marja Pyykkö
Script: Elias Koskimies (based on a novel by Pia Pesonen)
Shooting schedule: August-September 2012
Premiere: Autumn 2013
Distribution in Finland: Oy Nordisk Film Ab
Total support of the Finnish Film Foundation: 675 000,00 €
Production company: Solar Films Inc.

 

 

Report after The Finnish Film Foundation (www.ses.fi).

 

Lithuania

Bridges of Time by Kristine Briede and Audrius StonysMARKET ANALYSIS 2019

VILNIUS: It was another great year for Lithuanian cinema, which continued to garner international attention. World premieres of Lithuanian films took place at internationally acclaimed festivals, including Cannes, Busan, Hot Docs Toronto, Shanghai, Karlovy Vary, Leipzig, Venice, Tallinn, with the support of the Lithuanian Film Centre. Works from almost all genres – feature films, documentaries, animated films, short films - were presented to global audiences and contended in competition programmes.

The documentary Bridges of Time / Laiko tiltai directed by Audrius Stonys together with the Latvian director Kristīne Briede, a coproduction between VFS Films, Studio Nominum and Vesilind), has received worldwide recognition at international festivals, winning the Best Documentary Film Award at the Shanghai IFF.

Bridges of Time was also chosen as Lithuania‘s entry for an Oscar nomination in two categories: Best International Feature Film and Best Documentary Feature. Lithuania selected a documentary film for a second year in a row.

Nova Lituania by Karolis Kaupinis, photo: m-filmsAfter a 17-year break, Lithuanian feature films returned to the Venice Film Festival, where the hybrid genre film Parthenon directed by Mantas Kvedaravičius and produced by Studio Uljana Kim, competed in the Film Critics’ Week, while Ukrainian Sergei Loznitsa’s documentary State Funeral a Lithuanian minority coproduction, was screened Out of Competition.

The short film Community Gardens / Kolektyviniai sodai directed by Vytautas Katkus became the first Lithuanian film to be included in Cannes Critics‘ Week and included among the first eight titles announced by the European Film Academy as candidates for the 2020 European Film Awards.

It was an exceptional year in terms of releases of films by first time directors, including Karolis Kaupinis (Nova Lituania), Tomas Vengris (Motherland / Gimtinė), Jurgis Matulevičius (Isaac), as well as releases of films made by established directors including Sharunas Bartas (In The Dusk / Sutemose), Algimantas Puipa (Other Side of Silence / Kita tylos pusė) and Raimundas Banionis (The Purple Mist / Purpurinis rūkas).

In 2019 Lithuania successfully increased its film tax incentives to 30% for a five-year period. The tax incentives, a welcoming approach by the government and a big talent pool make Vilnius an attractive filming destination. Serving as filming location for the HBO miniseries Chernobyl boosted tourism in Lithuania. In 2018 alone, the city was visited by more than 1.2 m tourists, a 12% increase compared to 2017.

In the autumn of 2019 Vilnius hosted film crews working on 10 film projects at the same time, including a Netflix original production, the series Young Wallander.

Sadly, the Lithuanian-born director Jonas Mekas, one of the most important figures in the history of experimental film, passed away in 2019.

PRODUCTION

In the Dusk by Šarūnas BartasOne of the most prominent Lithuanian film directors, Sharunas Bartas, finished his historical dramaIn The Dusk / Sutemose in 2019. The film focuses on the Lithuanian partisan war, which took place after WWII, and it was produced by Šarūnas Bartas and Jurga Dikčiuvienė through Lithuania‘s Studio Kinema in coproduction with France‘s Kino Elektron, Serbia‘s Biberche Productions, Latvia‘s Mistrus Media, Sirena Film from the Czech Republic and Portugal‘s Terratreme Filmes. 

Andrius Blaževičius shot his second feature film Paralysis / Paralyžius, produced by M-Films.

Jurgis Matulevičius finished his historical psychological drama Isaac, produced by Lithuanian Film Jam and coproduced by Ukraine’s Esse House and Poland‘s Takfilm. The film participated in the Tallinn Black Nights FF.

International productions were attracted to Lithuania by the tax incentive scheme launched in 2014. In 2019 the Lithuanian Film Centre issued 98 Investment Certificates representing a total amount of 6,834,286 EUR financial aid for filmmaking in Lithuania. A total of 36 films used the scheme: eight foreign films, eight coproductions and 20 domestic films. Total production expenses in Lithuania were 22,909,399 EUR.

The list of  international productions which used the newly increased 30% tax incentive scheme in 2019 includes: the BBC series The Rise of the Nazis directed by Julian Jones and serviced by Virtus Mediae; the Norwegian political series Occupied directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg, produced by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, and serviced by Ahil; the spy thriller series Hamilton directed by Erik Leijonborg, produced by the Swedish companies DramaCorp and Kärnfilm, and serviced by Dansu; Young Wallander, a new Netflix original series directed by Ole Endresen and Jens Jonsson, produced by Yellow Bird UK and serviced by Ahil.

Eight international projects, eight coproductions and 20 national film projects benefited from the 30% tax incentive in 2019.

DISTRIBUTION

Motherland by Tomas VengrisA total of 23 new Lithuanian films (two more than in 2018) were released in 2019, including Algimantas Puipa‘s new drama Other Side of Silence / Kita tylos pusė, produced by Studio Uljana Kim, Tomas Vengris’ debut feature Motherland / Gimtinė, coproduced by Lithuania‘s Studio Uljana Kim, Latvia‘s Locomotive Productions, Germany‘s Heimat Hafen Films and Greece‘s Faliro House; Raimundas Banionis‘ The Purple Mist / Purpurinis rūkas produced by Lithuania’s Studija 2 in collaboration with the Lithuanian National Radio and Television; Marija’s Kavtaradzė’s Summer Survivors / Išgyventi vasarą produced by Lithuania’s M-films, and Ernestas Jankauskas‘ Sasha Was Here / Čia buvo Saša produced by Dansu.

Lithuanian films had a tremendous year in festivals. After a 17-year break, Lithuanian feature films returned to the Venice Film Festival, where the hybrid genre film Parthenon, directed by Mantas Kvedaravičius and produced by Studio Uljana Kim, competed in the Film Critics’ Week, while Ukrainian Sergei Loznitsa’s documentary State Funeral, a Lithuanian minority coproduction, was screened Out of Competition.

State Funeral is a coproduction between Atoms&Void (the Netherlands) and Studio Uljana Kim (Lithuania), supported by the Lithuanian Film Centre and Current Time TV (USA). The team of the film included Lithuanian editor Danielius Kokanauskis, the sound editor Vladimir Golovnitsk, who lives and works in Lithuania, while the video footage was restored by the Lithuanian Jonas Zagorskas.

In 2019 the Karlovy Vary FF had a large Lithuanian presence: in the competition programme, the jury, and at the industry event Work in Progress. Karolis Kaupinis's debut feature Nova Lituania produced by M-films, which premiered at the Karlovy Vary IFF, was awarded the Golden Athena Award at the Athens FF and Best Fiction Film Award at the Riga IFF.

Other Side of Silence directed by Algimantas Puipa premiered at the Scandinavian International Film Festival SCIFF, where it won Best International Feature Film and Best Actor awards.

Tomas Vengris’s debut feature Motherland / Gimtinė, which had its world-premiere in Busan‘s Flash Forward section, won the award for Best Baltic Feature Film at the Tallinn Black Nights FF.

Lithuania became the centre of attention at the BEAST International Film Festival, which brough Eastern European and Baltic cinema to Porto, Portugal. Special attention was paid to the godfather of the avantgarde film, Jonas Mekas, as his retrospective was screened at the festival.

Slovenia’s International Animation Festival Animateka in Ljubljana dedicated a programme to Baltic animation for the first time and selected 10 Lithuanian animated films from the last 30 years.

Other Side of Silence by Algimantas PuipaNordic Film Days Lübeck screened six Lithuanian films of various genres, united by the desire for freedom.

Lithuania was one of the four countries under the spotlight of the 11th Les Arcs FF. Ignas Jonynas's feature Invisible / Nematoma, produced by Lithuania’s Revoliucijos idėja in coproduction with Ukraine’s Limelite and Latvia’s Locomotive Productions, participated in the New Directors Competition.

The Oulu International Children’s and Youth FF (Finland) paid special attention to Lithuanian classics as Justinas Krisiūnas’s film Hearts / Širdys, produced by Dublis production, was screened in the Youth Competition programme, while the Lithuanian/Latvian/Czech coproduction Bile directed by Ināra Kolmane and produced by Latvian Devini, competed in the Children’s Films Competition.

A Lithuanian Cinema Week ran at the Cinemateket in Copenhagen within the annual New York Baltic Film Festival, and Litauisches Kino Goes Berlin, which was dedicated exclusively to Lithuanian cinema, screened 50 feature films, documentaries and short films, including two recently restored classics.

Works of documentary filmmakers continued their successful journeys across global film events: Aistė Žegulytė‘s first long documentary Animus Animalis (a Story about People, Animals and Things) / Animus Animalis (istorija apie žmones, žvėris ir daiktus) produced by Meno Avilys received the Grand Prix at the Brussels IFF, as well as a Special Prize at the Riga IFF, and it was screened at the Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival, Canada, the Thessaloniki IFF and Wroclaw FF, and also in Israel, Belarus and Mexico.

Two Lithuanian films: Exemplary Behaviour / Pavyzdingas elgesys, a documentary by Audrius Mickevičius and Nerijus Mileris, and One Life / Vienas gyvenimas, a short film by Marija Stonytė, had their world premieres at the DOK Leipzig. Exemplary Behaviour, which was coproduced by Lithuanian Era Film, Bulgarian AGITPROP and Slovenian CASABLANCA, in association with Stefilm (Italy), won the Golden Dove as well as the FIPRESCI Award the and the Ecumenical Jury Award.

Portugal’s documentary festival Porto/Post/Doc paid special attention to Lithuanian documentary filmmaker Audrius Stonys. The festival screened his retrospective and other Lithuanian films that influenced his work.

Animus Animalis (A story about people animals and things) by Aistė ŽegulytėLithuanian short films were also included in the programmes of international festivals. Community Gardens / Kolektyviniai sodai directed by Vytautas Katkus, produced by Viktoria Films, became the first Lithuanian film to be included in Cannes Critics‘ Week, while Jonas Trukanas‘ feature film When the Lights Go Out / Užgęsus šviesoms (Dansu) had its world premiere in the competitive programme of the Brussels International Fantastic FF.

As Lithuanian films are gaining more and more recognition at international film festivals, the Lithuanian film heritage is also being screened in various programmes. With 139 screenings across Lithuania and 41 screenings at international film festivals as well as restoration of historically significant films, 2019 marked an important re-emergence for the Lithuanian film classics.

The restored copy of the first colour Lithuanian film March! March! Tra-ta-ta! / Marš! Marš! Tra-ta-ta! (1964) directed by Raimondas Vabalas and produced by the Lithuanian Film Studio, had its world premiere at the National Gallery of Art in Washington on 3 November 2019. The film was restored especially for this occasion.

ACME Film, which was established in 1999 and is still the largest film distributor in the Baltics, distributes films from Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment and numerous other independent producers. The company distributes the films theatrically, on DVD, VOD and on TV.

In 2019, ACME Film distributed the Lithuanian feature films And all Their Man / Ir visi jų vyrai by Donatas Ulvydas and Motherland by Tomas Vengris, as well as Donatas Ulvydas’ documentary The State Secret / Valstybės paslaptis, on the former Lithuanian president Dalia Gybauskaitė.

Garsų Pasaulio Irašai (GPI) is the largest video distribution company in the Baltics, being also the exclusive distributor of Sony Pictures HE in the Baltics. In 2019 GPI distributed commercial and art house films, and also domestic films such as The Purple Mist by Raimundas Banionis, Other Side of Silence by Algimantas Puipa, Parthenon directed by Mantas Kvedaravičius and produced by Studio Uljana Kim.

EXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE

There are 79 screens in Lithuania, which is still too small a number, according to the Film Center, in order to provide access to films in smaller cities and given the total number of productions released.

Isaac by Jurgis MatulevičiusThe pan-Scandinavian Forum Cinemas, owner of the largest chain of film theatres in the country (76% of the market share), has six multiplexes with 40 screens, all fully digitalised since 2012. In 2016, Forum Cinemas joined the NCG group, which became a part of the global AMC/Odeon organisation belonging to the Wanda Group since 2017.

The Polish-owned multiplex Multikino, which opened in Vilnius in 2010, has seven screens with 1,673 seats. Baltic Multiplex Ventures, which is the owner of the Cinamon multiplex in Kaunas, invested 1.6 m EUR in its five screening rooms with over 1,000 seats.

Kino Pasaka, which was founded in 2009 as an art house film theatre in Vilnius, is still the only private art house cinema in Lithuania.

A total of 379 films were screened in Lithuanian cinemas in 2019, compared to 351 in 2018, with 4,110,531 admissions through 31 December 2019, compared to 4,265,414 admissions in 2018.

National production accounted for 19.64% of the whole market (27.9% in 2018), while European films represented a market share of 15.77% (11.8% in 2018) and US production – 60.88% (58.7% in 2018).

The productivity of national filmmakers remained stable as 52 new films of various lengths and genres were made (17 feature films and 16 documentaries) in 2019.

The total number of admissions was 4 m with the total gross reaching 22.5 m EUR.

The average ticket price slightly increased from 5.26 in 2018 to 5.45 EUR.

The Purple Fog by Raimundas BanionisThe most profitable Lithuanian film at the national box office in 2019 was the comedy Fake Millionaire / Pats sau milijonierius directed by Tadas Vidmantas and produced and distributed by Stambus Planas. The film was released on 18 October 2019 and had more than 204,860 admissions and 1,259,262 EUR gross through 2019.  

Vidmantas’s previous films include Lithuania’s most successful comedy Three Million Euros / Trys milijonai eurų, produced by Vabalo filmai, which earned 1,541,883.00 EUR in 2017.

The romantic comedy And all Their Man / Ir visi jų vyrai directed by Donatas Ulvydas and produced by Ulvyds, ranked 2nd with over 121,123 admissions and 690,896 EUR gross. The film was released by Acme Film on 25 January 2019.

In 2019 Ulvydas also released the documentary Valstybės paslaptis about the former Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė. With 40,040 admissions and 214,476 EUR gross, the film distributed by Acme Film became the most popular documentary in Lithuania in 2019.

Ramūnas Rudokas’s criminal drama The Condemned. Kaunas Novel / Pasmerkti. Kauno romanas is 3rd at the domestic box offfice with 88,763 admissions and 508 889 EUR gross. The film produced by Singing Fish is based on a true story and it was released by Singing fish on 22 November 2019.

The year 2019 was also successful for art house filmmakers. Raimundas Banionis’s drama The Purple Fog / Purpurinis rūkas, produced by Lithuania’s Studija 2, had 33,038 admissions and 159,978 EUR gross. The film was distributed by Garsų Pasaulio Įrašai.

Marija Kavtaradze’s debut feature Summer Survivors / Išgyventi vasarą, produced by Lithuania’s M-Films and distributed by Kino Pavasaris Distribution, had 26,328 admissions and 139,510 EUR gross.  

Ernestas Jankauskas’ Sasha Was Here / Čia buvo Saša, produced by Dansu and distributed by Dansu films, had 22,413 admissions and 120,454 EUR gross.

GRANTS AND NEW LEGISLATION

Summer Survivors by Marija Kavtaradzė, photo by Vismante RuzgaiteThe annual state support provided by the Lithuanian Film Centre for the film industry was 5.24 m EUR in 2019, of which 4,822,649 EUR were spent.

The Lithuanian audiovisual industry relies on funds from the Lithuanian Film Centre, private funds, coproducing with foreign companies and pan-European film support initiatives such as the MEDIA Programme and Eurimages.

The Lithuanian Film Centre was launched in 2012 and it is headed by Rolandas Kvietkauskas. It was set up after an extensive lobbying by the Independent Producers Association of Lithuania and the Lithuanian Filmmakers Union. It has had a huge impact on the local industry, which previously lacked a central body to represent it. The Lithuanian Film Centre primarily finances film development, production, promotion and distribution in Lithuania.

In 2018 the Lithuanian parliament approved a boost to the country’s film production tax incentive, increasing it from 20% to 30%. The new level took effect on 1 January 2019 and the legislation was renewed for a next five-year period.

The updated tax incentive is available for fiction films, TV films, documentaries and animated films. At least 80% of eligible film production costs must be incurred in Lithuania and the total amount of eligible spend in Lithuania has to be no less than 43,000 EUR. The incentives scheme is administered by the Lithuanian Film Centre.

In recent years the country‘s profile rose with high-profile and big-budget dramas. Lithuania has hosted numerous major international productions, including HBO‘s miniseries Chernobyl directed by Johan Renck, BBC‘s War and Peace directed by Tom Harper, Netflix’s Tokyo Trial directed by Rob W. King and Pieter Verhoeff, and many more.

During the first four years, until 2018, Lithuania received 24.4 m EUR worth of investment from foreign film producers. A total of 68 filmmakers used the tax incentive and 23 international projects benefited from the scheme.

The Vilnius Film Office was established at the end of 2011. A public non-profit entity, the Kaunas Film Office was established in 2012 as a result of joint efforts between the Kaunas municipality and the Kaunas Cinema Studio. The Vilnius Film Office and the Paralysis by Andrius Blaževičius, photo: M-filmsKaunas Film Office are members of the European Film Commissions Network.

The seaport Klaipėda, located on the Baltic Sea coast in Western Lithuania, as well its region, offer a wide range of filming locations. More at: www.klaipeda-locations.com.

TV

Lithuania’s public broadcaster, the Lithuanian National Radio and Television (LRT), operates three national television channels, three radio channels and an internet portal. It also provides satellite and live internet broadcasts, radio and television podcasts.

Since 1 January 2015, the Act amending the Law on the Lithuanian National Radio and Television came into force. This act bans commercial advertising on all LRT radio and TV channels, but provides more sustainable funding from the state budget. The assigned funding is based on the state budget revenues from the income tax and the excise revenues received in two previous years. Its operations are overseen by the LRT Council. LRT joined the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in 1993. LRT provides assistance to foreign broadcasting companies covering events in Lithuania.

TV3 is a television channel owned by Modern Times Group (MTG, Sweden) and targeted at Lithuanian-speaking audience. It was launched in April 1993 as Tele-3, before becoming TV3 in June 1997. Now TV3 is the biggest commercial TV channel in Lithuania and brings entertainment for the whole family, offering locally produced shows, well-known international formats and the most popular sports events.

The TV6 channel was launched in 2002. It focuses on entertainment and high-profile sports events – the UEFA Champions league, comedy, horror, action films and exclusive content shows. TV6 is a Lithuanian terrestrial, satellite and cable television channel owned by the Nordic television company Viasat.

In the Dusk by Šarūnas BartasThe TV8 channel, launched in 2011, is dedicated to women who want to enjoy their leisure time. It broadcasts cooking and lifestyle shows, fashion and female talk shows, romantic films and series as well as positive animation for children.

LNK TV, also known as Laisvas ir Nepriklausomas Kanalas (Free and Independent Channel), is one of the major commercial TV channels in Lithuania. It was founded in 1995 as part of MG Baltic Media. It has four sister channels: TV1, Info TV, Liuks! and BTV.

Lietuvos rytas TV is a Lithuanian entertainment channel founded in 2008 and airing approximately 55% international programmes.

In 2019 TV3 aired the 12th season of the most popular Lithuanian TV series Women Lie Better / Moterys meluoja geriau directed by Mykolas Vildžiūnas and Andrius Žiurauskas, and produced by Videometra. Women Lie Better is the most popular Lithuanian drama of all time and it is based on a novel by Daiva Vaitkevičiūtė. The series follows four young women and their love interests.

Also in 2019 LNK TV aired the second season of the criminal drama series Serious Deal / Rimti reikalai directed by Džiugas Siaurusaitis, produced by Urbs TV.

CONTACTS:

LITHUANIAN FILM CENTRE
Zigmanto Sierakausko g. 15, LT-03105 Vilnius
Phone: +370 5 213 0547, Fax: +370 5 213 0753
Director Rolandas Kvietkauskas
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VILNIUS FILM OFFICE
Director: Jūratė Pazikaitė
Konstitucijos pr. 3-313
Bille by Inara KolmaneVilnius, LT-09601
Phone: 85 211 2620, Mobile:. 8 614 04 696
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www.filmvilnius.com

KAUNAS FILM OFFICE
Darius Baltušis
Laisves av. 54, Kaunas, 44246
Phone: +37069837732
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www.kaunasfilmoffice.eu

KLAIPĖDA LOCATIONS
Anelija Juškevičiūtė
Phone:  +370 687 16001
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Report by Auksė Kancerevičiūtė (2020)
Source: the Lithuanian Film Centre


MARKET ANALYSIS 2018

Breathing into Marble by Giedrė BeinoriūtėIt has been a great year for the Lithuanian film industry. The expenditure on film production reached a total of 45 m EUR, with more than 5 m EUR coming from local businesses.

In 2018 the Lithuanian Parliament approved a boost to the country’s film production tax incentive, increasing it from 20% to 30%. The new percentage took effect from 1 January 2019 and the legislation has been renewed for the next five years.

World premieres of Lithuanian films took place at prestigious festivals in Karlovy Vary, Locarno, Leipzig, Tallinn, Venice, Moscow, Lübeck, Toronto, Glasgow, Tbilisi and Copenhagen, with the support of the Lithuanian Film Centre. Works from almost all genres – feature films, documentaries, animated films, short films and VRs – were presented to global audiences and contended in competition programmes. The first ever Baltic Film Festival in New York screened notable classic films, the latest feature films, documentaries and animated films from some of the best established and upcoming filmmakers from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

A Lithuanian film week was held in Beijing, retrospective programmes of Lithuanian cinema at Karlovy Vary and Reykjavik film festivals, as well as special events for film industry professionals at Pula, Locarno and San Sebastian film festivals.

In 2017 the Lithuanian Film Centre issued 108 certificates representing a total amount of 8,943,775 EUR in rebates. A total of 47 films used the scheme: eight foreign films, 14 coproductions and 25 domestic films. Their total production costs in Lithuania were 45,494,937 EUR.

PRODUCTION

In 2018 the Lithuanian Film Centre supported the production of 29 feature films, documentaries, short animated films and interactive projects.

Director Lina Lužytė started shooting her second feature film The Castle / Pilis on 28 June 2018. This coming-of-age drama is the first Lithuanian/Irish coproduction, with Lithuanian Artbox producing in coproduction with Samson Films.

Marat Sargsyan also shot his debut feature The Flood Won‘t Come / Tvano nebus, produced by Tremora, in 2018; Tomas Smulkis shot his first feature People We Know Are Confused  / Žmonės, kuriuos pažįstam, produced by Just a Moment; Donatas Ulvydas (known for Tadas Blinda. The Beginning produced by Tauras Films, which became the most profitable Lithuanian film at the national box office in 2011) shot the romantic comedy And All Their Men / Ir visi jų vyrai, produced by ACME Film, and Giedrė Beinoriūtė finished her debut drama Breathing into Marble / Kvėpavimas į marmurą, produced by Lithuania’s Just a Moment in coproduction with Croatian Aning Film D.O.O.

The Castle by Lina Lužytė, photo: ArtboxAlso in 2018, Jurgis Matulevičius finished his historical psychological drama Isaac, produced by Film Jam and coproduced by Ukraine’s ESSE House and as Poland‘s Takfilm.

Mantas Kvedaravičius shot his first feature Stasis, which is a coproduction between Lithuania, the Ukraine and France, produced by Studio Uljana Kim in coproduction with ESSE Production House and Rouge International.

A total of 47 films used the incentives scheme in 2018, including eight foreign films, 14 coproductions and 25 domestic films.

The list of  international productions which used the tax incentives scheme in 2018 includes: the five-episode miniseries Chernobyl / Černobylis directed by Johan Renck (the first coproduction between HBO and Sky Television), serviced by Baltic Film Services; The Conductor / Dirigentas directed by Mikael Hafström, produced by the Swedish production company Spark Film &TV and serviced by Dansu; the big-budget docuseries The Last Tsars / Paskutiniai carai directed by Adrian McDowall and Gareth Tunley, produced by Netflix and serviced by Baltic Film Services; Out Stealing Horses / Vogti arklius directed by Hans Petter Moland, produced by 4½ Fiksjon in coproduction with Zentropa Entertainments5, Zentropa Sweden, Helgeland Film, Film i Väst and Nordisk Film, and serviced by Lithuania’s Ahil; the 10-episode TV series The Oil Fund / Oljefonde produced by Zwart Arbeid in coproduction with Motion Blur, serviced by Artbox; the miniseries Catherine the Great / Jekaterina didžioji produced by HBO and Sky, and serviced by Baltic Film Services; Ghost Net / Tinklas vaiduoklis directed by Charlotte Brändström, produced by Daniel Lägersten and Brain Academy (Sweden), and serviced by Dansu; and HBO Nordic's first original series from Norway, Beforeigners / Atvykėliai directed by Jens Lien, produced by Rubicon TV and serviced by Artbox.

DISTRIBUTION

A total of 21 new Lithuanian films were released in 2018, including Giedrė Beinoriūtė’s drama Breathing into Marble, produced by Lithuania’s Just a Moment in coproduction with Croatian Aning Film D.O., Ashes in the Snow / Tarp pilkų debesų directed by Marius Markevičius, produced by the US company Sorrento Productions in cooproduction with Lithuania’s Tauras Films and US Twilight Merengue Studios; Owl Mountain / Pelėdų kalnas directed by Audrius Juzėnas, produced by Lithuania’s Kino gamyba.

ACME Film, which was established in 1999 and is still the largest film distributor in the Baltics, distributes films from Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment and numerous other independent producers. The company distributes the films theatrically, on DVD, VOD and on TV. In 2017, ACME film distributed the Lithuanian feature Ashes in the Snow. 

Isaak by Jurgis MatulevičiusLithuanian films had a tremendous year at festivals. They were presented to the world and launched on global tours with busy schedules. After screening in the East of the West competition at the Karlovy Vary IFF, Giedrė Beinoriūtė’s drama Breathing into Marble went to the Haifa Film Festival in Israel and the Busan Film Festival.

Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė’s first long documentary Acid Forest / Rūgštus miškas (Neon Realism) had its world premiere at the Locarno International Film Festival, where it won the Swatch Art Peace Hotel Award in the First Feature category, and afterwards it had its Eastern European premiere at the Ji.hlava IDFF.

Kristina Buožytė’s VR animation project Trail of Angels / Angelų takais had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival. For the second year in a row Lithuania participated in the Toronto International Film Festival. The 43rd edition of the festival included the world premiere of Marija Kavtaradzė’s debut feature Summer Survivors / Išgyventi vasarą, a 100% Lithuanian production between M-films and After School. The film was screened in the Discovery category.

Works of documentary filmmakers continued their successful journeys through global film events. Mindaugas Survila’s essay The Ancient Woods / Sengirė produced by Sengire, was presented at the Sydney Film Festival, while Arūnas Matelis’ Wonderful Losers: A Different World / Nuostabieji lūzeriai. Kita planeta, produced by Lithuanian‘s Studio Nominum in coproduction with Latvia‘s VFS FILMS, Stefilm International, Associate Directors, DOKMobile, Dearcán Media, Planet Korda Pictures and SUICA Films, was screened at the Belfast “Pull Focus” Documentary Festival, and eventually won the competition programme at the Ulju Mountain Film Festival in Korea.

Wonderful Losers: A Different World directed by Arūnas Matelis was the Lithuanian submission for the 91st Academy Awards, aiming for both Best Foreign Language Film and Best Documentary nominations. The film is a Lithuanian/Italian/Belgian/Swiss/Irish/British/Spanish/Latvian coproduction.

The documentary Bridges of Time directed by Audrius Stonys together with the Latvian director Kristīne Briede, a coproduction between VFS FILMSStudio Nominum and Vesilind, premiered at the Karlovy Vary IFF in the Documentary Films Competition section and it was also screened at the IDFA in the Masters section.

In 2018 the Karlovy Vary IFF included a retrospective of classics from the Baltics entitled Reflections of Time: Baltic Poetic Documentary.

PÖFF’s competitive programme – First Feature Competition included the world premiere of Ernestas Jankauskas’ Sasha Was Here / Čia buvo Saša produced by Dansu Films.

The 61st edition of DOK Leipzig had Lithuania as the country in focus to celebrate Lithuania’s centenary and displayed the extensive Lithuanian retrospective Challenges of (In)Dependence, which was the biggest national cinema programme in 12 years.

Ashes in the Snow by Marius MarkevičiusLithuanian short films were also screened at international festivals in 2018. Titas Laucius’ Snake was awarded the Cineuropa Audience Award at the FEST – New Directors | New Films in Espinho, Portugal.

An extensive programme of Lithuanian animated films was presented at the World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb,, while Ilja Bereznickas’ animated film The Goat Luck – Bad Luck was screened at the FEST – New Directors | New Films in Espinho and at the 2018 Animix Festival in Tel Aviv. Akvilė Žilionytė’s short film A Piece for Two Hands was presented at the Sound & Image Challenge International Festival in the Macau, China.

The Lithuanian filmmaker Arūnas Žebriūnas’s restored 1969 classic The Beauty / Gražuolė, produced by the Lithuanian Film Studio, ran across French cinemas.  It was the first time that a Lithuanian classic film ran in multiple cinemas outside the country. The film’s restoration and digitalisation in 2015 was commissioned by the Lithuanian Film Centre, in cooperation with the Office of the Chief Archivist of Lithuania.

In 2018 the 2nd edition of Baltic Film Days took place in Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn. The 18th goEast festival in Germany put a spotlight on the Baltic States with a symposium, “Hybrid Identities – Baltic Cinema”, dedicated to the national cinemas of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, their histories, pursuits of national and cultural identities. The festival’s programme also included some of the key recent titles of Baltic cinema.

The 15th Reykjavik International Film Festival in Iceland dedicated part of its programme to the cinematographies of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on the occasion of the centenary of the Baltic nations’ statehood. The special programme “In Focus: Baltic Countries”, put together in cooperation with the national film centres of the three countries, comprised nearly 30 works representing Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian filmmaking.

EXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE

There are 84 screens in Lithuania, which is too small a number, according to the Lithuanian Film Centre, in order to provide access to films in smaller cities.

The pan-Scandinavian Forum Cinemas, owner of the largest chain of film theatres in the country (76% of the market share), has six multiplexes with 40 screens, all fully digitalised since 2012. In 2016 Forum Cinemas joined the NCG group, which became a part of the global AMC/Odeon organisation belonging to the Wanda Group since 2017.

The Polish-owned multiplex Multikino, which opened in Vilnius in 2010, has seven screens with 1,673 seats. Baltic Multiplex Ventures, which is the owner of the Cinamon multiplex in Kaunas, invested 1.6 m EUR in its five screening rooms with over 1,000 seats.

Kino Pasaka, which was founded in 2009 as an art house film theatre in Vilnius and is still the only private art house cinema in Lithuania, offers two screens, a VOD platform and also distributes films in Lithuania and the Baltic states. Its VOD platform e.kinopasaka.lt was launched in September 2016.

Acid Forest by Rugilė BarzdžiukaitėA total of 351 films screened in Lithuanian cinemas in 2018 with 4,266,042 admissions through 31 December 2018, compared to 4,060,159 admissions in 2017. Total gross was 22,444,111 EUR compared to 20,392,625 EUR in 2017. Total admissions increased by 5 percent in 2018 and total gross by 10 percent.

A total of 26 Lithuanian films (including 21 premieres) screened in cinemas in 2018. Sixteen of them were financed by the Lithuanian Film Centre and nine of them used the tax incentives scheme.

Admissions for domestic films increased by more than 35 percent from 860,000 in 2017 to more than 1.17 m in 2018. Domestic films‘ box office increased by 38 percent from 4.5 m EUR in 2017 to 6.25 m EUR.

The average ticket price slightly increased from 5 EUR in 2017 to 5.26 in 2018.

The most profitable Lithuanian film at the national box office in 2018 was Ashes in the Snow / Tarp pilkų debesų, a WWII drama based on the bestseller Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. The film directed by Marius Markevičius, produced by Sorrento Productions, Tauras Films, Twilight Merengue Studios and released by Acme Film had 240,880 admissions and 1,295,396 EUR gross since its premiere on 12 October 2018.

The comedy Class Reunion: The Boys Are Back! / Klasės susitikimas: berniukai sugrįžta! directed by Kęstutis Gudavičius and produced and distributed by Vabalo filmai had 182,583 admissions and 1,005,157 EUR gross since its release on 29 December 2017.

The comedy Lithuanian Swingers / Lietuviški svingeriai directed by Tadas Vidmantas, produced and distributed by Vabalo filmai had 111,943 admissions and 645,911 EUR gross, since its release on 25 September 2018.

Women Lie Better: Robert / Moterys meluoja geriau. Robertėlis directed by Andrius Žiurauskas, produced and distributed by Singing Fish, had 107,770 admissions and 595,682 EUR gross since the release on 3 August 2018.

The Flood Wont Come by Marat SargsyanGRANTS AND NEW LEGISLATION

The annual state support for film industry in 2018 was 6,423,000 EUR, compared to 4,619,000 EUR in 2017. In 2018 the Lithuanian Film Centre supported the production of 29 feature films, documentaries, short animated films and interactive projects, as well as the preproduction and script development of 21 projects, the script development of 10 projects and the distribution of 13 films.

The total funding for film production and development provided by the Lithuanian Film Centre was 4,591,831 EUR, compared to 3,599,560 EUR in 2017. 

The Lithuanian audiovisual industry depends on funds from the Lithuanian Film Centre, private funds, coproducing with foreign companies and pan-European film support initiatives such as the MEDIA Programme and Eurimages.

The Lithuanian Film Centre was launched in 2012 and is headed by Rolandas Kvietkauskas. The long awaited LFC was set up after extensive lobbying by the Independent Producers Association of Lithuania and the Lithuanian Filmmakers Union. It has had a huge impact on the local industry, which previously lacked a central body to represent it. The LFC primarily finances film development, production and distribution in Lithuania and abroad.

The new Lithuanian incentive scheme became operational in January 2014. The Belgian creative industry consultancy KEA European Affairs conducted, under the commission of the Lithuanian Film Centre, a research to analyse the results of the national tax incentive for film production from 2014 to 2017. According to the research, the period from 2014 to 2017 was particularly productive for the film industry with a growing volume of national productions and coproductions as well as an increasing number of projects implemented by foreign film companies. During this time Lithuania received 24.4 m EUR worth of investment from foreign film producers.

A total of 68 filmmakers benefited from the tax incentives, including 23 films by foreign companies. The Lithuanian tax incentive drew the attention of such companies as the BBC and HBO. The tax incentive also encouraged local investment in the film industry. A total of 8,526,871 EUR was poured into film production by local businesses during the 4-year period.

The Ancient Woods by Mindaugas Survila, Gintė ŽulytėIn 2018 the Lithuanian parliament approved a boost to the country’s film production tax incentive, increasing it from 20% to 30%. The new percentage took effect from 1 January 2019 and the legislation has been renewed for the next five-year period. The updated tax incentive is available for fiction films, TV films, documentaries and animated films. At least 80% of eligible film production costs must be incurred in Lithuania and the total amount of eligible spend in Lithuania has to be no less than 43,000 EUR. The incentives scheme is administered by the Lithuanian Film Centre.

The Vilnius Film Office was established at the end of 2011. A public non-profit entity, the Kaunas Film Office was established in 2012 as a result of joint efforts between the Kaunas municipality and the Kaunas Cinema Studio. The Vilnius Film Office and the Kaunas Film Office are members of the European Film Commissions Network.

TV

Lithuania’s public broadcaster the Lithuanian National Radio and Television operates three national television channels, three radio channels and an internet portal. It also provides satellite and live internet broadcasts, radio and television podcasts. LRT uses modern computer graphics equipment as well. Studios of 70, 120, two studios of 300 and one of 700 square meters are available. There are also OB stations.

Since 1 January 2015, the Act amending the Law on the Lithuanian National Radio and Television came into force. This act bans commercial advertising on all LRT radio and TV channels, but provides more sustainable funding from the state budget. The assigned funding is based on the state budget revenues from the income tax and the excise revenues received in two previous years. Its operations are overseen by the LRT Council. LRT joined the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in 1993. LRT provides assistance to foreign broadcasting companies covering events in Lithuania.

TV3 is a television channel owned by Modern Times Group (MTG, Sweden) and targeted at the Lithuanian-speaking audience. It was founded on 7 May 1992 and launched on 11 April 1993 as Tele-3, before becoming TV3 on 8 June 1997. TV3 was the most popular TV station in Lithuania in 2018 and had 2,6 million admissions or 17,8%, according to statistics.

LNK TV, also known as Laisvas ir Nepriklausomas Kanalas (Free and Independent Channel), is one of the major commercial TV channels in Lithuania. It was founded in 1995 as part of MG Baltic Media. It has four sister channels: TV1, Info TV, Liuks! and BTV.

Summer Survivors by Marija Kavtaradzė, photo: Vismante RuzgaiteLietuvos rytas TV is a Lithuanian entertainment channel founded in 2008 and airing approximately 55% of international programmes. In 2008 Lietuvos Rytas TV replaced the Lithuanian station Penktas Kanalas and it is part of the Lietuvos Rytas Media Group.

Launched in 2002, TV6 is a Lithuanian terrestrial, satellite and cable television channel owned by the Nordic television company Viasat.

In 2018 LRT continued to air the historical drama Partisans. The Price of Freedom / Partizanai. Laisvės kaina directed by Saulius Balandis and produced by Videometra.

Also in 2018 TV3 aired the 11th season of the most popular Lithuanian TV series Women Lie Better / Moterys meluoja geriau directed by Mykolas Vildžiūnas and Andrius Žiurauskas, and produced by Videometra. Women Lie Better is the most popular Lithuanian drama of all time and it is based on a novel by Daiva Vaitkevičiūtė. The series follows four young women and their love interests.

Another very popular TV crime fiction series aired on TV3 in 2018 was Condemn / Pasmerkti directed by Ramūnas Rudokas and produced by Videometra.

LNK TV aired in 2018 the criminal drama series Serious Deal / Rimti reikalai directed by Džiugas Siaurusaitis, produced by Urbs TV.

CONTACTS:

LITHUANIAN FILM CENTRE
Zigmanto Sierakausko g. 15, LT-03105 Vilnius
Phone: +370 5 213 0547
Fax: +370 5 213 0753
Director Rolandas Kvietkauskas
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VILNIUS FILM OFFICE
Director: Jūratė Pazikaitė
Wonderful Losers: A Different World by Arūnas MatelisKonstitucijos pr. 3-313
Vilnius, LT-09601
Phone: 85 211 2620
Mobile:. 8 614 04 696
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www.filmvilnius.com

KAUNAS FILM OFFICE
Darius Baltušis
Phone: +37069837732
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Laisves av. 54, 44246 Kaunas, Lithuania
www.kaunasfilmoffice.eu

Report by Auksė Kancerevičiūtė (2019)
Source: Baltic Films


 MARKET ANALYSIS 2017

Owl Mountain by Audrius JuzėnasLithuanian film industry had a good year in 2017, with films made with the support of the Lithuanian Film Centre and selected for major festivals – Cannes, Toronto, Locarno, Venice, Karlovy Vary, IDFA Amsterdam – and international productions flocking in after the launch of the incentives scheme in 2014. In 2017 Lithuania was also a guest country at the Minsk International Film Festival Listapad.

Total funding for film production and development provided by the Lithuanian Film Centre increased by 40 percent, from 2,568,616 EUR in 2016 to 3,599,560 EUR in 2017.

In 2017 the Lithuanian Film Centre issued 69 certificates representing a total of 3,756,205 EUR in rebates. A total of 35 films benefited from the incentives scheme: 13 national films, 15 international coproductions and seven commissioned films. All of them spent more than 19,315,294  EUR in Lithuania in 2017.

Total admissions increased by 10.6 percent in 2017 and total gross increased by 15 percent.

Admissions to domestic films increased by 22.9 percent and domestic gross by 28.5 percent.

The Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) adopted a new Film Law on 12 December 2017.

PRODUCTION

In 2017 director Audrius Juzėnas shot his fourth feature film Owl Mountain / Pelėdų kalnas, with Kino gamyba producing. This historical drama will be released on 16 February 2018, the day when Lithuania celebrates the 100th anniversary of its Act of Independence.The Purple Fog by Raimundas Banionis

Ignas Jonynas also shot his new feature film Invisible / Nematoma in 2017. Invisible is a Lithuanian/ Ukrainian/Latvian coproduction between Revoliucijos idėja, Limelite and Locomotive Productions.

The acclaimed film, theatre and TV director Raimundas Banionis returned to film directing after 25 years with The Purple Fog / Purpurinis rūkas. This historical drama produced by Studija 2 will be theatrically released in 2018.

One of the most promising young Lithuanian directors and scriptwriters, Marija Kavtaradzė, started shooting her debut feature Summer Survivors / Vasara in August 2018. The film is a 100% Lithuanian production, produced by Marija Razgutė through M-films in coproduction with After School.

Also in 2017 the prominent Lithuanian documentarist Audrius Stonys worked together with the Latvian director Kristine Briede on their project Baltic New Wave, a creative documentary on Baltic documentary filmmakers from the Soviet times. This Latvian/Lithuanian/Estonian coproduction between VFS Films, Studio Nominum and Vesilind was one of the winners at the 2017 Meeting Point - Vilnius industry screenings.

In 2017 Giedrė Žickytė finished shooting her new creative documentary The Jump / Šuolis, produced by Lithuania’s Moonmakers in coproduction with Latvia’s VFS Films, France’s Faites un Voeu, Germany’s Sutor Colonko and Naked Edge Films (U.S.), which started filming in December 2015.

The partially animated feature documentary The L-Team / L-Komanda (See here) by director Andrius Lekavicius was also produced in 2017 with the premiere set for spring 2018. The film is produced by 360 laipsnių filmai in coproduction with Latvia‘s SIA Tanka.

International productions were attracted to Lithuania by the incentives scheme launched in 2014. In 2017 the Lithuanian Film Centre issued 69 certificates representing rebates of a total of 3,756,205 EUR. A total of 35 films benefited from the incentives scheme: 13 national films, 15 coproductions and seven commissioned films. All of them spent more than 19,315,294  EUR in Lithuania in 2017.

The following international productions used the incentive scheme in 2017: the TV drama Kruso, directed by Thomas Stuber and coproduced by Germany‘s Ufa Fiction GmbH and the local company Lietuvos Kino Studija, Going Vertical / Judėjimas aukštyn, directed by Anton Megerdichev, produced by Russia‘s Three T Production and serviced by Lithuanian Artbox, The Legend of Escape / Legenda apie pabėgimą, directed by Andrey Malyukov, coproduced by Russia‘s Foundation of National Cinema Patriot and the local company Artbox; Orange Fever / Oranžinė karštligė, directed by Pim van Hoeve, produced by Gek van Oranje (Netherlands) and the local coproducer Artbox; Swamp / Pelkė, directed by Camilla Stroem Henriksen and produced by Hummelfilm (Norway, Sweden) in coproduction with Lietuvos Kino Studija; Instrument of War / Tikra drąsa, directed by Adam Thomas Anderegg, produced by Kaleidoscope Pictures (U.S.) in coproduction with the local production company Baltic Film Services; Tulips, Love, Honour and a Bike / Tulpės, meilė garbė ir dviratis, directed by Oscar-winning Mike van Diem, produced by FATT Productions (Netherlands) in coproduction with the local coproducer Artbox.

The L-Team by Andrius LekaviciusDISTRIBUTION

Lithuanian films had a tremendous year at festivals. The world premiere of Frost / Šerkšnas by Sharunas Bartas took place within the Directors’ Fortnight at the 70th Cannes Festival in May 2017. Then the film travelled to several important film festivals including Locarno and Odessa. It was screened at the Riga IFF and also at the Minsk FF, where Bartas received the Best Director Award. Frost has been chosen as the official candidate from Lithuania for an Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category. The film is a Lithuanian/Ukrainian/French/Polish coproduction, produced by Studija Kinema, France‘s Kino Elektron, Poland’s Donten & Lacroix Films Sp. z o. o. and Ukraine‘s TatoFilm.

The tragic comedyMiracle / Stebuklas directed by Eglė Vertelytė, had a major success not only in Lithuania, but also abroad. This Lithuanian/Bulgarian coproduction between In Script and Geopoly was the first Lithuanian film selected for the Toronto IFF in over 15 years.

The feature film Emilia / Emilija iš Laisvės alėjos, directed by Donatas Ulvydas, had screenings for the American film industry representatives and the Lithuanian community in the U.S., and also at the Canadian Film Institute. Emilia was produced by Fralita Films in coproduction with Ulvyds.

Arūnas Matelis‘s documentary Wonderful Losers: A Different World / Nuostabieji lūzeriai. Kita planeta premiered at the Warsaw FF and won awards for best documentary at both Warsaw and Minsk festivals. The film is a Lithuanian/Italian/Belgian/Swiss/Irish/British/Spanish/Latvian coproduction, produced by: Nominum,  VFS FILMS, Stefilm International, Associate Directors, DOKMobile, Dearcán Media, Planet Korda Pictures and SUICA Films.

The Ancient Woods by Mindaugas SurvilaThe long documentary The Ancient Woods / Sengirė, directed by Mindaugas Survila, was selected for the 2017 IDFA in Amsterdam. The production companies behind the film are Lithuania‘s Sengirė, Germany‘s Ma.ja.de Filmproduktions and Estonia‘s OU Vesilind.

The Lithuanian/German coproduction What We Leave Behind / Liebe Oma, Guten Tag!, directed by sisters Jūratė Samulionytė and Vilma Samulionytė, was selected for the 59th Nordic Film Days Lübeck and the 34th Kassel Dokfest. The film was produced by Lithuania's Tremora in coproduction with Germany‘s Dagstar Film.

Eleven new Lithuanian films were released in 2017, including Frost directed by Sharunas Bartas, Emilia directed by Donatas Ulvydas, The Saint / Šventasis directed by Andrius Blaževičius, Miracle directed by Eglė Vertelytė, the black comedy Zero III directed by Emilis Vėlyvis and produced by Kino Kultas and NeverEver.

ACME Film, which was established in 1999 and is still the largest film distributor in the Baltics, distributes films from Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment and numerous other independent producers. The company distributes the films theatrically, on DVD, VOD and on TV. In 2017, ACME film distributed the Lithuanian feature Emilia directed by Donatas Ulvydas. In 2017, ACME Film had revenues of 7,137, 244 EUR and 1,432,497 admissions from a total of 72 titles.

Garsų Pasaulio Irašai (GPI) is the largest video distribution company in the Baltics and also the exclusive distributor of Sony Pictures HE in the Baltics.

Summer Survivors by Marija Kavtaradzė, photo by Vismante RuzgaiteEXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE

There are 79 screens in Lithuania, which is too small a number in order to provide access to films in smaller cities. „There are too few screens in Lithuania and even fewer independent cinemas, so it’s quite difficult to book more than four or five screens for the release week“, Greta Akcijonaite, the co-owner and manager at Kino Pasaka, a distribution, exhibition, film education and audience projects’ development company in Lithuania, told FNE in June 2017, when she was FNE‘s Distributor of the Month.

The pan-Scandinavian Forum Cinemas, owner of the largest chain of movie theaters in the country (76% of the market share), has six multiplexes with 40 screens, all fully digitalised since 2012. In 2016 Forum Cinemas joined the Nordic Cinema Group (NCG) and in 2017 the NCG was bought by the global AMC/Odeon.

The Polish-owned multiplex Multikino, which opened in Vilnius in 2010, has seven screens with 1,673 seats. Baltic Multiplex Ventures, which is the owner of the Cinamon multiplex in Kaunas, invested 1.6 m EUR in its five screening rooms with over 1,000 seats.

Baltic New Wave by Audris Stonis and Kristīne BriedeKino Pasaka, which was founded in 2009 as an art house movie theater in Vilnius and is still the only private art house cinema in Lithuania, offers two screens and a VOD platform, and also distributes films in Lithuania and the Baltic states. Its VOD platform e.kinopasaka.lt was launched in September 2016.  

A total of 309 films screened in Lithuanian cinemas in 2017 with 4,060,159 admissions through 31 December 2017, compared to 3,668,370 admissions in 2016. Total gross was 20,392,625 EUR compared to 17,724,516 EUR in 2016. Total admissions increased by 10.6 percent in 2017 and total gross by 15 percent.

A total of 15 Lithuanian films (including 11 premieres) screened in cinemas in 2017. All of them were produced with state support - six of them were financed by the Lithuanian Film Centre and ten of them used the tax incentives scheme.

Admissions to domestic films increased by 22.9 percent from 699,207 in 2016 to more than 860,000 in 2017. Domestic films‘ box office increased by 28.5 percent from 3.5 m EUR in 2016 to 4.5 m EUR in 2017.

The average ticket price slightly increased from 4.83 in 2016 to 5 EUR in 2017.

Zero III by Emilis VėlyvisThe most profitable Lithuanian movie at the national box office in 2017 was the comedy Three Million Euros / Trys milijonai Eurų, directed by Tadas Vidmantas and produced & distributed by Vabalo filmai. The film was released on 27 October 2017 and had more than 235,667 admissions and 1,304,887 EUR gross until the end of 2017.

The third part of Emilis Vėlyvis‘s famous trilogy Zero III drew more than 194,486 viewers, earning 1,008,470 EUR . Zero III was produced by Kino Kultas and NeverEver, and it was released by Cinema Cult Distribution. The film was also theatrically released in Great Britain and Ireland.

Emilia / Emilija iš Laisvės alėjos, directed by Donatas Ulvydas and released by Acme Film, had 124,162 admissions and 578, 619 EUR gross since its premiere on 16 Febuary 2017.

The comedy Kaip susigrąžinti ją per 7 dienas, directed by Andrius Žiurauskas, produced and released by Singing fish, had 89,616 admissions and 465,368 EUR gross since its premiere on 6 October 2017.

The comedy Klasės susitikimas: berniukai sugrįžta!, directed by Kęstutis Gudavičius, produced and released by Vabalo filmai, had 64,271 admissions and 378,882 EUR gross since its opening on 29 December 2017.

The comedy Poilsiautojai. Pavydo žaidynės, directed by Simonas Aškelavičius, produced and distributed by Full Screen, was released on 24 November 2017 and had more than 50,710 admissions and 281,885 EUR gross until the end of 2017.

Andrius Blaževičius’s debut feature The Saint / Šventasis, winner of the 10th Lithuanian Film and TV Silver Crane Awards 2017 in six categories (best feature film, best director, best actor, best supporting actor, best supporting actress and best script), drew more than 46,856 viewers and earned over 243,062 EUR. The film, produced by Lithuania’s M-films in coproduction with Poland’s No Sugar Films, was released by Kino Pavasaris.

Kruso by Thomas StuberThe comedy 12 Chairs / 12 kėdžių, directed by Algirdas Ramanauskas and produced & distributed by Film Jam, had more than 28,243 admissions and over 138,341 EUR gross from 23 December 2016 until the end of 2017.

The tragi-comedy Miracle / Stebuklas, directed by Eglė Vertelytė and released by In Script,, had 14,341admissions and 71,184 EUR gross.

GRANTS AND NEW LEGISLATION

In 2017 the Lithuanian Film Centre supported the production of 34 feature films, documentaries, short animated films and interactive projects, as well as the preproduction and development of nine film projects and the distribution of six films. The Lithuanian Film Centre also supported the production of 17 projects dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Lithuanian state.

The total funding for film production and development provided by the Lithuanian Film Centre was 3,599,560 EUR in 2017, compared to 2,568,616 EUR in 2016. The increase is 40 percent.

The annual state support that the Lithuanian Film Centre spent on the film industry in 2017 was 6,423,000 EUR, compared to 3,519,000 EUR in 2016.

The Lithuanian audiovisual industry depends on funds from the Lithuanian Film Centre, private funds, coproducing with foreign companies and pan-European film support initiatives such as the MEDIA Programme and Eurimages.

Tulips, Love, Honour and a Bike by Mike van DiemThe Lithuanian Film Centre was launched in 2012 and is headed by Rolandas Kvietkauskas. The long awaited LFC was set up after an extensive lobbying by the Independent Producers Association of Lithuania and the Lithuanian Filmmakers Union. It has had a huge impact on the local industry, which previously lacked a central body to represent it. The LFC primarily finances film development, production and distribution in Lithuania and abroad.

On 12 December 2017 the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) adopted a new Film Law. Since 1 January 2018, artistically valuable films spoken in Lithuanian can receive up to 90% of State support. In 2016, The Lithuanian Film Centre primarily financed up to 75% of film development or production. A feature film will get up to 725,000 EUR support. Coproductions may be granted up to 60%. Low budget and experimental film categories don‘t exist anymore. Germany, Estonia and Latvia are among the leading coproduction partners.

The new Lithuanian incentives scheme became operational in January 2014. The incentives scheme offers up to 20 percent of Lithuanian production budget. The minimum spend in Lithuania has to be 43,000 EUR. Minority coproductions are also encouraged to apply for the rebate, which is guaranteed through the end of 2018. The incentives scheme is administered by the Lithuanian Film Centre.

The Vilnius Film Office was established at the end of 2011. A public non-profit entity, the Kaunas Film Office, was established in 2012 as a result of a joint effort between the Kaunas municipality and the Kaunas Cinema Studio. The Vilnius Film Office and the Kaunas Film Office are members of the European Film Commissions Network.

Frost by Sharunas BartasTV

Lithuania’s public broadcaster Lithuanian National Radio and Television operates three national television channels, three radio channels and an internet portal. It also provides satellite and live internet broadcasts, radio and television podcasts.

Since 1 January 2015, the Act amending the Law on the Lithuanian National Radio and Television came into force. This act bans commercial advertising on all LRT radio and TV channels, but provides more sustainable funding from the state budget. The assigned funding is based on the state budget revenues from the income tax and the excise revenues received in two previous years. Its operations are overseen by the LRT Council. LRT joined the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in 1993. LRT provides assistance to foreign broadcasting companies covering events in Lithuania.

TV3 is a television channel owned by Modern Times Group (MTG, Sweden) and targeted at the Lithuanian-speaking audience. It was founded on 7 May 1992 and launched on 11 April 1993 as Tele-3, before becoming TV3 on 8 June 1997.

LNK TV, also known as Laisvas ir Nepriklausomas Kanalas (Free and Independent Channel), is one of the major commercial TV channels in Lithuania. It was founded in 1995 as a part of MG Baltic Media. It has four sister channels: TV1, Info TV, Liuks! and BTV.

Miracle by Egle VertelyteLietuvos rytas TV is a Lithuanian entertainment channel founded in 2008 and airing approximately 55% of international programmes. In 2008 Lietuvos Rytas TV replaced the Lithuanian station Penktas Kanalas and it is part of the Lietuvos Rytas Media Group.

Launched in 2002, TV6  is a Lithuanian terrestrial, satellite and cable television channel owned by the Nordic television company Viasat.

In 2017 the Lithuanian National Television continued to air the historical drama Volunteers.The Price of Freedom / Savanoriai. Laisvės kaina and Partisans. The Price of Freedom / Partizanai. Laisvės kaina, both directed by Saulius Balandis and produced by Videometra.

Also in 2017 TV3 aired the 10th season of the most popular Lithuanian TV series Women Lie Better / Moterys meluoja geriau, directed by Raimundas Banionis and Mykolas Vildžiūnas, and produced by Videometra. Women Lie Better is the most popular Lithuanian drama of all time and it is based on a novel by Daiva Vaitkevičiūtė. The series follows four young women and their love interests.

Another very popular TV comedy series aired on TV3 in 2017 was Bruto and Neto / Bruto ir Neto, directed by Ričardas Vitkaitis and produced by Videometra.

CONTACTS:

LITHUANIAN FILM CENTRE
Zigmanto Sierakausko g. 15, LT-03105 Vilnius
Phone: +370 5 213 0547
Fax: +370 5 213 0753
Director Rolandas Kvietkauskas
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VILNIUS FILM OFFICE
Director: Jūratė Pazikaitė
Konstitucijos pr. 3-313The Saint by Andrius Blaževičius
Vilnius, LT-09601
Phone: 85 211 2620
Mobile:. 8 614 04 696
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www.filmvilnius.com

KAUNAS FILM OFFICE
Darius Baltušis
Phone: +37069837732
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Laisves av. 54, 44246 Kaunas, Lithuania
www.kaunasfilmoffice.eu

Report by Auksė Kancerevičiūtė (2018)
Source: the Lithuanian Film Centre, Baltic Films

 

Georgia

Shindisi by Dito Tsintsadze, photo: 20 Steps ProductionMARKET ANALYSIS 2019

TBILISI: Georgia had a great year with more awards at international festivals and more attention given to Georgian films. Georgian cinema days were held in Brussels, Rome, Boston, Poland and Jordan, and Georgia was a Focus Country at the 2019 Valladolid International Film Festival and the Manaki Brothers Film Festival.

Thirteen projects were supported in 2019 in the framework of the Film in Georgia programme. Their total spent increased by 500 percent from 12 m EUR / 36 m GEL in 2018 to 60 m EUR / 192 m GEL in 2019. More than 4,000 local cast and technical crew were employed.

Gaga Chkheidze was appointed head of the Georgian National Film Center (GNFC) in May 2019.

Negative Numbers by Uta BeriaUnder a deal signed with the film archives of the Russian Federation in 2016, hundreds of films made from 1921 to 1991 are to be returned to Georgia. Their Kingdom directed by Mikheil Kalatozishvili and Nutsa Ghoghoberidze is among the films returned in 2019. At this stage, 57 Georgian films are back in Georgia.

Dito Tsintsadze's Shindisi was selected as Georgia’s entry for the 92nd Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ award in the best international feature film category.

PRODUCTION

Eight Georgian feature films were produced and finished in 2019, according to the GNFC. All of them are supported by the GNFC.

Five of them were screened at the Tbilisi International Film Festival: Negative Numbers (international premiere at Arras FF), written and directed by Uta Beria and produced by Magnet Films, The Pig (international premiere at FilmFestival Cottbus), written and directed by Giga Liklikadze and produced by Sarke Studio, Golden Thread written and directed Lana Ghoghoberidze and produced by 3003 Film Production, Comets written and directed by Tamar Shavgulidze and produced by Nushi Film (international premiere at Toronto IFF), and Inhale- Exhale (international premiere at Shanghai IFF, two awards in the main competition), written by Nestan (Nene) Kvinikadze, directed by Dito Tsintsadze and produced by Cinetech Film Production.

The Criminal Man, co-written and directed by Dimitri Mamulia and produced by Millimeterfilm, was completed and had its premiere at the Venice FF within the Horizons competition programme in 2019.

Other films are almost ready for their premieres. The list includes the new feature film by Zaza Urushadze Anton, produced by Georgian International Films LLC in coproduction with Insightmedia from the Ukraine and Cinevision Global from the USA, and Otar’s Death directed by Ioseb Bliadze and produced by Eva Blondiau through Georgia’s MAISIS PERI in coproduction with Color of May from Germany, Studio Artizm (Lasha Khalvashi) from Georgia and M-Films (Marija Razgute) from Lithuania.

The Pig by Giga LiklikadzeNine short films were shot in 2019 and all of them are already completed: The Empty Table directed by Goga Kobalia and produced by Visual Arts Center, Summer directed by Giorgi Mukhadze and produced by Takes Films, Bad People directed by Giorgi Tavartkiladze and produced by 20 Steps Productions, Krimanchuli Thiefs directed by Khatuna Khundadze and produced by Abkstudia, Sweaty Towels directed by Alexander Kviria and produced by Takes Films, Marx Street 12 directed by Irine Jordania and produced by Studia Kedar, Refugee directed by Irakli Solomonashvili and produced by Nali, and When Butterflies Begin to Fly directed by Bekar Jguburia and produced by Irakli Chikvaidze.

Seven documentaries were completed in 2019: Dead Souls Vacation directed by Ekaterine Chelidze and produced by Parachute FilmsCircle directed by Alexander Rekhviashvili and produced by Rati Rekhviashvili, How to Become Georgian directed by Natia Arabuli-Weger and produced by EBC Film Studio, A Tunnel directed by Nino Orjonikidze and produced by ArteFact (international premiere at IDFA), Lost 8½ directed by Vakho Varazi and produced by Nali, And the Others directed by Davit Gurgulia and produced by Studio123, Twelve Lessons directed by Giorgi Mrevlishvili and produced by MAC Georgia, Harvest directed by Mikheil Antadze and produced by NAPR Cinemark, and Aznash Laman directed by Nona Giunashvili and produced by B-A-T studio Ltd.

Four animated films were produced in 2019: Trauri directed by Petre Tomadze and produced by ADF, Raven directed by Alexander Katamashvili and produced by 20 Steps Productions, Franzy's Soup-Kitchen directed by Ani Chubinidze and produced by Pocket Studio, and Abandoned Village directed by Mari Kapanadze and produced by Tsotne Kalandadze. Only Trauri was already finished by the end of 2019, the rest of them were in production or postproduction.

The following films and TV series were shot under the Film in Georgia programme in 2019: Venice a Georgian/Swiss/Norwegian coproduction directed by Rusudan Chkonia, produced by 20 Steps Productions in coproduction with Akka Films and Ape&Bjørn, and serviced by Nike Studio Ltd; Rocketry The Nambi Effect (India) directed by R.Madhavan and Prajesh Sen, produced by Tricolour Productions and Varghese Moolan Pictures and serviced by Betterfly Films; The Other Me (Georgia) directed by Giga Agladze, produced by The Fun Group and serviced by BA Production; Sakartvelo (Georgia) directed by Nikoloz Khomasuridze, produced by Lost Legends and serviced by Sakartvelo Films Ltd; Naked Sky / Daisi (Georgia) directed by Dea Kolumbegashvili, produced by Rati Oneli and serviced by Cinema-Architecture Office; The Resting Samurai a Georgian/Dutch coproduction directed by Levan Tutberidze, produced by the Georgian company Alamdary Films and coproduced with Windmill Film’s Annemiek van der Hell (the Netherlands) and supported by the Georgian National Film Center with EUR 132,000 / GEL 400,000, the Georgian Public BroadcasterUPP (Czech Republic) and Silk Factory Studio (Georgia); Kargil Girl (India) directed by Sharan Sharma, produced by Dharma Productions and serviced by Betterfly Films; The Lady of Heaven (UK) directed by John Stephenson, produced by Mattew Kuipers and serviced by Sarke Studio LLC; Doubleman a Thai TV series produced by Thai company Kanthana Motion Pictures and serviced by Georgian Film Production; Fast & Furious 9 (USA) directed by Justin Lin, produced by Original Film and Universal Pictures, and serviced by Enkeny Films; Field directed by Lasha Tskvitinidze, produced by Nodar Nozadze through Pansionati in coproduction with Nushi Film (Tekla Machavariani) from Georgia; It Is Not Milk (Visual advertising, UK) directed by Conor Byrne through Hungry Man, and serviced by Sarke Studio LLC (Georgia).

Comets by Tamar ShavgulidzeThe Film in Georgia programme rebated the first US studio production in Georgia, Fast & Furious 9, with 7.9 m EUR / 25.3 m GEL. The project used more than 2,000 locals in its 30 days of shooting (19 August - 21 September 2019) in Tbilisi. This has been the biggest international film production so far for Georgia. 

“It was the first US Studio production filming in Georgia, and the responsibility on us was huge to convince Hollywood that the country is ready to host large-scale productions, in terms of flexibility of doing business in the country, as well as qualifications of Georgian film crews. Today we have multiple upcoming projects with different US studios. The contacts that we have acquired in this process during the last two years give us the vision and the opportunity to create a strategy that will give us a stable, developed film industry in the long run. Along with production services, creating our content is one of our main directions as a company. We are currently developing a couple of scripts, at the same time having negotiations with film financiers in the USA and London. We believe, in a couple of years we will be able to become an important hub for filmmaking in this part of the world”, Sophio Bendiashvili, Enkeny Films Managing Partner, told FNE. 

The total investment of all 13 projects shot under Film in Georgia amounts to 60 m EUR / 192 m GEL so far. More than 4,000 local cast and technical crew were employed.

The Film in Georgia team plans to continue the active promotion of Georgia abroad, including participation in major industry events (AFCI, AFM Location Expo, Focus Expo,Winston Baker Film Finance Forum), meetings with major studios, location managers and independent producers, as well as familiarisation tours to Georgia, in order to introduce filming locations and existing relevant infrastructure in the country.

“The programme Film in Georgia is the main motivator for attracting international projects to Georgia. Our country has all the major advantages in order to be competitive in the world, such as various locations, flexible and simplified processes, lack of licenses for filming, competitive prices, film friendly society and more. However, the fact that the state supports the film industry and offers 20% cash rebate to companies, makes them more interested”, Tatia Bidzinashvili, Head of the Film in Georgia Cash Rebate Programme, told FNE.

“We have brought more experience and real results to the Hollywood market, which gave us more confidence in 2019. Representatives of Universal Picture gave us recommendations and spoke about the positive emotions surrounding filming in Georgia. They also made a presentation to the Motion Picture Association of America, where Georgia met with great interest and we are currently negotiating three major projects“, Tatia Bidzinashvili also said.

The agency also hosts Hollywood producers every year and it organises FAM tours to discover Georgia as the most attractive location of Eastern Europe. Also, during the year, the agency organises official Georgian stands at a number of cinematic markets.

DISTRIBUTION

Inhale-Exhale by Dito Tsintsadze, credit: Cinetech Film ProductionNew Georgian films were successful at festivals and nine of them were theatrically released in 2019.

The Georgian National Film Center (GNFC) made its 14th appearance at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2019. GNFC and the Ministry of Economy agency “Produce in Georgia” jointly presented a stand of Georgia at the European Film Market (EFM). The Georgian Pavilion, besides promoting Georgian films, promoted the Film in Georgia programme among the foreign filmmakers interested in shooting in Georgia.

The premiere of Armed Lullaby, an animated film directed by Yana Ugrekhelidze, was held in the Generation section of the Berlinale in 2019. Yana Ugrekhelidze is a Georgian animated film director who lives in Germany. The film was produced by Kunsthochschule für Medien (Germany) and is based on a real story that happened in 1993 during the Sukhumi ethnical cleansing against Georgian civilians.

Giorgi Shvelidze, the cinematographer for Georgia’s Academy Award bid Namme by Zaza Khalvashi, won the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Spotlight Award in Los Angeles in 2019. Giorgi Shvelidze also became a member of the American Motion Picture Academy in July 2019.

Nino Zhvania's and Misho Antadze's film premieres were held at the Rotterdam IFF in January 2019. Parade directed by Nino Zhvania received the Best Feature Award in the Georgian Panorama at the Tbilisi IFF 2018. Misho Antadze’s documentary The Harvest collected the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC)’s Award at the Jeonju IFF in Seoul in May 2019. The film premiered at the Rotterdam IFF.

GNFC participated in the Cannes Film Market for the 12th time. The Soviet Georgian feature film The White Caravan (1963), directed by Eldar Shengelaya and Tamaz Meliava and produced by Georgian Film, returned to the big screen at the Cannes Film Festival, 55 years after its first screening, as part of the Cannes Classics programme.

The Swedish/Georgian coproduction And Then We Danced directed by Levan Akin and produced by French Quarter Film and Takes Film has its world premiere in the Directors’ Fortnight section in Cannes 2019.

Dito Tsintsadze's Shindisi has been selected as Georgia’s entry for the 92nd Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ award in the best international feature film category. The film was produced by Georgian 20 Steps in coproduction with Free Movie Shindisi by Dito TsintsadzeStudio (Georgia), with the financial support of the Georgian National Film Center.

In October 2019, Shindisi received the Grand Prix at the 35th Warsaw Film Festival.

Dimitri Mamulia's The Criminal Man premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September 2019. It was produced by Georgia’s Millimeterfilm in coproduction with Russia’s Kinokult.

Film director, screenwriter, journalist and actress Nino Kirtadze is the new representative of Georgia in Eurimages. According to the Georgian National Film Center, 15 Georgian foreign coproductions have received support since 2011, the year when Georgia joined Eurimages. Click HERE for an FNE interview with Nino Kirtadze.

Salome Jashi's project Trees Floating (Switzerland, Germany, Georgia) produced by Mira Film Basel in coproduction with Corso Film and Sakdoc Film, and supported by the Georgian National Film Center, received 50,000 EUR / 160,000 GEL from Eurimages in October 2019.

Under a deal signed with Russia (Gosfilmofond, the film archives of the Russian Federation) in September 2016, hundreds of films made from 1921 to 1991 are to be returned to Georgia. The first four films returned in November 2016 under the project Return of Georgian Heritage to Homeland, 11 films returned in 2017, 18 films returned in 2018 and another 17 returned in 2019.

Among the films returned in 2019 there is Their Kingdom directed by Mikheil Kalatozishvili and Nutsa Ghoghoberidze. At this stage 57 Georgian films are back in Georgia. The process of returning Georgian films to their homeland will continue in 2020 and the priority will still be Georgian films of the 20s. After the completion of this phase, the Georgian film heritage from this period will be fully returned to its homeland.

The Criminal Man by Dimitri MamuliaEXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE

The first Dolby Atmos system cinema in Georgia opened in Tbilisi on 30 November 2017. The six-screen Cavea Galleria Tbilisi with 700 seats is the fifth cinema in the Georgian capital

There is also one chain of multiplexes, the privately owned Rustaveli/Amirani Movie Theaters consisting of Cinema Amirani LTD (four screening halls, 679 seats) and Cinema Rustaveli LTD (five screening halls, 858 seats) in Tbilisi, and also Cinema Apollo LTD (one screening hall, 154 seats) in Batumi. Cinema Rustaveli LTD closed in July 2018 and its future destiny is unclear.

Rustaveli/Amirani Movie Theaters also runs Film Distribution LTD and Light Bank LTD, two divisions dealing with film production.

The new multiplex Cavea City Mall with 886 seats opened in 2019. CAVEA also runs CAVEA IMAX, with 10 screens including an IMAX screen, and CAVEA MOLI, with five screens.

There are currently six cinemas in Georgia with 35 screens (including one IMAX). All except one screen are digitalised.

A total of 163 films were screened in cinemas in 2019.

The 2019 admissions top ten is topped by Avengers: Endgame with 64,494 admissions, followed by Joker  (63,064 admissions), The Lion King (35,833 admissions), Aladdin (34,652 admissions), Frozen 2 (34,446 admissions), Maleficent 2 (34,220 admissions), The Grinch (28,898 admissions), Captain Marvel (28,872 admissions), Spider-Man: Far from Home (25,740 admissions) and Aquaman (25,272 admissions).

The most successful Georgian films in cinemas in 2019 were: Shindisi directed by Dito Tsintsadze, with 23,722 admissions and 74, 250 EUR / 237,603 GEL gross, And Then We Danced directed by Levan Akin, with 5,899 admissions and 22,707 EUR / 72,665How to Become Georgian by Natia Arabuli Weger GEL gross, and Izzy and the Magician directed by Khatuna Giorgobiani and produced by Giga Production, with 4,103 admissions and 10,490 EUR / 33,568 GEL gross.

Total admissions increased by 1.34 percent from 1,298,404 in 2018 to 1,359,365 in 2019.

Total gross increased by 4.1 percent from 4,006,124 EUR / 12,018,372 GEL in 2018 to 4,145,123 EUR / 13,264,395 GEL in 2019.

Admissions to domestic films decreased from 55,495 in 2018 to 37,865 in 2019.

Domestic box office decreased from 137,007 EUR / 411,022 GEL in 2018 to 119,979 / 383 934 GEL in 2019.

GRANTS AND LEGISLATION

A new director of the Georgian National Film Centre was appointed in May 2019. Gaga Chkheidze is the founder and the director of the Tbilisi International Film Festival. In July 2019 FNE spoke with Gaga Chkheidze about his goals and the challenges facing Georgian cinema.

The Georgian National Film Centre handles cinema strategy and allots state funding. The total amount of funding in 2019 was 1,660,043 EUR / 5,017,359 GEL. The GNFC gave out 1,407,709 EUR / 4,223,128 GEL in 2018.

In February 2019 the GNFC gave out 400,000 EUR / 1.2 m GEL for the production of four feature films.

In April 2019 the GNFC allotted 393,333 EUR / 1.18 m GEL for the production of four international coproductions.

The Low Budget Feature Film and Debut Feature Production Grants were announced by the GNFC on 30 June and 9 July 2019. The total amount of grants was 516,453 EUR / 1,549,359 GEL.

In September 2019 the GNFC allotted 120,000 EUR / 360,000 GEL for the production of six long and one short documentary.

In September 2019 the GNFC gave out 142,187 EUR / 455,000 GEL for the production of nine short films.

The grants for short animated films were announced on 11 October 2019. The total amount of grants was 88,064 EUR / 273,000 GEL.

Georgia launched its coproduction scheme for feature films in 2010 and a new call for documentary coproductions in March 2014.

The Resting Samurai by Levan TutberidzeThe tax incentives programme, which went into operation in 2016, offers a 20% cash rebate on qualified expenditure with an additional rebate of 2-5% based on the promotional value of the production.

The minimum limit of qualified expenses is approximately 190,000 EUR / 500,000 GEL for feature films, TV films, TV series/mini-series or animated films, and approximately 114,000 EUR / 300,000 GEL for documentaries, commercials, reality shows and music videos.

The programme has two stages. After shooting wraps in Georgia, 20% of qualified expenditure is automatically returned to the production company. When the film is finished and released, it is assessed according to pre-defined criteria (Georgia is mentioned as an acting place on the script level, well-known locations are used, etc.) for the additional 2-5% rebate. Both Georgian and foreign projects may participate.

No cultural test is required in order to apply for the initial 20% rebate, and the rebate also applies to key non-resident salaries paid in Georgia. The online application is valid for two years.

The Regional Film Fund of Adjara, on the Black Sea coast, launched in 2012, is also expected to boost the film initiative.

On 24 February 2015 Georgia joined the Creative Europe Programme.

In 2019 the third edition of the Georgian Cinema Forum was held in Bakuriani. The event was organised by the Mountain Resorts of Georgia and the GNFC. Creative Europe Desk Georgia and the Borjomi Municipality were among the partners.

The project Film at School started in 2014. According to data from 2018, a total of 800 schools from all regions of Georgia participated and 9,800 screenings took place since 2014. The project covered 90 schools and held a total of 1,024 film screenings in 2019. School students watch films, discuss them and learn to make short films with the help of professionals. The project won the Cinema Education contest (EACEA-14-2017 FILMEDU) in the framework of Creative Europe and became part of the project The Film Corner Reloaded - A Cultural Approach Together with Foreign Partners, organised by Fondazione Cineteca Italiana (Italy), The Film Space, (UK), The Nerve Center (Northern Ireland), the National Cinèmatheque of Serbia (Belgrade, Serbia), Kino Otok (Slovenia) and the University of Milano Bicocca, Dipartimento di Scienze Umane per la Formazione Riccardo Massa (Italy).

TV

Inhale-Exhale by Dito Tsintsadze, credit: Cinetech Film ProductionLeading TV companies continue to produce TV series. The most popular TV series in Georgia are: Friends of My Wife / Chemi Tsolis Dakalebi (Broadcasting Company Rustavi2), In the City / Shua Kalakshi (Imedi) and Around Us / Chven Gverdit (Maestro). The new Georgian TV series No address / Misamartis Gareshe started broadcasting on Imedi in 2019.

Private channels Broadcasting Company Rustavi 2 and TV Imedi are usually the producers of TV series. Public Broadcasting – First Channel also produces documentaries. TV channels do not fund independent film production as a rule; it depends on the individual case, according to sources from GNFC.

Three new TV channels opened in 2019: Mtavari Arkhi, Formula TV and Post TV.

The most popular domestic online platform is Myvideo.ge, a video sharing platform providing live streaming for dozens of TV channels.

CONTACTS:

The Resting Samurai by Levan TutberidzeGeorgia National Film Centre
4 Zviad Gamsakhurdia Named Right Bank
Tbilisi 0105, Georgia
Phone: (+995 322) 2 999 200
Fax: (+995 322) 2 999 102
www.gnfc.ge
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Report by Alexander Gabelia (2020)
Sources: the Georgian National Film Centre, “Film in Georgia”, Cinemas: Rustaveli, Amirani, Cavea Tbilisi Mall, Cavea East Point


MARKET ANALYSIS 2018

Namme by Zaza KhalvashiGeorgia had a great year with more awards at international festivals and more attention given to Georgian films. Georgian cinema days were held in Chicago, London and Lithuania and Georgia was a Focus Country at the 2018 Filmkunstfest, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur for Animated Film, the Cottbus Film Festival, the Encounters Film Festival in Bristol and at Filmfest Dresden.

Eighteen projects were supported in 2018 in the framework of the Film in Georgia programme. Their total spend amounted to 12 m EUR / 36 m GEL. More than 4,000 local cast and technical crew were employed.

Total admissions increased by 0.457 percent from 1,292,496 in 2017 to 1,298,404 in 2018. Admissions for domestic films decreased from 71,509 in 2017 to 55,495 in 2018.

Under a deal signed with Russia (Gosfilmofond, the film archives of the Russian Federation) in September 2016, hundreds of films made from 1921 to 1991 are to be returned to Georgia. The first four films returned in November 2016 under the project Return of Georgian Heritage to Homeland, eleven films returned in 2017 and another 18 films returned in 2018 with the support of the Ministry of Education, Science Culture and Sport of Georgia, the Georgian National Film Center (GNFC), the TBC Bank, the GMT Group, the IDS Borjomi company and the Geocell company. At this stage 34 Georgian films are back in Georgia.

PRODUCTION

Seven Georgian feature films were produced and finished in 2018, according to the GNFC. All of them are supported by the GNFC.

Namme, written and directed by Zaza Khalvashi and produced by Batumi Art-House Film Studio, was shot in 2017. The premiere took place in 2018.Brighton 4th by Levan Koguashvili

The production of Brighton 4th, the third feature film by acclaimed Levan Koguashvili, which is a Georgian/Russian/Bulgarian/French coproduction between Kino Iberica, New Media Order, Art Fest  and MACT Productions, also wrapped in 2018. It will premiere in the near future.

Giorgi Katcharava's low budget feature film The Man, produced by Cinemagia, is also already completed.

Other films are ready for their premieres. They were shot in 2017 and they were in postproduction at the beginning of 2018. The list includes the new feature film by Dimitry Mamulia, Unknown, produced by Milimeter Film, and Ursus, written by the esteemed Zaza Buadze, directed by Otar Shamatava and produced by Georgia’s Studio O in coproduction with Ukraine’s Fresh Productions, Germany’s Aktis Film Production and Bulgaria’s Geopoly. The postproduction of Ursus began in 2017.

The feature film Parade, directed by Nino Zhvania and produced by New Georgian Film, was completed in 2018. It was awarded best film at the Tbilisi International Festival in 2018.

The feature film Neighbors by Gigisha Abashidze was also completed in 2018. This is the first Georgian/Macedonian coproduction, produced by Studio Artizm in coproduction with Georgia’s Gemini and Macedonia’s Small Moves Films.

Tamar Shavgulidze’s feature film My House in Front of the Forest completed shooting in Tsavkisi and moved into postproduction in 2018. The film is inspired by Galaktion Tabidze’s poem I Still See It, Your Apartment at the Edge of the Forest, with the script written by Shavgulidze. The film is produced by Nushi Film.

The documentary director Rudolph Herzog shot his debut feature in Georgia in 2018. How to Sell a War is coproduced by Georgia's 20 Steps Productions.

Six short films were shot in 2018, of which three are already completed: Night Duty, directed by Nato Gabunia and Grigol Janashia and produced by Predator Film, Eraser, directed by Data Pirtskhalava and produced by Milimeter Film, and Bad People, directed by Giorgi Tavartkiladze and produced by 20 Steps Productions.

Ursus by Otar ShamatavaSeven documentaries were shot in 2018, of which four are completed: Homeless directed by Zurab Inashvili and produced by Author's Film Studio, Pioneer’ Palace directed by Ana Tsimintia and produced by Matchhouse, In The Hot Sun directed by Shorena Tevzadze and produced by DiaFilm, and Before Dad Comes Back directed by Mariam Gulbiani and produced by Nushi Film.

The following documentaries are not yet finished: Lost Eight and a Half directed by Vakhtang Varazi and produced by Nali, Floating Trees directed by Salome Jashi and produced by Sakdok Film, and How to Become Georgian directed by Natia Arabuli-Weger and produced by EBC Film Studio  

Three animated films were produced in 2018: Fisherman and the Little Girl directed by Mamuka Tkeshelashvili and produced by 20 Steps ProductionsZolemia directed by Nana Samanishvili and produced by Keti Djanelidze, and Frog in Love directed by Valer Kharitonashvili and produced by Alien Kid. Only Fisherman and the Little Girl was already finished at the beginning of 2019, the rest of them were in postproduction.

The following films and TV series were shot under the Film in Georgia programme in 2018: SEY RAA 2 (India) directed by Surrender Reddy, produced by Production House (Sweden) and serviced in Georgia by Production House Ltd , And Then We Danced directed by Levan Akin, produced by ATWD and serviced  by ATWD, Inside Edge (India) directed by Karan Anshuman, produced by SG Film Production and serviced by SG Film Production, The Mask (China) directed by Jian Lou, produced by Arsen Productions Ltd and serviced by Arsen Productions Ltd, In the Shadows (Turkey, Georgia) directed by Erdem Tepegoz, produced by Digital Kitchen Film and Contact Film Works, and serviced by Digital Kitchen Film Ltd, and Missing Emily (Georgia) directed by Padraig Reynolds, produced by MISSING EMILY LLC and serviced by MISSING EMILY LLC.

The total investment of all 18 projects shot under Film in Georgia so far amounts to 12 m EUR / 36 m GEL. More than 4,000 local cast and technical crew were employed.

Only the Chinese project The Mask starring Ryan Zheng and Zhang Guoli spent more than 3,666,666 m EUR / 11 m GEL in Georgia and used more than 1,900 people in its large scale shooting.

The Film in Georgia team plans to continue active promotion of Georgia abroad, including participation in major industry events (AFCI, AFM Location Expo, Focus Expo,Winston Baker Film Finance Forum), meetings with major studios, location managers and independent Neighbors by Gigisha Abashidzeproducers, as well as FAM tours to Georgia, in order to introduce filming locations and existing relevant infrastructure in the country.

“The programme Film In Georgia is the main motivator for attracting international projects to Georgia. Our country has all the major advantages in order to be competitive in the world, such as various locations, flexible and simplified processes, lack of licenses for filming, competitive prices, film friendly society and more. However, the fact that the state supports the film industry and offers 20% cash rebate to companies, makes them more interested. So it will be possible to make more investments“, Tatia Bidzinashvili, Head of the Film in Georgia Cash Rebate Programme, told FNE.

The agency also hosts Hollywood producers every year and organises FAM tours to discover Georgia as the most attractive location of Eastern Europe. Also, during the year, the agency organises official Georgian stands at a number of cinematic markets.

DISTRIBUTION

New Georgian films were successful at festivals and domestically released in 2018. 

Horizon directed by Tinatin Kajrishvili and produced by Gemini, had its world premiere within the Panorama section of the Berlin International Film Festival on 16 February 2018. The film was developed with the support of the Georgian National Film Centre and it is a Georgian/Swedish coproduction.

Irakli Kvirikadze was among the 10 most promising European actors selected by the European Film Promotion for Berlinale’s European Shooting Stars programme in 2018. Irakli Kvirikadze is known for playing the lead role in Hostages by Rezo Gigineishvili, a coproduction between Russia’s INK TV and NEBO Film Company, Georgia’s 20 Steps Productions and Poland’s Extreme Emotions.

Horizon by Tinatin KajrishviliMy Happy Family directed by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross was nominated for Germany's LOLA Awards by the German Film Academy. My Happy Family is the first Georgian film for which Netflix purchased global distribution rights. The film, produced by Germany’s augenschein Filmproduktion GmbH in coproduction with Georgia’s Polare Film Llc and France’s Arizona Production, became the first film to bring back more than 20% of the qualified expenditure on production.

Georgian short documentary The Trader / Sovdagari directed by Tamta Gabrichidze was broadcast on Netflix in 2018. The Trader had its premiere at the Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival 2017 in Toronto, where it won the best short documentary award.

The Cranes Are Flying (1957) by Georgian-born Soviet director Mikheil Kalatozishvili was screened in the Berlinale Classics of the 68th Berlin International Film Festival in 2018.

After receiving several accolades in 2017, including the Golden Leopard at the Locarno FF and the Grand Prix at the Sarajevo IFF, Ana Urushadze’s Scary Mother opened the Critics’ Week in Berlin in February 2018. Scary Mother, which was produced by Studio Artizm in coproduction with Gemini and Estonia's Allfilm, was also selected for the 47th edition of New Directors/New Films in 2018.

Tthree Georgian filmmakers (Ana Sarukhanova, Rati Tsiteladze, Nino Varsimashvili) participated in the Berlinale Talents in 2018.

Ana Chubinidze's animated film Pocket Man received the Young Audience Award at the International Film Festival of Roanne, France. Pocket Man is the first Georgian/French animated film coproduction and it was created with the support of the GNFC.

Georgian films won four prizes at the 2018 Beijing IFF: Scary Mother, directed by Ana Urushadze and produced by Studio Artizm in coproduction with Gemini and Estonia's Allfilm, won Best Feature Film and Best Supporting Actress (Nato Murvanidze), while Dede directed by Mariam Khachvani and produced by 20 Steps in coproduction with Film and Music Entertainment, MP Film Production, Montauk Film Production and JaJa Film Productions, was awarded Best Director and Best Cinematography.

The Georgian short animated film Geno has been sold to Japan, Korea, France, Spain and the United States. This first Georgian 3D animated film was directed by David Kiknavelidze and produced by Lira Production Studios, with the support of the GNFC.

Also in 2018 the GNFC hosted a retrospective of Georgian films at the Frankfurt Book Fair. More than 20 films from silent cinema to Georgia's independence were screened, including the avant-garde cinematic samples such as Kote Mikaberidze's My Grandmother (1929) and Mikheil Kalatozishvili's Salt of Svanetia (1930).

My House in Front of the Forest by Tamar ShavgulidzeIn 2018 Zaza Khalvashi's Namme was selected as Georgia’s entry for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ award in the best foreign language film category. This Georgian/Lithuanian coproduction had its international premiere at the Tokyo Film Festival in 2017.

The Oscar and Golden Globe campaign featured the first official screening of Namme in Los Angeles on 7 November 2018, followed by two additional screenings organised by the  European Film Promotion on 11 and 15 November 2018. Giorgi Shvelidze, the cinematographer of Namme, was nominated for the 33rd American Society of Cinematographers Awards in the Spotlight Award category. The ceremony will be held on 9 February 2019.

EXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE

The first Dolby Atmos system cinema in Georgia opened in Tbilisi on 30 November 2017. The six-screen Cavea Galleria Tbilisi with 700 seats is the fifth cinema in the Georgian capital

There is also one chain of multiplexes, the privately owned Rustaveli/Amirani Movie Theaters consisting of Cinema Amirani LTD (four screening halls, 679 seats) and Cinema Rustaveli LTD (five screening halls, 858 seats) in Tbilisi, and also Cinema Apollo LTD (one screening hall, 154 seats) in Batumi. Cinema Rustaveli LTD closed in July 2018 and its future destiny is unclear.

The same company operates CAVEA cinemas, consisting of two multiplexes: CAVEA IMAX, with 10 screens including an IMAX screen, and CAVEA MOLI, with five screens.

Rustaveli/Amirani Movie Theaters also runs Film Distribution LTD and Light Bank LTD, two divisions dealing with film production.

There are currently six cinemas in Georgia with 26 screens (including one IMAX). All except one screen are digitalised.

A total of 179 films were screened in cinemas in 2018.

The 2018 admissions top ten is topped by Hotel Transylvania 3 with 64,494 admissions, followed by Avengers: Infinity War (63,064), Venom (35,833), Bohemian Rhapsody (34,652), Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (34,446), Black Panther (34,220), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (28,898), Incredibles 2 (28,872), Smallfoot (25,740) and Deadpool 2 (25,272).

The most successful Georgian films in cinemas in 2018 were: Naughty Children: Operation Ninth Sky directed by Zura Menteshashvili and produced by Mentesh Production, with 19,049 admissions, Ekvtime: Man of God directed by Nikoloz Khomasuridze and produced by Lost Legends, with 19,003 admissions, and DeDe directed by Mariam Khachvani and produced by 20 Steps, with 10,259 admissions. 

How to Become Georgian by Natia Arabuli WegerTotal admissions increased by 0.457 percent from 1,292,496 in 2017 to 1,298,404 in 2018.

Total gross increased by 11.8 percent from 3,331,711 EUR / 10,594,843 in 2017 to 4,006,124 EUR / 12,018,372 GEL in 2018.

Admissions to domestic films decreased from 71,509 in 2017 to 55,495 in 2018.

Domestic box office decreased from 180,675 EUR / 574,547 GEL in 2017 to 137,007 EUR / 411,022 GEL in 2018.

GRANTS AND LEGISLATION

The Georgian National Film Centre handles cinema strategy and allots state funding. The total amount of funding in 2018 was 1,407,709 EUR / 4,223,128 GEL. The GNFC gave out 1,247,409 EUR / 3,921,854 GEL in 2017.

In March 2018 the GNFC gave out 83,333 EUR / 250,000 GEL for the production of seven animated films.

Project development grants were announced in April 2018.

In May 2018 the GNFC allotted 339,466 EUR / 977,668 GEL for the production of three debut features.

In June 2018 the GNFC allotted 150,000 EUR / 420,000 GEL for the production of eight long and two short documentaries.

Georgia launched its coproduction scheme for feature films in 2010 and also launched a new call for documentary coproductions in March 2014.

The tax incentives programme, which went into operation in 2016, offers a 20% cash rebate on qualified expenditure with an additional rebate of 2-5% based on the promotional value of the production.

The minimum limit of qualified expenses is approximately 190,000 EUR / 500,000 GEL for feature films, TV films, TV series/mini-series or animated films, and approximately 114,000 EUR / 300,000 GEL for documentaries, commercials, reality shows and music videos.

Fisherman and the Little Girl by Mamuka TkeshelashviliThe programme has two stages. After shooting wraps in Georgia, 20% of qualified expenditure is automatically returned to the production company. When the film is finished and released, it is assessed according to pre-defined criteria (Georgia is mentioned as an acting place on the script level, well-known locations are used, etc.) for the additional 2-5% rebate. Both Georgian and foreign projects may participate.

No cultural test is required in order to apply for the initial 20% rebate, and the rebate also applies to key non-resident salaries paid in Georgia. The online application is valid for two years.

The Regional Film Fund of Adjara, on the Black Sea coast, launched in 2012, is also expected to boost the film initiative.

On 24 February 2015 Georgia joined the Creative Europe Programme.

In 2018, the Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Levan Kharatishvili and the Director of the GNFC Zurab Maghalashvili visited the Georgian Film Studio to assess the situation of the project Chronicle of Georgia, which started in 2016. The project implies cleaning, sorting, restoration and transferring archive material to digital support. The studio has a unique documentary collection of 25,000 boxes of films reflecting the history of Georgia in the 20th century. The current 12,000 boxes were technically developed, cleaned, and transferred to 1 minute digital format in 2018. 

In 2018 the second edition of the Georgian Cinema Forum was held in Kutaisi. The event was organised by the Ministry of Economy of Georgia and the GNFC. Also in 2018 a workshop for film critics and bloggers was held in Kutaisi. The workshop was organised by the Creative Europe Desk Georgia.

The project Film at School started in 2014. According to the data of 2018, a total of 800 schools from all regions of Georgia participated and 9,800 screenings took place since 2014. School students watch films, discuss around them and learn to make short films with the help of professionals. The project has won the Cinema Education contest (EACEA-14-2017 FILMEDU) in the framework of Creative Europe and it is also part of the project The Film Corner Reloaded - A Cultural Approach Together with Foreign Partners, organised by Fondazione Cineteca Italiana.

TV

Leading TV companies continue to produce TV series. The most popular TV series in Georgia are: Friends of My Wife / Chemi Tsolis Dakalebi (Broadcasting Company Rustavi2), In the City / Shua Kalakshi (Imedi) and Around Us / Chven Gverdit (Maestro). A new Georgian TV The Trader by Tamta Gabrichidzeseries The Great Break / Didi Shesveneba started broadcasting on Imedi in 2017.

Private channels, Broadcasting Company Rustavi 2 and TV Imedi, are usually the producers of TV series. Public Broadcasting – First Channel also produces documentaries. TV channels do not fund independent film production as a rule, but it depends on the individual case, according to sources from GNFC.

Iberia TV stopped broadcasting in 2018.

The most popular domestic online platform is Myvideo.ge, a video sharing platform providing live streaming for dozens of TV channels.

CONTACTS:

Georgia National Film Centre
4 ZviadGamsakhurdia Named Right Bank
Geno by Dato KiknavelidzeTbilisi 0105, Georgia
Phone: (+995 322) 2 999 200
Fax: (+995 322) 2 999 102
www.gnfc.ge
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Report by Alexander Gabelia (2019)
Sources: the Georgian National Film Centre, Cinemas: Rustaveli, Amirani, Cavea Tbilisi Mall, Cavea East Point

 

Croatia

Mali by Antonio NuićMARKET ANALYSIS 2019

ZAGREB: Domestic box office surged from 204,763 EUR in 2018 to 1 m EUR in 2019, with a total of 22 domestic releases in 2019, compared to seven in 2018.

It was a year of an absolutely record spending by international productions filming in Croatia. According to the requests for cash rebates (12 projects in 2019), local spend amounted to over 50.6 m EUR / over 377 m HRK in 2019.

Croatian beneficiaries of the MEDIA sub-programme of the Creative Europe successfully concluded 2019 with a total grant of 805,831 EUR, which is the largest annual amount achieved in terms of funds since the Croatian entry into the MEDIA Programme.

Tune up by Stanislav Tomic, credit: Kaos ltdChristopher Peter Marcich was unanimously elected for a four year term as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC), starting 1 May 2019.

In 2019, Croatia announced that it will build a new film studio near Zagreb, to accommodate its rapidly growing business as a services provider for both domestic and international productions. The new initiative was introduced by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, together with local producers and the Ministry of Culture.

In addition to the new Law on Audiovisual Activities dating from 2018, the Ordinance on the Promotion of Investment in the Production of Audiovisual Works was adopted in 2019.

The adoption of a new Rulebook on the procedure, criteria and deadlines for the implementation of the National Programme for the Promotion of Audiovisual Creativity, is currently in its final stages.

The Zagreb Film Office was established in order to provide services to international and local crews filming in Croatia’s capital.

In June 2019, Croatian main independent screening venue Kino Europa was closed following months of political pressure.

In 2019, Croatian films travelled to festivals in Berlin, Clermont-Ferrand, Oberhausen, Annecy, Karlovy Vary, Lisbon, Sarajevo, Thessaloniki, Warsaw, Los Angeles, New York and others, winning multiple awards.

Mali by Antonio Nuić was chosen to represent Croatia in the Best International Feature Film category at the 92nd Academy Awards 2019.

God Exists Her Name is Petrunija by Teona Strugar MitevskaPRODUCTION

Seven Croatian feature films, including four debut features, were shot in 2019 with the support of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC).

The biggest production was Murina, a debut feature by Croatian director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović, shot on the Croatian coast in August 2019. The film is produced by Croatia’s Antitalent and Brazil’s RT Features of Rodrigo Teixeira, in coproduction with Sikelia Prods of Martin Scorsese and the local production company Spiritus Movens.

Spiritus Movens is also producing Family Dust / Kućna prašina, the debut feature of the awarded Croatian actress and director Nina Violić. The live-action parts were due to be completed in December 2019 and the puppet scenes will follow shortly afterwards. The premiere of the film, which portrays the final hours of a crumbling marriage, is expected in the summer of 2020.

Dario Lonjak shot his new comedy Wildlings / Divljaci in August 2019. The film is produced by Alka film and tackles the burning issue of irregular migration and people smuggling at Croatian borders, through the story of a corrupt border police officer played by Slaven Knezović.

The musical comedy Tune Up / Ufuraj se i pukni directed by Stanislav Tomić and produced by Kaos started filming in October 2019. The setting of this cultural heritage road film-action comedy is the Croatian folk scene and especially the traditional folk instrument tamburica. The film will be theatrically released by 2iFilm in July 2020.

Also in October 2019, Croatian helmer Zrinko Ogresta started filming his eighth feature film People Can’t Fly / Ljudi ne mogu letjeti. The film is produced by Interfilm from Croatia and coproduced by Zillion film from Serbia. The script is loosely based on the award-winning drama Play about Mirjana and Those Around Her, by the young Croatian playwright Ivor Martinić.

In November 2019, Eduard Galić started filming The Sixth Bus / Šesti autobus, a film about war atrocities in the besieged Croatian city of Vukovar in the 1990s. The filming on the production by MissArt coproduced by Global entertainment media from Australia, Strike Back seriestakes place in Vukovar, Zagreb, Glina and the Serbian capital Belgrade, and will last till the spring of 2020. The distribution is set to start in 2021.

The end of 2019 was marked by the filming of The Staffroom / Zbornica, a debut feature by Sonja Tarokić, regionally famous for her witty short films with strong female protagonists. Zbornica is produced by Kinorama, with Marina Redžepović in the lead role of a young counselor who starts working in an unfriendly school environment.

It was a year with an absolutely record spending by international productions filming in Croatia. According to requests for cash rebates (12 projects in 2019), the local spend amounted to over 50.6 m EUR / 377 m HRK.

A record number of filming days was also recorded in 2019 - 421. Of these, 32 were recorded in regions of below average development, where additional 5% of the cash rebate applies.

As of July 2018, the cash rebate for filming in Croatia was raised from 20% to 25%, and up to 30% in underdeveloped regions. The total number of foreign productions using cash rebates since the start of implementing the Incentive Measures Programme exceeded 134 m EUR / 1 billion HRK by the end of 2019, with 70 applications submitted by foreign production companies.

The biggest international project filmed in Croatia in 2019 was Strike Back, a TV series produced by Left Bank Pictures. Embassy film was the local service provider, ensuring 120 days of filming in Zagreb, Trogir, Knin, Kistanje, Rijeka, Opatija, Obrovac, Zadar, Oroslavlje, Jastrebarsko, Velika Gorica, Jasenice, Ivanec and Samobor. Over 200 local film professionals and up to 3,000 extras were contracted for the production.

The filming of the A-list Hollywood feature film The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard took place in April and May 2019. The film starring Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek, Samuel L. Jackson, Morgan Freeman and Antonio Banderas is directed by Patrick Huges and produced by Hitman 2 Production, with MP-filmska produkcija servicing. Over 200 production crew members and 750 extras were employed in 49 days of filming in Rovinj, Istra, Rijeka, Zagreb, Biševo, Pisarovina and Karlovac.

Other notable foreign productions include the German TV series Mordkomission, produced by Constantin Television, which filmed for 44 days in Split. The crime series is produced by Constantin Television for the ARD, with Pakt Media as service provider.

Stitches by Miroslav TerzićThe post-apocalyptical film Mayday, produced by Mayday Pictures, was shot in Pula in over 38 days. The local service provider was Antitalent.

DISTRIBUTION

A total of 201 films were distributed in regular distribution in 2019, compared to 229 in 2018. There were 22 domestic releases in 2019, compared to seven in 2018.

The biggest domestic distributor is Blitz, followed by Editus, Continental Film, Discovery and 2i Film. There are 192 cinema screens in Croatia, out of which 74 are in public ownership.

The beginning of 2019 was successful for minority coproductions God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunija / Bog postoji, njeno ime je Petrunija by Macedonian director Teona Strugar Mitevska and Stitches / Šavovi by Serbian director Miroslav Terzić, both having their world premieres at the 2019 Berlinale. Both films, coproduced by Spiritus Movens, garnered two awards each.

The Macedonian/Belgian/Slovenian/Croatian/French coproduction God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunija won the Ecumenical Jury Award and the Guild Film Prize, the latter awarded by a jury comprised of members of the German Association of Art House Cinemas.

Stitches, a Serbian/Slovenian/Croatian/Bosnian coproduction, was awarded Best Film in the Panorama programme and it was also the Panorama Audience Award runner-up. Numerous Croatian film professionals worked on both of these films, while both of them were also long-listed for the European Film Awards’ nominations for Best European Film.

In November 2019, God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunija went on to win the 2019 LUX Prize awarded by the European Parliament. The film also received the Arab Critics’ Award for European Film, awarded by film critics from 13 Arab countries, at the Cairo IFF.

God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunija was produced by Sisters and Brother Mitevski in coproduction with Entre Chien et Loup, Deuxième Ligne Films, EZ Films, Spiritus movens and Vertigo.

Stitches was produced by West End Production in coproduction with Nora Production, Spiritus Movens and scca.Pro.ba.The Diary of Diana B. by Dana Budisavljevic

In July 2019, the Croatian minority coproduction Aga’s House / Agina kuća directed by Kosovar director Lendita Zequiraj and produced by n’Art Films in coproduction with Woof Films, Sacrebleu Productions, SKA-NDAL Production and SY13, won the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean (FEDORA) Jury Special Mention at the 54th Karlovy Vary IFF.

Also in July 2019, director Dana Budisavljević triumphed at home, when her docu-fiction The Diary of Diana B. / Dnevnik diane Budisavljević won her the Golden Arena for Best Directing, which made her the third woman in history to be crowned with these laurels and the second female director ever to win the Grand Golden Arena for Best Film. The film garnered six awards at the Pula IFF, starting its Croatian cinema run at the beginning of October 2019 and receiving the Best Debut Film Award at the FilmFestival Cottbus in Germany in November 2019.

The Diary of Diana B. was produced by Hulahop in coproduction with This and That from Serbia and December from Slovenia.

In October 2019 eleven Croatian films were screened in the curated programme “A Flourishing Documentary Film Scene in a Country Full of Contradictions” at DOK Leipzig, in the Country Focus section.  

In November 2019, Vinko Brešan’s black comedy What a Country! / Koja je ovo država won the Audience Award at the Thessaloniki IFF. The film was produced by Interfilm in coproduction with Orka Productions Studio from Poland and Zillion films from Serbia.

Barbara Vekarić’s feature debut Aleksi, produced by Studio Dim in coproduction with Filmkombajn, scooped 15 awards at 10 festivals around the world in 2019 alone.

The short animated film Imbued Life / Udahniut život by Ivana Bošnjak and Thomas Johnson won its 11th award for best short film at the Exground FF in Wiesbaden in November 2019. After its premiere at the Oberhausen FF, Imbued Life has been selected for over 60 international festivals.

EXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE

What a Country! by Vinko BrešanA total of 201 films were distributed in regular distribution in 2019. Total admissions were 4,912,282 in 2019, compared to 4,607,068 in 2018, with the total gross reaching 21.2 m EUR / 157.9 m HRK in 2019, compared to 19.5 m EUR / 145.1 m HRK in 2018.

Domestic box office surged from 204,763 EUR in 2018 to 1 m EUR in 2019, with a total of 22 domestic releases in 2019, compared to seven in 2018.

The biggest exhibitor is Blitz Cinestar. Additionally, films are independently distributed through the Croatian Independent Cinemas Network, which includes 65 cinemas in 53 cities and on the islands.

In 2019, the central Croatian independent screening venue Kino Europa and main venue for the Zagreb Film Festival, was closed following months of political pressure. Another important venue in Zagreb’s city centre, Art kino Grič, was closed following the court decision to return the building to its pre-WWII owners.

However, in 2019 Kino Forum and Kino SC in the Zagreb Student Centre re-opened following the decision of the management, while Dokukino Kic, located in the city centre, re-opened after the refurbishing of the building.

According to Continental film, the general admissions top ten 2019 is composed of: The Lion King (259,427 admissions), Joker (236,587 admissions), Frozen 2 (197,900 admissions), Avengers: Endgame (192,283 admissions), Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood (121,229 admissions), Last Christmas (115,438 admissions), How to Train your Dragon 3 (110,947), Spider-man: Far From Home (100,841), Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (99,208 admissions) and Hustlers (89,006 admissions).

At the beginning of 2020, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) published the full box office statistics for 2019, based on data gathered from local distributors.

According to HAVC, the most viewed Croatian title of the year was The General, a biopic about the life of the war general Ante Gotovina, who was accused of war crimes in the 1990s. Directed by Antun Vrdoljak and produced by Kiklop film in coproduction with The General by Antun Vrdoljakthe Croatian Television, the film had 74,585 admissions in regular distribution and it was broadcast on the Croatian Television through 3 February 2020.

The second most viewed Croatian film was What a Country / Koja je ovo država, a dark political comedy by Vinko Brešan produced by Interfilm in coproduction with Orka Productions Studio from Poland and Zillion films from Serbia, with 58,265 admissions. Children's science fiction hit My Grandpa Is an Alien / Moj dida je pao s Marsa directed by Andrea Škop and Drazen Zarkovic, and produced by Studio Dim in coproduction with Senca Studio, MasterFilm, Fabrika, Wady Films, Artileria, Filmbin and the Croatian Radiotelevision, holds the third place with 29,025 admissions.

The fourth place with 28,072 admissions is reserved for The Last Serb in Croatia / Posljednji Srbin u Hrvatskoj, marketed as “the first Croatian zombie comedy from the future”. The film was directed by Predrag Ličina and produced by Kinorama in coproduction with Art & Popcorn. The award-winning docu-fiction The Diary of Diana B. directed by Dana Budisavljević and produced by Hulahop, is in the fourth place with 26,642 admissions.

The sixth and seventh spots on the list of domestic titles went to the independent comedies Ufuraj se i pukni by Ljubomir Kerekeš, produced by Kerekeš teatar, with 17,533 admissions, and Go, Went, Gone / Ideš? Idem! by debut director Ljubo Zdjelarević, produced by Kinoteka, with 8,138 admissions.

The social satire Extracurricular, directed by Ivan-Goran Vitez and produced by Interfilm, is 8th with 5,825 admissions, followed by the crime drama Mali directed by Antonio Nuić and produced by Propeler Film in coproduction with Alka film, with 5,535 admissions, and Punk documentary Tusta directed by Andrej Korovljev and produced by Factum in coproduction with Wake Up Films, Zagreb film, Award Film & Video, with 3,980 admissions.

GRANTS AND NEW LEGISLATION

The most important film institution is the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) founded in January 2008. HAVC provides public funding for the development, production, promotion and sales of Croatian film abroad, festivals, schemes and programmes aimed at widening audience choice, supporting film education, culture and archives, as well as skills and training initiatives.

The total budget of HAVC in 2019 was 13.9 m EUR, according to the Ministry of Culture. HAVC operated with a total annual budget of 9.11 m EUR in 2012, a total budget of 9.30 m EUR in 2013, of 9.03 m EUR in 2014 and 7.99 m EUR in 2015. HAVC’s total budget for 2016 was 8.67 m EUR, in 2017 it was 10.15 m EUR and the total budget in 2018 (without the cash rebate) was 9.8 m EUR.

Christopher Peter Marcich was unanimously elected for a four year term as the new Chief Executive Officer of the HAVC, starting 1 May 2019. He replaced Daniel Rafaelić, who had stepped down in February 2019.

On 13 March 2019, HAVC distributed 3,892,222 EUR for the production of seven feature films, four experimental films, seven long documentaries, seven animated films and seven short films, as well as 23 project and script development grants. The biggest support, of 512,510 EUR each, was granted to the production of two feature films: Death of the Little Match Girl / Smrt djevojčice sa šibicama directed by directed by Goran Kulenović and produced by Livada Produkcija, and Little Tesla and the Idea Poachers / Mali Tesla i kradljivci ideja directed by Petar Orešković and produced by Nukleus Film in cooperation with Jaako Dobra Produkcija and in coproduction with Studio Virc (Slovenia), Dor film (Austria), Gargantua films (Serbia) and Sirena Film (Czech Republic).

On 9 October 2019, five equal grants of 538,300 EUR were given for the production of new feature films directed by Zvonimir Jurić, Lukas Nola (both produced by Kinorama), Rok Biček (produced by Antitalent), Vlatka Vorkapić (produced by Interfilm) and Dražen Aleksi by Barbara VekarićŽarković (produced by Izazov 356). A total of 4.3 m EUR was granted for feature film production, including four debut features.

An additional 548,808 EUR was awarded to 20 documentaries and animated films, including the all-time high for a long documentary - 107,719 EUR for the new film of Igor Bezinović, Fiume o morte!, produced by Restart. Nine minority coproductions were also awarded a total of 403,198 EUR and five TV projects in development received 57,793 EUR.

The Croatian beneficiaries of the MEDIA sub-programme of the Creative Europe successfully concluded 2019 with a total grant of 805,831 EUR, which is the largest annual amount achieved in terms of funds since the Croatian entry into MEDIA. The record year so far had been 2015, when the Croatian filmmakers managed to secure 797,430 EUR.

In 2019, the Croatian applicants were successful in nine categories of MEDIA financing. Production companies Antitalent, Nukleus film and Restart provided a total of 100,000 EUR in the category of individual project development.

Antitalent is preparing a feature film based on the award-winning Croatian novel Black Mother Earth, written by Kristian Novak, while Nukleus Film and Restart are preparing two creative documentaries under the working titles Caught in the Net / Ulovljeni u mrežu directed by Anna Shishova-Bogolyubova and Museum of the Revolution / Muzej revolucije by Srđan Keča.

Kinorama received a grant of 88,000 EUR as part of a call for the development of a joint project, for the development of three feature films: The Fourth King / Četvrti kralj directed by Zvonimir Jurić, Traces / Tragovi directed by Dubravka Turić, and Sandbag Dam / Zečji nasip directed by Čejen Černić. Within the same type of support, the category "incentive for new talent" also provided financial support for one short film - Sphere / Sfera directed by Manuel Šumberac.

A total of 70 foreign productions have used the tax incentives scheme since its launch in 2012: five in 2012, four in 2013, eight in 2014, ten in 2015, seven in 2016, eleven in 2017, fourteen in 2018 and twelve in 2019.

Under the Croatian cash rebate scheme, projects can claim back 25% of their qualifying expenditure, which is based on the cost of the Croatian cast and crew working in Croatia, as well as goods and services purchased in Croatia, with a cap of around 2.6 m EUR per project. Additional 5% is awarded to productions in regions of below average development.

Filming in Croatia, a department within the HAVC, ensures that Croatia remains a film-friendly location for both local and visiting filmmakers.

Zagreb Film Office was launched in 2019, with a goal of assisting both local and international film crews in their work in the Croatian capital. The Zagreb Film Office will work under Zagreb Film, a city-funded institution known for its animation production, led by Vinko Brešan. The office is led by the local producer Mia Pećina Drašković.

The Istria Film Commission was launched in July 2015, following the example of the Zadar Film Commission in helping filming crews in location scouting, communication with public authorities and domestic producers and crew, obtaining filming permits and accessing databases. Kvarner Film Commission opened in Rijeka in 2017.

Additional public support bodies are the Zagreb City Office for Education, Culture and Sport and the Rijeka City Office for Culture.

In 2019, Croatia announced that it will build a new film studio near Zagreb to accommodate its rapidly growing business as a services provider for both domestic and international productions. The new initiative was introduced by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, together with local producers and the Ministry of Culture.

In addition to the new Law on Audiovisual Activities dating from 2018, the Ordinance on the Promotion of Investment in the Production of Audiovisual Works was adopted in 2019.My Grandpa is an Alien by Drazen Zarkovic and Marina Andree Skop

The adoption of a new Rulebook on the procedure, criteria and deadlines for the implementation of the National Programme for the Promotion of Audiovisual Creativity, is currently in its final stages.

With respect to other laws relevant to the audiovisual sector, the following laws are currently in the process of aligning national legislation with European directives:

Electronic Media Law - Compliance with AVMSD (Audiovisual Media Services Directive)

Copyright and related rights law - Compliance with the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market and the Sat Cab 2 Directive.

TV

As stipulated by the 2007 Croatian Film Act, the Croatian public broadcaster Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT), as well as all other Croatian broadcasters with a national concession (Nova TV, RTL), are obliged to contribute towards the funding of the HAVC.

As a public broadcaster, the Croatian Radiotelevision plays an important role in the promotion of national cinema through its two terrestrial and two digital channels, and is legally obliged to invest a minimum of 15% of its programming budget in works by independent producers.

The Last Serb in Croatia by Predrag LičinaThe biggest TV series produced for the Croatian Radiotelevision in 2019 was The General, an eight-episode TV series directed by Antun Vrdoljak and based on his 163-minute feature film. The total budget of the project was estimated at over 3 m EUR. The Croatian Television contributed with 1.23 m EUR, while the Croatian Audiovisual Centre supported it with 568,644 EUR.

Uspjeh, the first original HBO series for HBO Adria, premiered in January 2019. The six-part series was written by Marjan Alcevski and directed by Danis Tanović. The script was chosen from among 570 applications to the HBO Adria “First Draft” competition.

The Croatian drama series Newspapers / Novine directed by Dalibor Matanić filmed its third and final season in May 2019. The first season of Newspapers, which was sold to Netflix in 2015, became available in 130 countries. The final season will be screened in 2020, first on Croatian Television and then on Netflix for subscribers in 198 countries. The series was produced by Drugi Plan for the Croatian Television, with a budget of approximately 1.3 m EUR per season.

CONTACTS:

Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC)
Nova Ves 18
10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
Phone: +385 (0)1 6041 080
Fax: +385 (0)1 4667 819
www.havc.hr
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

MEDIA Desk Croatia
Ulica Kralja Zvonimira 20
10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
Phone: +385 (0)1 4655 434
Tune up by Stanislav Tomic, credit: Kaos ltdFax: +385 (0)1 4655 442
www.mediadesk.hr
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ministry of Culture- Directorate for Performing Arts and Audiovisual Affairs
Runjaninova 2
10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
Phone: +385 (0)1 4866 408
Fax: +385 (0)1 4866 438
www.min-kulture.hr

Report by Milena Zajović (2020)
Sources: the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Continental Film, the Ministry of Culture


MARKET ANALYSIS 2018

The Eighth Commissioner by Ivan SalajCroatian cash rebate was raised to 25% as of July 2018, with additional 5% for productions in regions of below average development.

It was a very good year for Croatian documentaries and animated films, which received several accolades at international festivals.

Admissions for domestic films in Croatia decreased from 121,205 in 2017 to 55,709 in 2018, as the number of theatrically released domestic films dropped drastically from 16 in 2017 to seven in 2018.

On 19 July 2018 the Parliament adopted a bill on audiovisual activities, put forward by the Croatian Government on 22 March 2018. The law introduces a new structure for the Council and the Managing Board of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) and regulates the definitions of audiovisual works so as to include video games.

The Eighth Commissioner by Ivan Salaj was chosen to represent Croatia in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 91th Academy Awards 2019.

PRODUCTION

The list of Croatian films shot in 2018 includes projects by well-known directors as well as debut features of various genres. Most of them are supported by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre.

Milan Trenc shot his third feature film Fishing and Fishermen's Conversations / Ribanje i ribarsko prigovaranje starring Rade Šerbeđija in 2018. The film is based on the philosophic narrative poem and travelogue writings of Croatian Renaissance poet Petar Hektorović, first The Last Serb in Croatia by Predrag Ličinaprinted in Venice in 1568. Trenc is producing through Studio Devet.

In autumn 2018 The Voice aka God in a Shoe, a drama about faith directed by the acclaimed Croatian writer/director Ognjen Sviličić, entered postproduction. The producer is Maxima Film.

The new feature film by Danilo Šerbedžija, Teresa 33, wrapped shooting in Split on 22 July 2018, produced by Focus Media.

Last Serb in Croatia / Posljednji Srbin u Hrvatskoj, a debut feature by director Predrag Ličina, was also shot in 2018. The film is produced by Kinorama in coproduction with Belgrade's Art & Popcorn. It will be theatrically released in Croatia by 2i Film on 28 February 2019.

The feature film Dopunska nastava directed by Ivan Goran Vitez and produced by Interfilm started shooting in 2018.

Zora, the new feature film by Dalibor Matanić, was also shot in 2018 with Kinorama producing.

Vinko Brešan’s comedy Koja je ovo država, produced by Interfilm in coproduction with Serbia’s Zillion Films, was completed in 2018 and it was theatrically released in December 2018.

In 2018 Croatian director Goran Dević was in production with the Croatian/Slovenian coproduction What's to Be Done? / Što da se radi, a 90 minutes docu-fiction following the efforts of a union leader and the workers of a train factory. Croatia’s Petnaesta umjetnost is producing in coproduction with Slovenia’s Bela film and Croatia’s Antitalent. The first part has already been shot and the second part is currently in the financing stage with shooting expected from 1 September to 1 November 2020.

Another documentary shot in 2018 is Kuća na Kraljevcu 35 directed by Pero Kvesić and produced by Factum.

The Barefoot Emperor by Jessica Woodworth and Peter Brosens, photo source: HAVCAs of July 2018, the cash rebate was raised from 20% to 25%, with additional 5% for productions in regions of below average development.

Fourteen projects applied for tax incentives in Croatia in 2018. According to Filming in Croatia within the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, the local expenditure exceeded 15.5 m EUR. Eleven projects had applied in 2017, with a local expenditure of 24.7 m EUR.

Among the projects that applied for incentives in 2018 are: season 8 of the HBO series Game of Thrones, the Belgian/Dutch/Bulgarian/Croatian coproduction The Barefoot Emperor by Jessica Woodworth and Peter Brosens, Se ti abbraccio non aver paura directed by Gabriele Salvatores, and the HBO series Uspjeh directed by Danis Tanović. The historical drama The Master Butcher's Singing Club directed by Ulrich Edel, shot in Croatia in 2018, was the first foreign production using incentives for filming in regions of particular national interest. Kijevo, where the first scenes were shot, and other locations from Šibenik-Knin, Sisak-Moslavina and Zagreb counties, are new for the film industry. The film is produced by the German company MOOVIE GmbH with Pakt Media servicing.

Filming for the eight and final season of the HBO series Game of Thrones begun in Dubrovnik in February 2018. Dubrovnik has been used as the location for King’s Landing since season 2, with Embassy Films servicing ever since.

The American production The Islander directed by Dom Mazuran and Zoran Lisinac was shot in Croatia and Serbia from May till early July 2018. The film benefits from the incentives schemes in both Croatia and Serbia. U.S. Garden of Titans is producing and financing. Dida Boza is the service provider in Croatia.

The Belgian/Dutch/Bulgarian/Croatian coproduction The Barefoot Emperor / Bosonogi car by Jessica Woodworth and Peter Brosens, a mockumentary and a sequel to King of the Belgians, completed filming in Croatia on 15 October 2018. It is produced by Entre Chien et Loup, Art Fest and Topkapi Films, along with Croatia’s coproducer Propeler Film.

DISTRIBUTION

iOtok by Miha ČelarA total of 229 films were distributed in cinemas in 2018, including seven domestic films (five from 2018 and two released in 2017).

A total of 228 films were distributed in cinemas in 2017, of which 210 were new openings. Sixteen domestic films were released in 2017, including 13 new releases and three films released in 2016.

The biggest domestic distributor is Blitz, followed by Continental Film.

In July 2018 Factum, one of the most important Croatian documentary film production companies, launched a new project, Factum Online, and its first stage is a VOD platform, which offers more than 70 documentaries produced by Factum. In September 2018 the second stage of the project featured the first ever DokuChat guest, with writer/director Miha Čelar presenting his latest documentary film iOtok and the interactive series under the same title.

The drama series Newspapers / Novine directed by Dalibor Matanić was sold to Netflix in 2018, thus becoming available in 130 countries. Netflix also bought the second season of the series, produced in 2018. Newspapers describes the decline of the Croatian press, the director told FNE. The script is written by the famous journalist and scriptwriter Ivica Dikić. Drugi Plan produced the series for the Croatian Television.

In 2018 Britain’s Channel 4 and Sweden’s public broadcaster SVT acquired the Croatian Radio and Television’s (HRT) mini-series Guardian of the Castle directed by Lukas Nola and set in Croatia at the end of the 1980’s. The four-part political thriller was also made available on-demand in the US, according to the show’s producer Kinorama. The series premiered on HRT in September 2017.

The awarded Croatian/Czech/Macedonian/British coproduction The Constitution / Ustav Republike Hrvatske by Rajko Grlić was released in Italian cinemas on 4 April 2018 and in the U.S. in May 2018. The film's festival success is confirmed by 32 awards. Sadly, one of the main actors of the film, the acclaimed Bozidar Smiljanic, passed away on 7 April 2018, following the main actor Nebojša Glogovac, who died on 9 February 2018.

The Constitution / Ustav Republike Hrvatske was produced by Interfilm and coproduced by In-Film, Sever&Sever, the Croatian Radio Television HRT and NP7, Revolution Production and Film and Music Entertainment.

Newspapers by Dalibor MatanićIn September 2018 the Croatian/Bosnian coproduction The Eighth Commissioner / Osmi povjerenik by Ivan Salaj was selected as Croatia’s official entry for the US Academy Awards in the Foreign Language Film category. The decision was made via a secret ballot by the Croatian Society of Film Workers (HDFD).

This drama/comedy, based on a book by Renato Baretić, was produced by Croatia’s Alka film in coproduction with Embrio Production, Hrvatska radiotelevizija (HRT), Kadar film from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia’s Olimp produkcija.

Most of the awards at international festivals received in 2018 went to documentaries and animated films, both majority and minority Croatian coproductions.

Nebojša Slijepčević’s Srbenka, produced by Restart, was awarded best documentary at the 24th Sarajevo Film Festival, while Leon Lučev won the best actor award for the Croatian minority coproduction The Load, directed by Ognjen Glavonić and coproduced by Kinorama.

Srbenka was also nominated for Best European Documentary at the 2018 European Film Awards. The film had its world premiere at the Visions du Réel Festival in Nyon, where it received a Special Jury Mention, while in Cannes it won the Doc Alliance Award.

Cyclists by Veljko Popović was awarded the Jury Prize at the 2018 International Animation Festival in Annecy.

The long documentary On the Water, directed by Goran Dević and produced by Petnaesta umjetnost, received the Honorary Mention at the 61st International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film.

The short animated film A Demonstration of Brilliance in Four Acts, directed by Lucija Mrzljak and Morten Tšinakov, won the Grand Prix in the international animated film category at Poland’s IFF Etiuda & Anima. This Croatian/Estonian coproduction also received the Special Jury Mention in the international competition of the Montreal Animated Film Summit (Sommets du cinéma d’animation).

The Czech/Croatian coproduction When the War Comes directed by Jan Gebert won the Silver Eye prize for best feature length film at the 22nd Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival. The film produced by Pink and coproduced by HBO Czech Republic and Hulahop also received the Best Central and Eastern European Director award at the 2018 Astra Film Festival in Sibiu, Romania.

Srbenka by Nebojša SlijepčevićEXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE

The European branch of the International Cinema Technology Association (ICTA) gave its 2018 New Build Cinema of the Year award to the Cinestar 4DX, Mall of Split, during a ceremony that took place in Barcelona on 10 June 2018, the opening day of ICTA’s seminar series. The announcement was made on 23 April 2018. The awards celebrate technological leadership and innovation in the European cinema exhibition industry.

In 2018 total admissions were 4,702,143 and total gross 147,426,590 HRK, according to estimates provided by Continental Film.

In 2017 total admissions were 4,637,287 and total gross 18,398,215 EUR / 136,778,122 HRK, according to Continental Film.

Domestic admissions decreased from 121,205 in 2017 to 55,709 in 2018 and as a consequence the box office decreased from 2,767,018 in 2017 to 1,559,829 in 2018, according to Continental Film.

The general admissions top ten 2018 is composed of: Bohemian Rhapsody (194,497 admissions), The Grinch (156,785), A Star Is Born (132,153), Avengers: Infinity War (125,975), Deadpool 2 (122,060), Mamma mia! Here We Go Again (111,145), Hotel Transylvania 3: Monster Vacation (107,271), Aquaman (96,712), The Nun (90,387) and Venom (88,376).

The most popular Croatian films in 2018 were: The Eighth Commissioner / Osmi Povjerenik directed by Ivan Salaj and distributed by 2iFilm (with 31,828 admissions), and Comic sans directed by Nevio Marasović and distributed by 2iFilm (with 14,030 admissions).

The other domestic films in cinemas in 2018 were: F20 directed by Arsen Anton Ostojić, produced by Filmosaurus Rex and distributed by Duplicato Media (4,905 admissions), Aleksi directed by Barbara Vekarić, produced by Studio dim and distributed by 2iFilm (3,657 admissions), the Croatian minority coproduction Neparožderi aka The Oddsockeaters / Lichožrouti directed by Galina Miklínová, coproduced by Filmosaurus Rex  and distributed by Duplicato Media (801 admissions), Happy End directed by Darko Šuvak, produced by Alka film and distributed by Continental Film (458 admissions), Dead Fish / Mrtve ribe directed by Kristijan Milić, produced by Eurofilm and distributed by Continental Film (30 admissions). Both Neparožderi and Dead Fish / Mrtve ribe had their premiere in 2017 but continued exhibition in 2018.

GRANTS AND NEW LEGISLATION

The most important film institution is the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) founded in January 2008. HAVC operated with a total annual budget of 9.11 m EUR in 2012, a total budget of 9.30 m EUR in 2013, of 9.03 m EUR in 2014 and 7.99 m EUR in 2015. HAVC’s total budget for 2016 was 8.67 m EUR and 10.15 m EUR in 2017 and the total budget in 2018 (without the cash rebate) was 9.8 m EUR.

When the War Comes by Jan GebertThe HAVC is currently headed by Daniel Rafaelić, who was named acting director in February 2017 and director in May 2017 for a four year term. Daniel Rafaelić replaced Hrvoje Hribar.

On 12 February 2018 the Croatian Audiovisual Centre distributed 272,300 EUR / 2,025,000 HRK to three minority coproductions directed by Peter Brosens & Jessica Woodworth, Metod Pevec and Ines Tanović. A total of 27 projects applied through 26 October 2017.

On 29 March 2018 HAVC distributed 2,135,735 EUR / 15,880,000 HRK as production grants for feature films, debut features, long documentaries, short documentaries, short fiction films and experimental films, and also as project and script development grants. The biggest grant (524,519 EUR / 3.9 m HRK) went to the feature film Bischofshofen by Igor Mirković.

The production grants were allotted to two feature films, three debut features, four experimental films, four short fiction films, three long documentaries and two short documentaries, and also for the postproduction of two long documentaries and one short fiction film.

In April 2018 HAVC distributed 226,000 EUR / 1.7 m HRK to eight short animated films.

In July 2018 the HAVC distributed 2,280,000 EUR / 17,160,000 HRK to feature film, documentary and short film production and minority coproductions, as well as to script and project development. The six minority coproduction grants went to projects directed by Chintis Lundgren & Christin Peets, Gjergj Xhuvani, Ronnie Sandah, Tiha Gudac, Zdenko Jurilj and Mitja Ličen & Sonja Prosenc.

In November 2018 the HAVC allotted 370,666 EUR / 2,780,000 HRK for minority coproduction grants and for script and project development grants, 124,000 EUR / 930,000 HRK for script and project development of television projects, 247,000 EUR / 1,855,000 HRK for seven short animated films and 62,000 EUR / 470,000 HRK for four experimental films.

New projects by Goran Paskaljević and Srđan Vuletić are among the seven Croatian minority coproductions receiving production funding.

A total of 59 foreign productions have used the tax incentives scheme since its launch in 2012: five in 2012, four in 2013, eight in 2014, ten in 2015, seven in 2016, eleven in 2017 and 14 in 2018.

Comic Sans by Nevio MarasovićUnder the cash rebate scheme, projects can claim back 25% of their qualifying expenditure, which is based on the cost of the Croatian cast and crew working in Croatia, as well as goods and services purchased in Croatia, with a cap of around 2.6m EUR per project. As of July 2018, the cash rebate was raised from 20% to 25%, with additional 5% for productions in regions of below average development.

The Istria Film Commission was launched in July 2015, following the example of the Zadar Film Commission in helping filming crews in location scouting, communication with public authorities and domestic producers and crew, obtaining filming permits and accessing databases. A new film commission, Kvarner Film Commission, opened in Rijeka in 2017.

Additional public support bodies are the Zagreb City Office for Education, Culture and Sport and the Rijeka City Office for Culture and Split.

The bill on audiovisual activities put forward by the Croatian Government on 22 March 2018 was adopted by the Parliament on 19 July 2018. The law introduces a new structure for the Council and the Managing Board of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) and regulates the definitions of audiovisual works so as to include video games, thus creating a legal framework for further development of one of the most propulsive segments of the audiovisual industry.

„The new law improves the current functioning of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre. Especially in regard to a clearer definition of the Audiovisual Council and Managing Board activities, as well as stricter regulations regarding potential conflicts of interests“, Daniel Rafaelić, the Head of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, told FNE.

The Law on Audiovisual Activities which established the Croatian Audiovisual Centre was adopted in 2007.

TV

As stipulated by the 2007 Croatian Film Act, Croatian public broadcaster, the Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT), as well as all other Croatian broadcasters with a national concession (Nova TVRTL) are obliged to contribute towards the funding of the HAVC.

Aleksi by Barbara VekarićAs a public broadcaster, the Croatian Radiotelevision plays an important role in the promotion of national cinema through its two terrestrial and two digital channels, and is legally obliged to invest a minimum of 15% of its programming budget in works by independent producers.

Uspjeh, the first HBO original series for HBO Adria, completed shooting in Zagreb at the end of May 2018. According to comments by HBO Adria producer Ana Balentovic, work on the six-part series lasted 18 months, while the shooting began in March 2018. The series was written by Marjan Alcevski and directed by Danis Tanović. The script was chosen from among 570 applications to the HBO Adria “First Draft” competition.

Also in 2018 the acclaimed Croatian director Dalibor Matanić shot the six-part TV series The Last Socialist Artefact. The project is a Croatian/Serbian coproduction produced by Kinorama in coproduction with Sense Production.

According to the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, the series is among the 16 projects selected from 312 applications for the prestigious television coproduction forum Series Mania Television Festival, which will take place in Paris mid-April 2017. The Last Socialist Artefact / Područje bez signala is the first Croatian television series to be pitched at this coproduction market.

CONTACTS:

Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC)
Nova Ves 18
10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
Phone: +385 (0)1 6041 080
Fax: +385 (0)1 4667 819
www.havc.hr
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Eighth Commissioner by Ivan SalajMEDIA Desk Croatia
Ulica Kralja Zvonimira 20
10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
Phone: +385 (0)1 4655 434
Fax: +385 (0)1 4655 442
www.mediadesk.hr
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ministry of Culture- Directorate for Performing Arts and Audiovisual Affairs
Runjaninova 2
10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
Phone: +385 (0)1 4866 408
Fax: +385 (0)1 4866 438
www.min-kulture.hr

Report by Iulia Blaga (2019)
Sources: the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Continental Film


MARKET ANALYSIS 2017

Constitution by Rajko GrlićThe Board of HAVC reappointed Hrvoje Hribar as Chief Executive for a second four-year term beginning in December 2014, but on 6 February 2017 Hribar handed in his resignation due to the negative audit conducted by the Croatian State Audit. In February 2017 Daniel Rafaelić was named acting director and in May 2017 the director of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre for a four year term.

The most important awards for the Croatian cinema in 2017 were: the Grand Prix of the national competition at the Pula Film Festival won by The Brief Excursion directed by Igor Bezinovic and produced by Studio Pangolin, the three main prizes (best film, best screenplay and best performance) received by Rajko Grlic’s The Constitution at the 2017 London Raindance Film Festival, the Special Mention in the Generation Kplus programme of the Berlinale and the Young Audience Award at the 41st Annecy International Animation Film Festival for Hedgehog’s Home by Eva Cvijanović and also the jury award of the Ministry for Family, Children, Youth, Culture and Sport of North Rhine-Westphalia for The Just Come and Go by Boris Poljak and the Youth Jury award for Into the Blue by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović at the 63rd International Short Film Festival in Oberhausen.

Important awards were also received by minority Croatian coproductions, Dede by Mariam Khatchvani and Men Don’t Cry by Alen Drljević.

Hana Jušić’s debut feature Quit Staring at My Plate was chosen to represent Croatia in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 90th Academy Awards 2018.

In 2017, Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović became the first Croatian selected for the Cinéfondation residency in Cannes, where she developed her first feature film Murina (produced by Spritus Movens).

Total admissions increased by 2.93 percent in 2017. Admissions to domestic films decreased by 10.49 percent.

Quit Staring at My Plate by Hana JušićPRODUCTION

The list of Croatian films shot in 2017 includes projects by well-known directors as well as debut features of various genres. Most of them are supported by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre.

Antun Vrdoljak’s anticipated The General / General, starring Goran Višnjić as the hero of the Croatian War of Independence Ante Gotovina, started shooting in Croatia in February 2017. The project includes a feature film and also an eight-episode series, and it is a Croatian/Bosnian coproduction between Kiklop film and Oktavijan.

The acclaimed writer/director Veljko Bulajic shot Escape to the Sea in 2017. The film stars the German actor Tom Wlaschiha and is a coproduction between Croatia’s Gral Film, Montenegro’s Dogma Studio and Macedonia’s Geyzer Production.

In 2017 Nevio Marasović also shot Comic Sans, a feature film produced by Ankica Jurić Tilić through Kinorama.

The children's film My Grandpa is an Alien / Moj dida je pao s Marsa by Drazen Zarkovic and Marina Andree Skop was filmed in 2017 as a Croatian/Luxembourg/Norwegian/Czech/Slovenian/Bosnian coproduction produced by Studio Dim.

My Grandpa is an Alien by Drazen Zarkovic and Marina Andree SkopIn 2017 helmer Antonio Nuić shot his new feature film Mali / Mali je naš, the third part of a project he had started as a student film. Propeler Film is producing.

Writer/director Bobo Jelčić also shot All Alone / Sam samcat, a social drama about a divorced father, produced by Croatia’s Spiritus Movens Production in coproduction with Dokument Sarajevo from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, that supported it through its newly founded Montenegrin Film Centre.

Deep Cuts, an omnibus film about violence, directed by Filip Peruzović, Filip Mojzeš and Dubravka Turić, was also in production in 2017.

One of the most awaited debut features in 2018 is Awakenings / Samo zatvori oci by Jure Pavlović. Pavlović (who won the European Film Academy Award for the Best European short film for Picnic in 2015), produced through the Croatian company Sekvenca in coproduction with Slovenia’s Vertigo, Germany’s Monokel, Serbia’s Baš čelik and Novi Film from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Writer/director Barbara Vekarić also shot her debut feature Aleksi in 2017. This coming-of-age story is produced by Croatia’s Studio Dim in coproduction with Serbia’s FilmKombajn and Croatia's Motion.

Also shot in 2017 were Na zapadu, directed by Sara Hribar and Marko Šantić, and produced by Sekvenca d.o.o., Dom, directed by Dario Pleić and produced by Sekvenca d.o.o., and For Good All Times by Eduard Galić, produced by Missart.

Actress/producer Marija Ratkovic Vidakovic penned, produced and co-directed together with Dinka Radonic her first film, the autobiographical documentary In Search of a Lost Country / U potrazi za izgubljenom državom (working title). Shooting started in 2015 and wrapped in 2017. Marija Ratkovic Vidakovic is producing through the Croatian Film Association.

In Search of a Lost Country by Marija Ratkovic Vidakovic and Dinka RadonicDana Budisavljević continued in 2017 the production on Diana’s List, a documentary–fiction film about a distant kin, who was the greatest unheralded rescuer of children during WWII. Hulahop is producing.

Eleven projects applied for tax incentives in Croatia in 2017. According to the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, the local expenditure was almost 25.4 m EUR.

In 2015 ten international productions applied for incentives with a cumulative local expenditure of approximately 20.5 m EUR. In 2016 seven international productions had a local expenditure of nearly 10 m EUR. Through the incentives programme, 34 projects were filmed in Croatia between 2012 and 2016, with local spending of almost 54 m EUR / 400 m HRK.

Among the projects that applied for incentives in 2017 are: the BBC One series McMafia directed by James Watkins (serviced by MP Film Production) and the 10-part AMC series The Terror directed by David Kajganich and Soo Hugh, produced by Ridley Scott and serviced by Embassy Film, as well as Robin Hood by Otto Bathurst (with Pakt Media servicing) and The Guardian Angel by Arto Halonen, with MP Film Production coproducing.

Also benefiting from the tax incentives scheme in 2017 were Ol Parker’s Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, Universal Pictures’ sequel to its 2008 hit musical, which was shot in Croatia for 24 days (the film was serviced by Pakt Media), the Dutch/Belgian/Croatian coproduction Rafael by Ben Sombogaart with Croatia’s Nukleus film as minority coproducer, the Danish feature film Lifeboat, directed by Josefine Kirkeskov and coproduced by Croatia’s MP Films, the TV series Kiss Me First and the feature film Ibiza, directed by Alex RichanbacRafael by Ben Sombogaart, photo: Rinkel Filmh.

The White Crow, a film focusing on the Russian ballet dancer and choreographer Rudolf  Nureyev and directed by Ralph Fiennes, was shot in Croatia in 2017, as well as Intrigo: Death of an Author directed by Daniel Alfredson, and also Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War / Zimna Wojna shot in Croatia for a few days. 

”Just the fact that Croatian cities can play the roles of major global metropolises as well as themselves, shows that the local infrastructure and local communities are ready to offer all that is necessary for top quality productions at the highest level", Daniel Rafaelić, director of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) said in a statement.

In 2017 Filming Europe - European Film Commissions Network (EUFCN) placed two locations in Croatia, Dubrovnik and Kaštel Gomilica (Kaštilac), on its list of the 11 most beautiful European locations of the decade, competing for a European Film Location Award.

Awakenings by Jure PavlovićDISTRIBUTION

A total of 228 films were distributed in cinemas in 2017, of which 210 were new openings. Sixteen domestic films were released in 2017, including 13 new releases and three films released in 2016.

The biggest domestic distributor is Blitz, followed by Continental Film.

The Constitution / Ustav Republike Hrvatske by the acclaimed Croatian director Rajko Grlic was picked up for US Distribution by Synergetic and was released theatrically in 2017.

Rest in Peace series produced by Ring MultimediaIn 2017 the ,Croatian TV series Rest in Peace expanded onto the American market as a ‘Walter Presents’ project, a partnership between Channel 4 and the British firm Global Series Network, which bought the UK rights. Rest in Peace, which was developed with the support of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre and produced by Ring Productions for the Croatian Radio Television (HRT), was acquired by the Belgian Flemish Radio and Television (VRT) in 2015, becoming the first series developed by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre to be broadcast in Western Europe. The series created by Dario Vince and Koraljka Meštrović was also the first Croatian series to be sold to the U.S. at the beginning of 2014, when Lionsgate bought remake rights.

The High Sun by Dalibor Matanić was released in Spain by Surtsey Films in February 2017. Matanić’s film had its world premiere at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section, has been screened at more than 100 international festivals and won 30 awards. In its first year of screening it was sold by Cercamon to over 30 countries and in 2017 it was distributed in the United States and China. The film is a Croatian/Serbian/Slovenian coproduction between Kinorama, SEE Film Pro and Gustav Film.

In 2017 On the Other Side by Zrinko Ogresta (a Croatian/Serbian coproduction between Interfilm and Zilion film) began its theatrical distribution in Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

The most important awards for the Croatian cinema in 2017 were: the Grand Prix of the national competition at the Pula Film Festival won by The Brief Excursion directed by Igor Bezinovic and produced by Studio Pangolin, after its premiere in Rotterdam; the three main prizes (best film, best screenplay and best performance) received by Rajko Grlic’s The Constitution at the 2017 London Raindance Film Festival; the Special Mention in the Generation Kplus programme of the Berlinale and the Young Audience Award at the 41st Annecy International Animation Film Festival for Hedgehog’s Home by Eva Cvijanović; the jury award of the Ministry for Family, Children, Youth, Culture and Sport of North Rhine-Westphalia for The Just Come and Go by Boris Poljak and the Youth Jury award for Into the Blue by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović at the 63rd International Short Film Festival in Oberhausen; the Heart of Sarajevo for best short film received by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović’s Into the Blue and the Special Mention received by Zdenko Jurilj for his documentary Home at the 23rd Sarajevo Film Festival.

Into the Blue by Antoneta Alamat KusijanovićAlso the Croatian minority coproduction Dede by Mariam Khatchvani won the Special Jury Mention in the East of the West programme at the 52nd Karlovy Vary IFF, while the minority Croatian coproduction Men Don’t Cry by Alen Drljević won the Europa Cinemas Label and the Young Audience Award at the 23rd Sarajevo FF and a Special Jury Mention in Karlovy Vary.

The Sarajevo Film Festival Partners’ Award went to another Croatian minority coproduction, When Pigs Come by Biljana Tuturov (coproduced by Croatia’s Kinematograf).  The minority coproduction In Praise of Nothing, directed by Boris Mitrović and coproduced by Anti-Apsurd, premiered in Locarno.

The documentary My Life Without Air by Bojana Burnać premiered at HotDocs and was in the documentary competition in Karlovy Vary.

Toma Waszarow’s Red Light (a Croatian minority coproduction) won the Audience Award at the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival.

Hana Jušić’s debut feature Quit Staring at My Plate was chosen to represent Croatia in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 90th Academy Awards 2018. The film is the first Croatian/Danish coproduction between Kinorama, the Croatian Television and Beofilm.

EXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE

In March 2017 Blitz-Cinestar opened its 13th multiplex in Croatia, the Kaptol Boutique Cinema & Bar in Zagreb, the first laser cinema in the region. In December 2017 Blitz-Cinestar opened CineStar 4DX Mall, its14th multiplex in Croatia, its second multiplex opened in Split, the largest in the Dalmatia region. Blitz-CineStar is the largest and most successful exhibition company in ex-Yugoslavia.

In 2017 total admissions were 4,637,287 and total gross 18,398,215 EUR / 136,778,122 HRK, according to estimates provided by Continental Film.

The Mystery of Green Hill by Čejen Černić credit KinoramaThe most popular Croatian films in 2017 were: The Mystery of Green Hill / Uzbuna na Zelenom Vrhu by director Cejen Cernic , produced by Kinorama and distributed by 2iFilm, with 68,642 admissions, Anka by Dejan Aćimović , produced by DA Film and distributed by Blitz Film&Video, with 30,885 admissions, and Neparožderi by Galina Miklinova, produced by Filmosaurus Rex and released by Blitz Film&Video, with 15,764 admissions.

Total admissions top ten 2017 is composed of: Despicable Me 3 (with 162,554 admissions), Star Wars: The Last Jedi (132,540 admissions), Fast &Furious 8 (125,334 admissions), Fifty Shades Darker (116,810 admissions), Boss Baby (107,813 admissions), It (107,032 admissions), Wonder (99,163 admissions), Smurfs: The Lost Village (85,989  admissions), La La Land (85,388  admissions), Thor: Ragnarok (79,778 admissions).

In 2016 the most watched Croatian film in the cinemas was Igor Šeregi’s ZG80 (Kinoteka) with 65,685 admissions.

Total admissions increased by 2.93 percent from 4,505,139 in 2016 to 4,637,287 in 2017, according to the estimations made by Continental Film.

Admissions to domestic films decreased by 10.49 percent from 147,205 admissions in 2016 (including minority coproductions) to 133,219 in 2017 (including the three films released in 2016 and still in distribution in 2017).

Men Dont Cry by Alen DrljevićGRANTS AND NEW LEGISLATION

The most important film institution is the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC), founded in January 2008. HAVC operated with a total annual budget of 9.11 m EUR in 2012, a total budget of 9.30 m EUR in 2013, of 9.03 m EUR in 2014 and 7.99 m EUR in 2015. HAVC’s total budget for 2016 was 8.67 m EUR and 10.15 m EUR in 2017.  

The Board of HAVC reappointed Hrvoje Hribar as Chief Executive for a second four-year term beginning in December 2014, but on 6 February 2017 Hribar handed in his resignation due to the negative audit conducted by the Croatian State Audit. As a result, representatives of the Croatian Film Director's Guild and the Croatian Producers Association launched the initiative We’ve Had Enough / Puk’o nam je, aimed at protecting Croatian cinema from political influence and control. The Federation of European Film Directors and the Association of European Film Agency Directors (EFADs) supported the initiative and praised Hrvoje Hribar’s contribution to Croatian and European film.

In February 2017 Daniel Rafaelić was named acting director and in May 2017 the director of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre for a four year term. Rafaelić told FNE: “One of my main tasks is to strengthen the Croatian Audiovisual Centre as an institution with a clear policy for the state fund management. It is relevant for Croatian film to be autonomous within the guidelines of the National Programme. The battle against piracy and the promotion of Croatian films abroad are also in the forefront of HAVC's work much more now than before.”

In May 2017 a total of 1,615,161 EUR / 12,004,100 HRK was distributed by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre as production grants and minority coproductions grants, and also for script and project development. Production grants were allotted to 17 projects including feature films, short films, long and short documentaries, animated films and experimental films. From among 17 applications for minority coproduction grants only two projects were selected – the feature film God Exists, Her Name is Petrunija by Teona Strugar Mitevska and the documentary Am Ziel by Želimir Žilnik.

In July 2017 the Croatian Audiovisual Centre allotted 118,730 EUR / 880,000 HRK to two feature films and one short film.

In October the Croatian Audiovisual Centre distributed 452,116 EUR / 3,395,000 HRK as production grants for minority coproductions, and script development and project development support for TV productions. Seven Croatian minority coproductions received 326,269 EUR / 2,450,000 HRK. HAVC also allotted 63,256 EUR / 475,000 HRK for the script development of 20 fiction, documentary and animated TV projects (series or independent works), while 62,590 EUR / 470,000 HRK went to the project development of 11 fiction, documentary and animated TV projects (series or independent works).

A total of 45 foreign productions have used the tax incentives scheme since its launch in 2012: five in 2012, four in 2013, eight in 2014, ten in 2015, seven in 2016 and 11 in 2017.

Constitution by Rajko GrlićUnder the cash rebate scheme, projects can claim back 20% of their qualifying expenditure, which is based on the cost of the Croatian cast and crew working in Croatia, as well as goods and services purchased in Croatia, with a cap of around 2.6m EUR per project.

The Istria Film Commission was launched in July 2015, following the example of the Zadar Film Commission in helping filming crews in location scouting, communication with public authorities and domestic producers and crew, obtaining filming permits and accessing databases. A new film commission, Kvarner Film Commission, opened in Rijeka in 2017.

Additional public support bodies are the Zagreb City Office for Education, Culture and Sport and the Rijeka City Office for Culture.

TV

As stipulated by the 2007 Croatian Film Act, Croatian public broadcaster, the Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT), as well as all other Croatian broadcasters with a national concession (Nova TVRTL) are obliged to contribute towards the funding of the HAVC in the form of a mandatory contribution.

As a public broadcaster, the Croatian Radiotelevision plays an important role in the promotion of national cinema through its two terrestrial and two digital channels, and is legally obliged to invest a minimum of 15% of its programming budget in works by independent producers.

In April 2017, the Croatian TV project Uspjeh by Marjan Alčevski was selected for development by HBO Europe from its HBO Adria First Draft Contest for original drama, out of more than 500 entries.

CONTACTS:

Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC)
Nova Ves 18
10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
Phone: +385 (0)1 6041 080
Fax: +385 (0)1 4667 819
www.havc.hr
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Dede by by Mariam KhatchvaniMEDIA Desk Croatia
Ulica Kralja Zvonimira 20
10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
Phone: +385 (0)1 4655 434
Fax: +385 (0)1 4655 442
www.mediadesk.hr
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Ministry of Culture- Directorate for Performing Arts and Audiovisual Affairs
Runjaninova 2
10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
Phone: +385 (0)1 4866 408
Fax: +385 (0)1 4866 438
www.min-kulture.hr

Report by Iulia Blaga
Sources: the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Continental Film

 

Bulgaria

The Father by Kristina Grozeva and Petar ValchanovMARKET ANALYSIS 2019

SOFIA: Public support for film was finally unlocked in 2019 and the Bulgarian National Film Center resumed its regular activities. This became possible after the harmonisation of the Film Industry Act with the Communication on State Aid for Films and Other Audiovisual Works (2013/C 332/01), the Commission Regulation No 651/2014 of 17 June 2014 and the Commission Regulation No 1407/2013 of 18 December 2013. Most of the nearly 90 agreements signed between the national institution and producers with closed budgets by the end of 2018 started to take effect and a considerable number of films were shot.

In October 2019 Bulgaria’s Parliament ratified the revised Council of Europe Convention on Cinematographic Co-production adopted on 29 June 2016 and opened for signature on 30 January 2017.  

In order to further update the Film Industry Act, various working groups were appointed to propose urgent redefinitions of some of its rules of action. A group of experts was also set up to draft the law on a possible implementation of cash tax incentives for producers shooting in Bulgaria. The consultations lasted longer than expected, therefore the possible adoption of the legal changes was postponed for 2020.

Sister by Sveta TsotsorkovaAfter prolonged court proceedings and a guilty verdict, the Director General of the Bulgarian National Television (BNT), Konstantin Kamenarov, was forced to vacate his post. On 5 July 2019 Bulgaria’s Council for Electronic Media elected the former politician and journalist Emil Koshlukov as Director General of the BNT.

On 31 October 2019 the director Milko Lazarov was elected President of the Union of Bulgarian Filmmakers. He inherited the post from Ivan Pavlov, who had led Bulgaria’s largest film organisation for 12 years.

The directorial duo Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov won the Crystal Globe for Best Film at the 54th Karlovy Vary IFF with their Bulgarian/Greek coproduction The Father (Abraxas, Graal). The film was also awarded Best Film at the 37th Golden Rose Film Festival and took four other national prizes.

Svetla Tsotsorkova’s second feature Sister (Omega film) grabbed the main prize for Best Film at the 29th FilmFestival Cottbus.

Mina Mileva’s and Vesela Kazakova’s Bulgarian/UK/French feature debut Cat In the Wall (Activist 38, Glasshead, Ici et Là Productions) was selected for the main competition of the 72nd Locarno FF, where it was warmly received by the audience. It also got the Best Debut Award at the Varna Golden Rose FF. 

Nadejda Koseva’s debut feature film Irina, produced by Art Fest, was nominated for the European Discovery – Prix FIPRESCI at the 32nd European Film Awards.  

PRODUCTION

Nineteen feature films were produced in 2019, of which nine were supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center,, while 10 were privately financed.

Five of the supported films were made with minority financial participation from other countries. Three debut films were produced with public support. 

The Bulgarian National Television backed Bad Girl, the directorial debut of famous actor and star Marian Valev. Other films in which the BNT participated as coproducer were Lachezar Avramov’s A Picture with Yuki, produced by Bulgaria’s Chouchkov Brothers in cooperation with Japan’s WA Entertainment, and Mina Mileva’s and Vesela Kazakova’s Cat In the Wall.

Irina by Nadejda KosevaA total of 24 short films were made in 2019, of which five were supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center, six by the Plovdiv 2019 Foundation, three by the New Bulgarian University, two by the National Culture Fund of Bulgaria, two by the American Foundation for Bulgaria, one by the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Germany and one by the Chung-Ang University in South Korea.

In September and October 2019, in the Black Sea village of Krapets, Dragomir Sholev shot his third feature film Fish Bone, about a camping owner, who finds a dead dolphin on the beach and meets the authorities’ refusal to take on the case. The film is a coproduction between Bulgaria’s Klas film and Romania’s HiFilm Productions, and it was supported by Eurimages.

Scriptwriter/director Ivan Cherkelov completed the shooting of his family drama Don’t Go into Quarrel with the Bathroom Staff in the town of Lovech. The film produced by Nak-Zak Vision combines generational crises and personal memories of his own grandfather.

The director of Holiday Makers (Urban Media) Ivailo Penchev returned to the Black Sea shore for the shooting of his new comedy As For The Last (Urban Media), involving a bunch of popular local actors.  

In a rude and austere landscape actor/director/screenwriter Ivaylo Hristov shot his drama Fear (Pro Film), dealing with illegal migration and ensuing moral dilemmas in a small border village, while his younger colleague, actor Valery Yordanov, completed the shooting of his long awaited coming-of-age drama Call Me Shakespeare (Chouchkov Brothers).  

Also in the deep countryside Ivan Pavlov shot his Spring Equinox (Art 47), while Stanimir Trifonov chose the Danube town of Russe for the shooting of his emotional period drama Bobby the Blessed (Incoms Project).

Mostly known for his privately financed low budget films, Georgy Kostov worked on his The Rest Is Ashes (Korund X) dedicated to Atanas Burov, a cult Bulgarian banker and philanthropist of the last century.

The number of lower budget films shot in 2019 was also high. Among them were: Dimitar Petkov’s 1979 (ARS Studio), Petrinel Gochev’s A Bulgarian Ship Sinks (Gala Film), Vasil Barkov’s The End of the River (Magic Mount), Konstantin Burov’s Farewell, Johnny (Doli Media). Mostly known as a distributor of European and Bulgarian films, A Plus Films produced Andrey Andonov’s Yatagan, a funny black comedy on the sometimes fake terrorism combating in Eastern Europe.

Petya of My Petya directed by Alexander Kossev (BOF Pictures), Ashes over Sun by Bo Kalinov (Invictus), Dustcatcher by Pavel G. Vesnakov (Moviemento), Waterfall CEO directed by Svetoslav Draganov and produced by Bulgaria’s Cineaste Maudit Production in coproduction with Romania’s Parada Film, as well as Dante's Heaven by Dimitar Radev (PremierStudio) were among the debut films shot in 2019. Over 10 short films and five minority coproductions were also shot in 2019. 

Waterfall CEO director Svetoslav Draganov and DoP Vesselin Hristov; credit: Ivan AndreevThe 24th Golden Rhyton Festival, which had been cancelled in 2018, resumed and screened 19 animated and 57 documentary films, representing the most significant part of two-years’ production. The Golden Rhyton for best documentary went to Pawn Sacrifice by scriptwriter/director Assen Vladimirov (ProFilm), while the award for best animated film went to Andrey Tsvetkov’s A Tree of Iron (TF & P). Emil Spahiyski’s An Icarus from Kocherinovo (Contrast Films) became best documentary debut and Dalibor Rajninger’s The Last Day (Compote Collective) was awarded best animated debut. Boya Harizanova received the best documentary director award for her A Feeling of Revulsion (Incoms Project), while Pencho Kunchev was awarded best cartoon designer for Roses in the Night (Nu Boyana Film).

Eleven foreign films were partly or entirely shot in Bulgaria in 2019, among which there were: Patrick Hughes’s action comedy The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard (Millennium Media, Campbell Grobman Films), the popular American TV series Absentia: Season 3 and Pandora, Alessio Jim Della Valle’s thriller American Night, Todor Chapkanov’s family drama A Picture Perfect Royal Christmas (Free Dolphin Productions), Tanya Wexler’s action film Jolt (Millennium Films), David Sandberg’s martial arts comedy Kung Fu 2 (B-Reel Film, Laser Unicors, Argent Pictures). As usual, most of them were serviced either by Nu Boyana Film Studios or by the Bulgarian Unified Film Organization (BUFO).

DISTRIBUTION

According to the NFC, a total of 279 films were theatrically released in 2019: 115 from the USA, 114  European films, 39 domestic and 11 films from other countries. Total admissions were 4,801,045, of which American films had 3,994,054 admissions, European films had 344,196 admissions and domestic films had 437,181 admissions.

In 2019 Forum Film Bulgaria followed by Alexandra Group remained the country’s leading distribution companies. The companies had seven and two titles, respectively, in the top ten, which this time included only American titles.

Niki Iliev’s privately financed feature film Reunion (Silver Light Pictures, Euro Dialog, Indie Films), which was released by bTV Studios, the distribution branch of the private TV channel bTV, became the most watched domestic film, followed by Yana Titova’s A Dose of Happiness, which bTV Studios not only released but also coproduced together with NoBlink Studio.

The third most watched Bulgarian film is Kamen Donev’s satirical comedy Cozy, which was produced by himself and released by Lenta, the distribution branch of the private TV channel Nova (which also released Martin Makariev’s privately financed Wildlings, produced by Production House, Silver Noise.

Reunion by Niki IlievAPlus Films chose to release Marian Valev’s Bad Girl, which became the 5th most watched Bulgarian film.

EXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE

The number of officially registered theatres in 2019 was 68, of which 67 are already digitalised. The number of screens was 220, with a great number equipped for 3D screenings.

In 2019 total admissions were 4,801,045 and total box office was 23,895,950 EUR. In 2018 the admissions were 4,900,408 and the total box office was 23,537,851 EUR. As the decrease in admissions was 2.03% and the increase in box office was 1.52%, it is obvious that no radical changes in the market took place.

American films had 3,994,054 admissions and 19,993,965 EUR gross, while European titles had 344,196 admissions and 1,508,456 EUR gross.

With 39 Bulgarian titles (including re-releases and holdovers) the number of films released was slightly higher than in 2018, when their number was 30.

In 2019 domestic films had 437,181 admissions and 1.8 m EUR gross. In 2018 they had 388,066 admissions and 1.6 m EUR gross. Admissions to domestic films increased by 12.66% and the box office increased by 12.50%.

Niki Iliev’s Reunion became Bulgaria’s domestic box office topper with 88,374 admissions and 395,168 EUR gross. Yana Titova’s A Dose of Happiness ranked 2nd with 86,663 admissions and 350, 241 EUR gross, followed by Kamen Donev’s Cozy with 74,995 admissions and 343,684 EUR gross, and Martin Makariev’s Wildlings with 60,486 admissions and 282,978 EUR gross. None of these films was supported by any public fund.    

Marian Valev’s Bad Girl is 5th with 40,372 admissions and 172,293 EUR gross.   

Bad Girl by Marian ValevStephan Komandarev’s Rounds is 6th with 16,357 admissions and 63,364 EUR gross (released by Purple Rain Film Distribution), followed by Milko Lazarov’s Bulgarian/German/French coproduction Aga (Red Carpet, 42Film, Arizona Films Productions) with 11,875 admissions and 30,698 EUR gross (released by Red Carpet). Stanislav Donchev’s Letters From Antarctica, produced by Dynamic Arts and released by Lenta, ranked 8th with 9,239 admissions and 44,139 EUR gross, followed by Lachezar Avramov’s debut A Picture With Yuki (released by Purple Rain) with 7,896 admissions and 15,065 EUR gross.

Matey Genchev’s Run, produced by GMAX film and released by Dema Film, and Maxim Genchev’s The Runaway Smartphone, produced and released by Amrita Art, ranked 10th and 11th respectively, with 7,148 admissions and 20,980 EUR gross, and 4,532 admissions and 15,693 EUR gross, respectively.

Nikolay Vasilev’s documentary Theo´s Formula, produced by Screening Emotions and released by the Sofia FF, had 4,526 admissions and 10,972 EUR gross, while Nadejda Koseva’s debut feature Irina, produced and released by Art Fest, had 4,356 admissions and 10,758 EUR gross.

GRANTS AND NEW LEGISLATION

In 2019 the legal frame remained as the one adopted by Bulgaria’s Parliament on 6 March 2018, which brought the film state aid schemes in line with the European Commission’s Communication on State Aid for Films and Other Audiovisual Works (2013/C 332/01).

In comparison with 2018, public funding for the film industry was increased by around 750,000 EUR and thus amounted to 7,515,991 EUR / 14.7 m BGN. Eighty-five percent of the sum was allocated to all types of film production, including minority coproductions. The rest of the money was allocated to local theatrical distribution of Bulgarian films, including minority coproductions (5 %), festivals (5 %) and exhibition of films (5 %).

According to Jana Karaivanova, the Executive Director of the Bulgarian National Film Center, although it was decided that the 2020 budget for film will stay unchanged “after the amendment of the Film Industry Act, the government would assure additional money for the national film production and for the cash tax incentives”.

Letters from Antarctica by Stanislav DonchevTV

In 2019, especially in its second half, the major concern of the newly elected Director General Emil Koshlukov became the financial state of the Bulgarian National Television. On 12 September 2019, Koshlukov presented an alarming report at the country’s Parliament, stating that the financial deficit of the broadcaster for 2019 was at least 22 m EUR and that the prospects for 2020 show another deficit of 15 m EUR. He warned that if the amounts and the way of financing from the state remains the same in 2020, the national broadcaster could actually go bankrupt.

In order to deal with the situation, Koshlukov cut a number of iconic shows, which upset certain sections of the audience. With the argument that the number of employees working full time is 1,360, he also dismissed several emblematic journalists and bureaucrats. Another aim was to reduce to a minimum the amount of TV productions backed by the BNT but conceived and created by independent producers. The cut of the documentary portraits series of prominent Bulgarian intellectuals, entitled Smart Village, met with several critical reactions.

In April 2019 the Swedish MTG completed the sale of Nova Broadcasting Group (Nova) to the Bulgarian Advance Media Group, owned by the businessmen Kiril Domuschiev and Georgi Domuschiev. The cash value of the deal for the largest commercial media group comprising seven TV channels and several online businesses was announced as 185 m EUR.

CONTACTS:

BULGARIAN NATIONAL FILM CENTER
Executive Director: Jana Karaivanova
2 A, Dondukov Blvd., 7th floor
1000 Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone: + 359 2 9150 811
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.nfc.bg

UNION OF BULGARIAN FILMMAKERS
Chairman: Milko Lazarov
67, Dondukov Blvd.
1504 Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone: + 359 2 946 10 68
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.filmmakersbg.org

The Runaway Smartphone by Maxim GenchevMINISTRY OF CULTURE
Minister of Culture: Boil Banov
17, Stamboliiski Blvd.
1040 Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone: + 359 2 940 09 00 (switchboard)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.mc.government.bg

BULGARIAN NATIONAL FILM ARCHIVE
Director: Antonia Kovacheva
36, Gurko Str.
1000 Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone: + 359 2 987 02 96
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.bnf.bg

BULGARIAN NATIONAL TELEVISION
General Director: Emil Koshlukov
29, San Stefano Str.
1504 Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone: + 359 2 814 22 14
Phone.: + 359 2 944 49 99 (switchboard)
www.bnt.bg

Report by Pavlina Jeleva (2020)
Source: the Bulgarian National Film Center


MARKET ANALYSIS 2018

Aga by Milko LazarovThe year 2018 turned out to be extremely complex for the Bulgarian film industrу. Public support for film was blocked and the Bulgarian National Film Center was forbidden to allot financing. The restrictive measure was applied because the country had failed to adjust its film and audiovisual legislation to the European requirements within the official deadline of 12 December 2017.

It became imperative that the state institutions catch up on their delay by amending the Film Industry Act and putting it in line with the Communication on State Aid for Films and Other Audiovisual Works (2013/C 332/01), the Commission Regulation No 651/2014 of 17 June 2014 and the Commission Regulation No 1407/2013 of 18 December 2013.

In October 2018 Sofia hosted the 152nd meeting of the Eurimages Board of Management.

Milko Lazarov’s Ága closed the Official Competition (Out of Competition) of the 68th Berlinale and afterwards received 21 prestigious awards all over the world.

Two Bulgarian production companies got involved as minority coproducers in two prestigious Romanian films. Agitprop coproduced Adina Pintilie’s Golden Bear winner Touch Me Not, while Klas Film was a coproducer of the 53rd Karlovy Vary IFF’s Crystal Globe winner “I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians” by Radu Jude.

PRODUCTION

Seventeen feature films were produced in 2018, of which 12 were supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center and five were privately financed.

Three of the supported films were made with minority financial participation from other countries. The debut films were five in number and they were all supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center. 

The Bulgarian National Television backed the production of 8’19”, a six part omnibus film directed by Peter Valchanov, Lubomir Mladenov, Theodor Ushev, Nadejda Koseva, Vladimir Lyutskanov and Kristina Grozeva, and took part as a minor coproducer in Milko Lazarov’s Aga and18% Gray by Victor Chouchkov, photo: Chouchkov Brothers in Victor Bojinov’s Heights.

A total of 21 short films were made in 2018, of which seven were supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center.

In late autumn of 2018 Stefan Komandarev shot the bigger part of his urban nightly sequel Rounds aka Patrol Cars in Sofia. Each episode was filmed in a single hand-held shot, without editing cuts. Rounds is coproduced by Bulgaria’s Argo Film, Serbia’s Film Pro and French outfits Deuxième Ligne Films and EZ films. The film is supported by Eurimages and will be sold by Beta Cinema.

Victor Chouchkov completed shooting on his international drama 18% Gray, based on Zachary Karabashliev’s bestseller. Filming took place in the UK, Belgium and Germany. The film is a coproduction between Bulgaria’s Chouchkov Brothers, Germany’s Ostlicht Filmproduktion, Serbia’s Cinnamon Films, Belgium’s Raised by Wolves and Macedonia’s Sektor Film Skopje.

Acclaimed director Ivan Nichev shot Could You Kill aka Old Men, an alarming drama on sharp contemporary topics like poverty, unemployment, terrorism and illegal immigration. Cinemascop is producing with the support of the Bulgarian National Film Center.

Famous for his successful animated films, director Anri Koulev shot his period drama Once Upon a Time There Was a War, reminding military conflicts in the Balkans from 1885, with British star Ben Cross in the cast. The director is producing through Koulev Film Production in cooperation with the BNT. The Bulgarian NFC is supporting.    

Known for her internationally acclaimed Monkeys in Winter (2006, Bulgaria’s Proventus Film House and Germany’s Tatfilm), Milena Andonova completed the shooting on her sophomore film The Shepherd in 2018. The period drama is about St. Ivan Rilski, the patron saint of the Bulgarian people. Proventus Film House is producing in cooperation with the BNT and the Sofia based Nu Boyana Film Studios.

In 2018 Milko Lazarov’s Ága, coproduced by Bulgaria’s Red Carpet, Germany’s 42 film and France’s Arizona Productions, closed the Official Competition (Out of Competition) of the 68th Berlinale and went on to receive 21 prestigious awards all over the world, including best film Irina by Nadejda Kosevaat the 37th Fajr IFF, the 24th Sarajevo IFF and the 36th Golden Rose NFF.

The 36th Golden Rose NFF also gave its best debut prize to Nadejda Koseva’s Irina, produced by Art Fest. The film, and especially its lead actress Martina Apostolova, impressed international film festivals such as the 36th Warsaw FF, the 28th Cottbus FF, the 16th Tirana IFF (best film) and others. 

In 2018 RFF International involved Bulgaria as minority coproducer in Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s The Wild Pear Tree, next to France’s Memento Films, Germany’s Detailfilm, Macedonia’s Sisters And Brother Mitevski, Sweden’s Film i Väs, The Chimney Pot and Turkey’s Zeynofilm.

Tonislav Hristov’s Finnish/Danish/Bulgarian long documentary The Magic Life of V was selected to compete in the 2019 Sundance FF and the 69th Berlinale’s Generation section, while Petar Krumov’s short film Shame was nominated for the European Film Academy Awards

The 24th Golden Rhyton Festival for documentary and animated films was to take place in December 2018, but just before its start the event was canceled. According to the official statement of the Bulgarian NFC “the number of films that applied is insufficient and makes it impossible to reach the level of the recent years and to compose strong competition programmes“.

Despite the fact that a significant part of the documentary and animated film production from 2018 could not get enough visibility, several titles received positive recognition. Boris Missirkov’s and Georgi Bogdanov’s Palace For the People (Agitprop) won the Dok Buster Award The Wild Pear Tree by Nuri Bilge Ceylan2018 for the audience's favourite at Doc Leipzig 2018.

Stefan Ivanov’s A New Life, coproduced by Bulgaria’s Geopoly Film and Canada’s Les Ivanov productions, was well received in Canada, where many Bulgarians had found their second home country. Gospodin Nedelchev’s The Citizen Sis (Dido Film), on the Czech war correspondent Vladimir Sis, and Ralitza Dimitrova’s A Saga For Wasted Opportunities (B Plus Film), on national feelings 100 years after the signing the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine, were among the successful documentaries in 2018.

Ten foreign films were partly or entirely shot in Bulgaria in 2018, most of them serviced by Bulgaria’s leading film production studios -  Nu Boyana Film Studios, including The Outpost (Ghost House Pictures, Millennium Media) directed by Rod Lurie, and Rambo 5 (Millennium Media) directed by Adrian Grunberg. The first one recreates violent war scenes in Afghanistan, while the second involves Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone in the role of John Rambo for the fifth time.

Launched as the first part of a trilogy, the Indian fantasy Brahmāstra (Dharma Productions) directed by Ayan Mukerji largely used the Nu Boyana sets.

DISTRIBUTION

According to the NFC, a total of 289 films were theatrically released in 2018: 111 from the USA, 138  European films, 30 domestic and 10 films from other countries. Total admissions were 4,900,408, of which American films had 3,852,296 admissions, European films 532,802 admissions and domestic films had 388,006 admissions.

In 2018 the country’s leading distribution companies were again Forum Film Bulgaria and Alexandra Group, with around 75 percent of the market. In 2018 they had respectively five and four American titles in the top ten. The privately financed Bulgarian feature film Attraction (Spirit Production House), released by Lenta (the distribution branch of the private TV channel Nova TV), ranked 8th in the top ten.

bTV Studios (the distribution branch of the private TV channel bTV) showed good results with two other independent Bulgarian films: Dimitar Gochev’s Revolution X (Di – Dreams) and Niki Iliev’s All She Wrote (Euro Dialogue Productions).

A+Films successfully reached the audience with Yassen Grigorov’s Lilly The Little Fish (TFA – The Flying Agency) and kept its traditional interest in distributing European and domestic films.

EXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE

Attraction by Martin MakarievIn 2018, the number of officially registered screens was 219, with 178 equipped for 3D screenings.

In 2018 total admissions were 4,900,408 and total box office was 23.5 m EUR. Compared to 5,566,585 admissions and the total box office of 25.9 m EUR in 2017, there is a decrease by 11.97 percent and 9.11 percent, respectively.

American films had 3,852,296 admissions and 19,118,053 gross, while European titles had 532,802 admissions and 2,555,649 EUR gross.

With 30 Bulgarian titles (including re-releases and holdovers) the number of released films stood nearly the same as in 2017.

The admissions for domestic films were 388,006 and the box office was 1.6 m EUR gross in 2018. Compared to 2017, when the admissions were 512,521 and the box office was 2.1 m EUR gross, there is a decrease by 24.29 percent and by 23.80 percent, respectively.

Martin Makariev’s Attraction (Spirit Production House) became Bulgaria’s domestic box office topper with 112,934 admissions and 444,184 EUR gross. Dimitar Gochev’s Revolution X (Di – Dreams) ranked second with 54,575 admissions and 230,470 EUR gross, followed by Niki Iliev’s All She Wrote (Euro Dialogue Productions) with 41,836 admissions and 178,283 EUR gross. 

Stephan Komandarev’s Directions (produced by Argo Film and distributed by Purple Rain Film Distribution) ranked 4th with 37,623 admissions and 160,697 EUR gross, followed by Stanislav Todorov – Rogi’s low budget Bubblegum, produced by Dynamic Arts and distributed by Lenta, with 39,195 admissions and 156,835 EUR gross.

Two films focusing on younger audiences - Maria Veselinova’s debut feature Smart Christmas, produced by Juli Maruli Entertaiment and released by Lenta, and Yassen Grigorov’s Lilly The Little Fish (TFA – The Flying Agency), had 37,576 admissions and 153.638 EUR gross, and 35,095 admissions and 138,795 EUR gross respectively. The rest of the domestic films attracted less than 1,000 viewers each.

GRANTS AND NEW LEGISLATIONAll She Wrote by Niki Iliev

The procedure of bringing the existing film state aid schemes in line with the European Commission’s Communication on State Aid for Films and Other Audiovisual Works (2013/C 332/01) started on 6 March 2018, when Bulgaria’s Parliament adopted three important amendments to the Film Industry Act. The first one terminated the requirement for Bulgarian citizenship of the authors applying for state support. The second one fixed at 75% the lowest percentage of the allocated funds to be spent in Bulgaria. The third one submitted the definition of a “difficult film”, a film whose only version is in Bulgarian language and its budget is not higher than the average budget of the previous year.

The adjustment process was completed on 5 December 2018, when Bulgaria’s Parliament adopted the definitive amendments to the Film Industry Act. Only after this date did it become possible for the Bulgarian National Film Center to sign agreements with producers having already closed the budgets of their films. According to Jana Karaivanova, Executive Director of the Bulgarian National Film Center, by the very end of the year “the institution signed 90 agreements and unblocked over 2.2 m EUR”. 

It was specifically indicated that public financing for film will be implemented through three main schemes in the future. Two of them are for the support of production and distribution. The third one is for the support of festivals and meets the European Commission's requirement for the de minimis state aid.

In October 2018 Sofia hosted the 152nd meeting of the Eurimages Board of Management. A group of experts analysed the facts and figures characterising the gender equality situation in the country’s audiovisual sector.  

In 2018 Bulgaria also signed cooperation agreements with Romania, Macedonia and Kosovo.

The Bulgarian National Film Center and Nu Boyana signed a cooperation agreement on joint activities in the development and the stimulation of the production, distribution, display and promotion of Bulgarian films.

TV

Lilly The Little Fish by Yassen GrigorovIn June 2018 HBO acquired broadcast rights for 19 Bulgarian films (16 feature films and three documentaries) produced after 1989. The deal was part of HBO’s newly expanded distribution policy in the HBO Adria region, which gives subscribers from Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina access to the catalogue of the TV channel.

The Bulgarian film package was launched on 1 July 2018 with Victor Bojinov’s box office topper Heights, a the Bulgarian/Macedonian coproduction between Bulfilm and Dream Factory..

Two major TV series financed by the Bulgarian National Television were shot in 2018 and creative filmmakers with original artistic approach were invited to direct. Peter Valchanov and Kristina Grozeva directed The Blue Birds Island, based on Alexander Sekulov’s novel The Island, an adventure series filled with funny summer vacation stories (executive producer Red Carpet), while Pavel G. Vesnakov directed Father’s Day, a series inspired by real stories of divorcing parents who fought to remain an equally important part in their children’s lives (executive producer Agitprop).

CONTACTS:

BULGARIAN NATIONAL FILM CENTER
Executive Director: Jana Karaivanova
2 A, Dondukov Blvd., 7th floor
1000 Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone: + 359 2 9150 811
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.nfc.bg

UNION OF BULGARIAN FILMMAKERSSmart Christmas by Maria Veselinova
Chairman: Ivan Pavlov
67, Dondukov Blvd.
1504 Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone: + 359 2 946 10 68
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.filmmakersbg.org

MINISTRY OF CULTURE
Minister of Culture: Boil Banov
17, Stamboliiski Blvd.
1040 Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone: + 359 2 940 09 00 (switchboard)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.mc.government.bg

BULGARIAN NATIONAL FILM ARCHIVE
Director: Antonia Kovacheva
36, Gurko Str.
1000 Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone: + 359 2 987 02 96
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.bnf.bg

BULGARIAN NATIONAL TELEVISION
General Director: Konstantin Kamenarov
29, San Stefano Str.
1504 Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone: + 359 2 814 22 14
Phone.: + 359 2 944 49 99 (switchboard)
www.bnt.bg

Report by Pavlina Jeleva (2019)
Source: the Bulgarian National Film Centre


 MARKET ANALYSIS 2017

Directions by Stephan KomandarevThe year 2017 started with the appointment of a caretaker government by the Bulgarian president, General Rumen Radev, designated to act in a limited time. Centre-right GERB party won the parliamentary elections and in May 2017 Boyko Borisov became Prime Minister for the third time since 2009.

On 31 December 2017 European Commission’s monitoring of the aid scheme approved until 31 December 2017 expired. In order to bring the state film aid scheme in line with the European Commission Communication on State Aid for Films and Other Audiovisual Works (2013/C 332/01), Bulgaria’s Council of Ministers adopted a draft of an amended Film Industry Act. As the changes were not officially adopted before the start of 2018, state subsidies for film will be allotted only after the completion of all legal procedures.

In September 2017 Konstantin Kamenarov took over the position of Director General of the Bulgarian National Television from Vyara Ankova, who headed the public broadcaster since 2010.Three Quarters by Ilian Metev

Two months later actress/producer Jana Karaivanova was appointed as Executive Director of the Bulgarian National Film Center. Kamen Balkanski, who had been running the national institution during the last two years, became Deputy Director.

The year 2017 was also marked by the most spectacular return of the audience's interest in national cinema since 2010. One after another, several new Bulgarian feature films became box office hits throughout the year. The highest grossing title turned out to be Victor Bojinov’s historical drama Heights (coproduced by Bulgaria’s Bulfilm and Macedonia’s Dream Factory). Admissions to domestic films almost tripled in Bulgaria from 176,395 in 2016 to 512,521 in 2017, while domestic films cashed in over 2 m EUR in 2017 compared to 612,000 EUR in 2016.

Total admissions increased by 2.49 percent and total box office by 5.7 percent compared to 2016.

In 2017 Stefan Komandarev’s Directions, coproduced by Bulgaria’s Argo Film, Germany’s Aktis Film Production and Macedonia’s Sector Film, was applauded in Cannes in the Un Certain Regard official competition. Ilian Metev’s feature debut 3/4 (Three Quarters), coproduced by Bulgaria’s Chaconna Films and Germany’s Sutor Kolonko, grabbed the Golden Leopard in the Cineasti Del Presente international competition of the 70th Locarno Film Festival. Ralitza Petrova’s Godless (coproduced by Bulgaria’s Klas Film, Denmark’s’ Snow Globe and France’s Alcatraz Films and Film Factory) was nominated for the European Film Academy’s European Discovery 2017 – Prix FIPRESCI. Tonislav Hristov’s Finnish/German/Bulgarian long documentary The Good Postman won the European Film Academy’s Documentary Award – Prix Arte.

Voevoda by Zornitsa SophiaPRODUCTION

Twenty one feature films were produced in 2017, of which 16 were supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center. Five of the supported films were made with minority financial participation from other countries. There were six debut films (five supported and one privately financed) and three low budget films. The Bulgarian National Television coproduced three feature films. Bulgaria also took part as a minor coproducer in six other feature film coproductions and in two short film productions.

A total of 39 short films were made in 2017, of which six were supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center.

Some domestic feature films were shot in the country, but also abroad.

12A by Magdalena RalchevaIn the spring of 2017 Milko Lazarov completed the shooting of his sophomore film Aga aka Nanook in the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic within the Russian Federation. The aesthetically ambitious film is coproduced by Bulgaria’s Red Carpet, Germany’s 42Film and France’s Arizona Films. The Bulgarian National Television and ZDF/Arte are also involved in the production.

Victor Chouchkov began shooting his international project 18% Gray, based on Zachary Karabashliev’s bestseller. Shooting will continue in the UK, Belgium and Germany in 2018. The film is a coproduction between Bulgaria’s Chouchkov Brothers, Germany’s Ostlicht Filmproduktion and Serbia’s Cinnamon Films. The Bulgarian National Television is the national coproducer.

Kostadin Bonev, whose The Sinking of Sozopol (Borough Film) was awarded at numerous international film festivals, wrapped the shooting of his fourth feature film The Wolves Come Out, produced through his company Trivium Films. The cultural club of the town of Yambol became the main location for a story taking place in a small provincial theatre.

Irena Ivanova in Godless by Ralitza PetrovaKnown for her internationally acclaimed 2006 Monkeys in Winter (Proventus Film House Bulgaria and Tatfilm Germany), Milena Andonova partially shot her sophomore film The Shepherd in 2017. The period drama is about St. Ivan Rilski, the patron saint of the Bulgarian people. Proventus Film House is producing in cooperation with the BNT.

Nadejda Koseva, who became famous for her critically acclaimed short film Omlette, completed the two-step shooting of her debut feature The Deal. Focusing on surrogate motherhood, the low budget film is produced by Art Fest.

Martin Makariev’s Attraction, coproduced by Indifilm, Spirit Production and Nova Broadcasting Group, and Niki Iliev’s Knock out or All She Wrote, coproduced by Euro Dialog Productions and Nu Boyana, were the main privately financed films shot in 2017. The first one relies on the attractiveness and choreographic abilities of the actress Yana Marinova, the second on the American actor Gary Dourdan’s participation in a story partially shot in New York.

Youlia Kantcheva’s In the Mirror, Maria Averina’s From Cremona to Cremona, Tzvetan Dragnev’s Village People, Kostadin Bonev’s Uprooting, Adela Peeva’s Long Live Bulgaria, were among the most acclaimed documentaries in 2017. Animation also showed good health with films like Travelling Country by Vessela Dantcheva and Ivan Bogdanov, Restart by Gospodin Nedelchev, 20 Kicks by Dilyan Elenkov, No Way by Ivan Stoyanovich, and others.Alexander Aleksiev and Stoyan Doichev in Heights by Victor Bojinov

Bulgaria’s leading film production studios, Nu Boyana Film Studios serviced or got involved in the production of 18 films. Four of them were American productions and four were non-American films with partial American funding. The company also serviced four European and six Bulgarian coproductions. Neil Marshal’s Hellboy (Millennium Films) starring Milla Jovovich, David Harbour, Ian McShane and Sasha Lane; Ariel Vromen’s The Angel (Netflix) starring Marwan Kenzari and Toby Kebbell, and Eric Bress’s Ghosts of War (Miscellaneous Entertainment) starring Brenton Thwaites, became the new ‘business cards’ of the company.

DISTRIBUTION

According to the NFC, a total of 291 films (including re-releases and holdovers) were theatrically released in 2017: 126 from the US, 116 European films, 28 domestic and 21 films from other countries. Total admissions were 5,566, 585, of which American films had 4,585,414 admissions, European films 432,890 admissions and domestic films had 512,521 admissions.

Godless by Ralitza PetrovaForum Film Bulgaria and Alexandra Group remained the country’s leading distributors, like in the previous years. In 2017 they had seven and two American titles in the top ten, respectively.

Thanks to an exceptional advertising campaign lasting for more than a year, the distributor A+Films made a huge breakthrough with Victor Bojinov’s historical drama Heights (coproduced by Bulgaria’s Bulfilm and Macedonia’s Dream Factory). In only two months the title broke into the domestic top ten.

Also due to the long term marketing campaign Nova Helps Bulgarian Films, the distribution branch of the private TV channel Nova TV, Lenta, successfully released several Bulgarian titles and actively contributed to the nearly threefold increase of the national share.  

By the very end of 2017 the Bulgarian National Center gave a green light to the 23rd edition of the country’s main non-feature film national festival Golden Rhyton, cancelled in 2016. Over 90 documentaries and animated films displayed the crop of two years, of which 63 participated in the documentary and animated films’ competitions. The jury decided to encourage a bigger number of filmmakers by doubling the honors. As a result, more films were awarded, part of them ex-aequo. Among them were Tonislav Hristov’s The Good Postman (coproduced by Finland’s Making Movies OY, Germany’s Еlemag Pictures and Bulgaria’s Soul Food), awarded best documentary, Anri Koulev’s All So Much Hogwash, awarded best animated film, and Catherine Bernstein’s and Assen Vladimirov’s The Bookseller (coproduced by Bulgaria’s Pro Film and France’s Les Films de l’Aqueduc) and Nikolay Todorov’s 72 minutes animated political satire Made in Brachycera (produced by ET Club No Nikolay Todorov), both winning the ex-aequo Special Jury Award. 

Sex Academy, Men by Georgi KostovEXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE

In 2017, the number of officially registered screens was 216. Practically all screens in the country are digitalised.

Total admissions increased by 2.49 percent and total box office by 5.7 percent. In 2017 total admissions were 5,566,585 and total box office was 25.9 m EUR, compared to 5,431 028 admissions and 24.5 m EUR total gross in 2016.

With 28 Bulgarian films (including re-releases and holdovers) the number of films released significantly increased in comparison with the two previous years, when it was 16 and 17 respectively.

Admissions to domestic films almost tripled from 176,395 in 2016 to 512,521 in 2017, while the domestic films cashed in over 2 m EUR in 2017 compared to 612,000 EUR in 2016.

Broken Road by Katerina Goranova and Asen BlatechkyThe encouraging results were due mostly to Victor Bojinov’s Heights, which ranked first with 130,470 admissions and 546,160 EUR gross. Katerina Goranova’s and Asen Blatechky’s spectacular action debut Broken Road (Cinequanone) came second with 98,822 admissions and 406,331 EUR gross, followed by Zornitsa Sophia's Voevoda  (MQ Pictures Ltd ) with 87,604 admissions and 345,761 EUR gross. The last two films were distributed by Lenta.

Magdalena Ralcheva’s relatively small and privately financed teenage comedy 12A, produced by 12А Ltd and released by A+Films, surprisingly ranked fourth with 57,593 admissions and 226,736 EUR gross. Ilian Djevelekov’s Omnipresent (Miramar Film), which won the main award at the 35th Golden Rose NFF, came fifth with 45,782 admissions and 195,188 EUR gross.

After Omnipresent, Lenta also released Stanislav Todorov–Rogi’s debut feature Bubblegum (Dynamic Arts), which attracted 44,773 viewers and had 190,760 EUR gross.

Omnipresent by Ilian DjevelekovThree other privately financed films ranked seventh, eighth and ninth: Georgi Kostov’s Sex Academy – Men, produced and released by Media Production with 10,038 admissions and 38,754 EUR gross; Todor Anastasov’s Damascena, produced and released by Damascena Film Company, with 8,655 admissions and 31,101 EUR gross, and Andrey Andonov’s NoOne (Egregore Films), released by A+Films, with 4,391 admissions and 15,538 EUR gross. The 10th place was taken by Radoslav Spassov’s The Singing Shoes with 4,004 admissions and 13,812 EUR gross.

GRANTS AND NEW LEGISLATION

In 2017, the Bulgarian National Film Center provided the main funding for film production and the Bulgarian National Television contributed with pre-sales to the budget of some national films, already supported by the NFC.

The Singing Shoes by Radoslav SpassovIn 2017, the National Palace of Culture, which registered in 2015 at the NFC as a film production company, continued to support selected Bulgarian films by offering for free Hall 1 to Galin Stoev’s debut feature The Infinite Garden. The film opened the 31st edition of the Cinemania Film Panorama.

In accordance with the Film Industry Act adopted in 2003, Bulgaria’s main institution’s annual support is calculated based on the total average budget of seven feature films, 14 long documentaries and 160 minutes of animated films.

Similarly to the two previous years, in 2017 the NFC’s annual state support for film was 7,370,272 EUR, while the amount for production, distribution and exhibition was nearly 7 m EUR.

As no legal changes were made, the two-tier system was kept in 2017: a project can receive the approval of the NFC expert selection committee, but the NFC funding becomes usable only when the producer of the film has 100% of the budget in place.

Based on this rule, in 2017 the NFC approved financial support for 11 feature films, six with budgets over 300,000 EUR, three with budgets below 300,000 EUR, two debut features and seven short films. Eleven projects received development support.

The Infinite Garden by Galin Stoev, Credit: AgitpropNine films were approved in the documentary section, two of which were debuts. Seven projects were selected for development support. In the animated films section seven films of up to 24 minutes and two films of up to 60 minutes were approved for support.

The Film Industry Act also requires that up to 20% from the NFC’s annual budget is allotted to Bulgarian minority coproductions. In 2017 seven coproductions were approved for financial support: four feature films, two documentaries and one animated film.

Over 240,000 EUR were allotted for domestic distribution of Bulgarian and European films in 2017, and nearly 200,000 EUR were dedicated to the support of local film festivals and international promotion of Bulgarian cinema.

TV

Bulgarian National Television is still the only TV channel obliged by the law to support independent producers with 10% of its total budget. In 2017 the annual amount did not differ a lot from the usual one, around 3 m EUR.

No One by Andrey AndonovOn the other hand, the activity in the private audiovisual sector increased.

The private TV channel bTV backed the shooting of 170 episodes of Dear Heirs, taking place in an artificially built village. Some of them were directed by Todor Chapkanov and Niki Iliev. The broadcast of the series started on 15 January 2018.

In cooperation with Global Films, the other main private TV channel Nova TV backed the shooting of Policemen from the End of Town, the first Bulgarian police comedy based on the Spanish hit series Los hombres de Paco. Nova TV also backed the detective series The Devil's Throat (in cooperation with Dream Team Films). The first six episodes were entirely shot in the picturesque surroundings of the town of Smolyan.

 

CONTACTS:

BULGARIAN NATIONAL FILM CENTER
Executive Director: Jana Karaivanova
2 A, Dondukov Blvd., 7th floor
1000 Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone: + 359 2 9150 811
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.nfc.bg

UNION OF BULGARIAN FILMMAKERS
Chairman: Ivan Pavlov
67, Dondukov Blvd.
1504 Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone: + 359 2 946 10 68
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.filmmakersbg.org

Radina Kardjilova in 12A by Magdalena Ralcheva MINISTRY OF CULTURE
Minister of Culture: Boil Banov
17, Stamboliiski Blvd.
1040 Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone: + 359 2 940 09 00 (switchboard)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.mc.government.bg

BULGARIAN NATIONAL FILM ARCHIVE
Director: Antonia Kovacheva
36, Gurko Str.
1000 Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone: + 359 2 987 02 96
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.bnf.bg

BULGARIAN NATIONAL TELEVISION
General Director: Konstantin Kamenarov
29, San Stefano Str.
1504 Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone: + 359 2 814 22 14
Phone.: + 359 2 944 49 99 (switchboard)
www.bnt.bg

Report by Pavlina Jeleva (2018)
Source: the Bulgarian National Film Centre

 

Cyprus

Smuggling Hendrix by Marios PiperidesMARKET ANALYSIS 2019

The Cyprus Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth (MECSY) made great efforts in 2019 to expand the country’s activities in various aspects concerning cinema, including film production, film education and film festivals.

The first international film exclusively shot in Cyprus using the 35% film incentive scheme, which was launched in 2018, was Jiu Jitsu directed by Dimitris Logothetis and starring Nicolas Cage. The film successfully completed shooting on the island in August 2019.

PRODUCTION

Despite the low budget for film production in Cyprus, which is related with the years prior to the financial crisis, the Cultural Services of the Cyprus Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth supported a significant number of films: seven fiction low-budget feature films in development, nine fiction feature films in screenwriting and 13 short films in production.

Among the feature films completed in 2019 there is Siege on Liperti Street directed by Stavros Pamballis and produced by Cypriot Med Focus, which is part of Green Olive Films, and Argonauts from Greece.

Patchwork, a fiction film directed by Petros Charalambous and produced by Cypriot AMP Filmworks in coproduction with Boo productions from Greece and Transfax Film Productions from Israel also completed shooting in Cyprus in 2019.

The feature film SOS – Survive or Sacrifice directed by Roman Doronin and produced by Altadium Group started shooting on 10 June 2019. The project also benefits from the new film incentive scheme.

The short historical documentary Kinyras, directed by Stavros Papageorgiou and produced by Tetraktys Films, was also completed in 2019.

The short films completed in Cyprus in 2019 are Off Guard directed by Dainas Papadaki, Dragon Recipes directed by Maria Pavlou, Scratch directed by Paris Erotokritou, The Hunt directed by Soleh Zahraei and Kamil Saldun, and Peanuts from Aegina directed Pause by Tonia Mishialiby Savvas Stavrou.

During 2019 until the beginning of February 2020 the following short films were either in the shooting or postproduction phase: The Little Hunter directed by Dinos Grigoriou, Omorfi Mera directed by Christos Nikolaou, Betrayal directed by Katiana Zahariou, Zitate Na Sas Po directed by Paris Prokopiou, Afemaksi directed by Anna Photiadou, Taxi directed by Constantinos Nikiforou, A Summer Place directed by Alexandra Mattheou, DT directed by Pari El Sait and Faros directed by Costas Chrysanthou.  

The short animated films H Gynaika me tous Papaggalous directed by Michalis Kalopedis and Lihnafis directed by Giorgos Tsaggaris were also in production in 2019.

All the above mentioned short films where financially supported by the Cyprus Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth.

Three feature films have completed their development phase and are expected to start shooting in 2020. H Kilada Ton Rodon directed by Christoforos Roditis and produced by Cypriot Transvideo in coproduction with Cypriot Roll Out Services and Film Blades, Monokatoikia directed by Ioakim Milonas and produced by Cypriot Yannis Economides Films in coproduction with Greek Argonauts and IMAN directed by Kyriakos Tofarides and Korina Avramidou and produced by Cypriot Α. Β. Seahorse Film productions.

One of the most important achievements in 2018 was the Council of Minister’s approval of the Cyprus film incentive scheme, run by Invest Cyprus – CIPA (Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency) with an annual budget of 25 m EUR (1.5 m EUR initially). The efforts of the local film industry were directed at attracting foreign productions aiming to shoot in Cyprus.

The scheme provides Cypriot and foreign producers cash rebates and/or tax credits of up to 35% on qualifying production expenditures and it also provides tax allowances of 20% for investment in infrastructure and equipment on the Island.

“This development is crucial for the growth of the Cypriot audiovisual industry, but also for the Cypriot economy as a whole, since it is a significant investment with multiple benefits that will promote our country worldwide,” said a statement of the Initiative of Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency – Film in Cyprus (Invest Cyprus).

The first feature film shot under the new incentives programme was Jiu-Jitsu directed by Dimitris Logothetis and produced by Martin J. Barab and Dimitri Logothetis through the U.S Acme Rocket Fuel. The film starring Nicolas Cage and also Jeannine Kaspar, Jiu Jitsu by Dimitri LogothetisMarianna Rosset, Zach Rose, Christopher Greco and Tony Jaa, was picked up by Highland Film Group (HFG). The film is expected to reach cinemas in more than 40 countries in March 2020.

Jiu-Jitsu is a test-drive film through which Invest Cyprus intends to prove the scheme’s efficiency, aiming to place Cyprus on the international filming map and to consequently attract more big Hollywood and other foreign productions.

According to the pre-certificate issued by Invest Cyprus, 8.5 m EUR is the expected amount of cash-rebate for the producers of Jiu-Jitsu. This amount was approved by the Parliament at the end of 2019, after a heated discussion among its MPs, questioning the efficiency of the scheme and its benefits for the Island. The House of Parliament also approved the 25 m EUR scheme budged for 2020, while waiting for the closing and cross-checking of the audited accounts of Jiu-Jitsu by the Ministry of Finance.

A lot of Hollywood, Bollywood and European producers have expressed a vivid interest in filming in Cyprus. Hollywood producers visited Paphos in the summer of 2019 and declared their interest in the possibility of a film studio being built in this city.

Kayvan Mashayek, the International Chairman of the Producers Guild of America, Oscar-winning producer Mark Foligno, Nasos Vakalis, EMMY award winner for animation/special effects, and Demetris Anagnostou, CEO of Los Angeles-based Declare Productions, met with Papho’s Mayor Phedon Phedonos and expressed their interest in shooting in Cyprus, particularly in Paphos.

“International filmmakers, especially Hollywood producers had been eyeing Cyprus for filming as a result of the Cyprus Filming Scheme. However, the producers themselves said Cyprus has a lot more to offer”, said Phedon Phedonos, Mayor of Paphos, quoted by the Cypriot outlet Financial Mirror.

DISTRIBUTION

The Cypriot/Greek coproduction The Siege on Liberty Street by the Cypriot writer/director Stavros Pamballis won five awards at the 60th Thessaloniki IFF: the Audience Fischer Award, the FIPRESCI Prize, the Greek Film Critics Association Award and two ERT S.A. (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation) awards. The film was produced by Med Focus, which is a part of Green Olive Films based in Greece and Cyprus and Argonauts Productions (Greece).

Marios Piperides’s Smuggling Hendrix, produced by Cypriot AMP Filmworks, Germany’s Pallas Film and Greece’s Viewmaster Films, in coproduction with ZDF/Arte, was the unsurprising winner of the national competition, the Audience Award and the Special Student Jury award at the 17th Cyprus Film Days International Festival, which concluded on 20 April 2019. The film also opened the festival. Udo Kier chaired the jury and received the festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The closing ceremony was held at the Rialto Theatre, which also organised the festival along with the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth.

Smuggling Hendrix was also nominated in five award categories of the Hellenic Film Academy Awards and won the 1st award in the Screenplay category.

In January 2019 it was announced that Marios Piperides’ comedy became available on in-flight entertainment of Emirates. Since its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, the film was selected for more than 25 festivals and received several awards.

Tonia Mishiali’s Cypriot/Greek coproduction Pause / Pafsi, produced by Cypriot A.B. Seahorse Film Productions in coproduction with Greek Soul Productions and Authorwave, was among the five feature films and six documentaries announced by the European Film Academy as additional candidates for an EFA nomination. The film was also announced as recipient of the best film award by the Greek Film Critics Association.

Clementine, a feature film directed by Longinos Panagi and produced by Roll-Out Visions Services Ltd, Giorgos Pantazis and Monica Nikolaidou, in coproduction with Cyprus Cinema Advisory Committee (Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus), Siege on Liperti Street by Stavros Paballis, credit: thessaloniki iffFilmBlades Ltd and Longinos Panagi, was nominated for best film at the Firenze FF.

Soteris Christou, the director of Small White Envelopes (produced by Out of Focus Ltd) won the Best Cypriot Director award, while Antonis Katsaris received the Best Cypriot Actor prize for Small White Envelopes in the Cyprus Film Days-National Competition 2019.  

During the 8th International Short Film Festival Cyprus, Wax and Feathers directed by Marios Lizides, won the first award for the Best Cypriot Film as well as Best Director. The second award went to Vaggelio Soumeli, the director of Tropical Dreams.

In order to promote Cyprus as a filming destination, as well as for the promotion and screening of Cypriot films and coproductions, the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education, Culture in Cyprus held a booth at the International Short Film Festival in Drama (Greece), at the Thessaloniki, Cannes and Berlin film festivals and also at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

Smuggling Hendrix directed by Marios Piperides (distributed by The Match Factory), Pause directed by Tonia Mishiali and produced by A.B. Seahorse Film Productions in coproduction with Soul Productions (distributed by A.B Seahorse Ltd), and Sunrise in Kimmeria, directed by Simon Farmakas and produced by FotoCine Studios Ltd (distributed by FotoCine ltd), were released in Cypriot cinemas in 2019.

EXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE

The main exhibitor in Cyprus is K Cineplex, with two cinemas in Nicosia, one in Larnaca, one in Limassol and one in Paphos.

There is also the Rio Cinema in Limassol and Nicosia, and also the Pantheon cinema in Nicosia.

Other small cinemas in the countryside screen various foreign and Cypriot films.

In the main towns there are also various associations that function more like film clubs, generally showing European films, such as the Friends of Cinema Society in Nicosia, Limassol Cinema Society and Larnaca Cinema Society.

Admissions increased by 11.74% from 753,517 in 2018 to 842,038 in 2019, while the box office increased by 11.48% from 6,065,076 EUR in 2018 to 6,761,624 EUR in 2019, according to the Cyprus Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth.

The market share of national films increased by 1.1 % in 2019.

GRANTS AND NEW LEGISLATION

In April 2019, the Cyprus Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth allotted 4,484,000 EUR for the production of 10 low budget feature films and two documentaries in 2018-2019, on the recommendation of the Cinema Advisory Committee. The Ministry also allotted development grants totaling 309,080 EUR for the same projects, as well as production grants for short fiction, documentary and animated films, and also script development grants for high budget and low budget films. Three Cypriot minority coproductions received 330,000 EUR.

SOS - Survive or Sacrifice by Roman DoroninClick HERE to see the grants chart.

The South Eastern European Cinema Network (SEE) launched a contest for short fiction films in 2019. Exclusively national productions of SEE CINEMA member-states (Cyprus, Greece, Serbia, Albania, the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Romania and Bulgaria) applied. The amount of funding rose up to 8,000-10,000 EUR per project.

TV

There are more than ten studios located in Cyprus and specialised in TV production. Local TV channels usually produce original comic and drama series, and also local sketches.

The local TV channels are: Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC 1,2, HD and Sat), Sigma TVOmega TV, Ant1, Plus TV, Capital and Alpha TV.

The most important new domestic series broadcast in 2019 were the fiction drama Galateia, directed by Costas Costopoulos and Paris Prokopiou, and produced by Sigma TV, and the romantic comedy Esy…ston kosmo sou directed by Vasos Vasou and produced by S.P.A.F Arts & Film Productions for Ant1.

There are no local channels broadcasting only films.

Smuggling Hendrix by Marios PiperidesCONTACTS:

REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS – MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, CULTURE, SPORT AND YOUTH
Cultural Services
27 Ifigenias Street
2007 Strovolos – Nicosia, Cyprus
Phone: +357 22 809811/809812
Fax: +357 22 809 873
http://filmingincyprus.gov.cy/
http://www.moec.gov.cy/en/

Report by Antigoni Tasiou (2020)
Sources: the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth


Smuggling Hendrix by Marios Piperides

MARKET ANALYSIS 2018

The Ministry of Education and Culture in Cyprus made great efforts in 2018 to expand the country’s activities in various aspects concerning the cinema, including film production, film education and providing incentives for foreign productions.

The biggest achievement is the Council of Ministers’ approval of a Scheme for a whole range of new incentives to attract international productions to the island and to boost its own small film industry. Incentives for local and international productions include a cash rebate and tax credits of up to 35%, tax discounts on investments made on equipment and infrastructure and other incentives. The scheme is run by CIPA (Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency).

Cypriot films won important awards at various international festivals abroad: Smuggling Hendrix by Marios Piperidis won the 1st Best Foreign Film Award at the Tribeca International Film Festival 2018, Sunrise in Kimmeria by Simon Farmakas won the 1st Best Newcomer Award at the 17th Debut Film Festival in St. Petersburg and Pause by Tonia Mishiali screened in competition of the Karlovy Vary IFF 2018 and won the Emerging Greek Directors' competition at the 4th Greek Film Festival - Hellas Filmbox in Berlin.

In 2018 the country hosted a number of international and national feature and short film festivals, the largest being Cyprus Film Days and the International Shor Film Festival of Cyprus (ISFFC).

PRODUCTION

Four feature films started shooting in 2018 and all of them are supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture: Brothers directed by Gianna Americanou and produced by Filmblades LtdThe Man with Answers directed by Stelios Kammits and produced by Felony Films, and The Siege on Liberty Street directed by Stavros Pamballis and produced by Med Focus, which is a part of Green Olive Films.

Three feature films were completed in 2018: Pause directed by Tonia Mishiali and produced by A.B. Seahorse Film Productions in coproduction with Soul Productions and with the support of  the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus, the Greek Film Centre and the SEE Cinema Network; Clementine directed by Longinos Panayi and produced by Roll-Out Vision Services Ltd. in coproduction with Cypriot FilmBlades, with the support of  the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus; and Smuggling Hendrix directed by Marios Piperides and produced by AMP Filmworks, Germany’s Pallas Film and Greece’s Viewmaster Films in coproduction with ZDF/Arte and with the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus, MDM-Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, Greek Film Center and Eurimages.

In October 2018 the Cyprus News Agency (CAN) reported that the new Cypriot company Screentale has signed an agreement with Robert De Niro’s company Tribeca Enterprises NY. CNA quoted Tribeca saying, “We are in exploratory conversations with Screentale about live entertainment events they are considering creating, to take place in Cyprus.” Tribeca came to Cyprus in November 2018, for meetings there. 

DISTRIBUTION

In general, there are no worldwide distributors specialised in the distribution of domestic films and usually distribution of domestic films is done via the producer within Cyprus. In the case of coproductions, the release of the film in the respective coproducing countries is Sunrise in Kimmeria by Simon Farmakashandled by either the coproducer or a local distributor.  

Smuggling Hendrix, the debut feature by Marios Piperides, became one of the most acclaimed Cypriot films. It was selected for more than 25 international festivals and received several awards including Best International Narrative Feature at the 17th Tribeca Film Festival, New York, Bridging Borders - Honourable Mention Award at the 30th Palm Springs Int. Film Festival, Best First Feature Award at the 8th Québec City Film Festival, International Jury Special Mention at the 59th Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Best Audience Award in the International Competition at the 10th Les Arcs Film Festival, France and Best Audience Award at the 9th Carbonia Film Festival, Italy.

Smuggling Hendrix was picked up by German sales agent The Match Factory.

Pause, directed by Tonia Mishiali, was awarded the FIPRESCI Award for best film and the ERT Award at the 2018 Thessaloniki IFF. The film also received the Film Union of Greece Award at the 2018 Athens Panorama of European Cinema and was screened in the East of the West Competition of the 2018 Karlovy Vary IFF.

Clementine by Longinos Panayi premiered at the Cyprus Film Days International Film Festival, running from 19 to 28 April 2018. Later the film was screened at Pantheon Cinema in Nicosia.

Sunrise in Kimmeria by Simon Farmakas won the Best Cypriot Film award at the Cyprus Film Days International Festival in 2018. The film was produced by FotoCine Studios Ltd.

The 16th Cyprus Film Days International Festival, an annual showcase of international and domestic films, was held in Nicosia and Limassol from 19 to 28 April 2018. Ten films competed in the Glocal Images programme and three in the national competition programme. The domestic films were made with the participation of the Cyprus Cinema Advisory Committee and were funded by the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture through the Funding Programmes Regulation for the Support of Cinematographic Films.

The National Competition programme of the 8th International Short Film Festival of Cyprus showcased 19 films, which were automatically included in the international competition. The festival ran from 13 to 19 October 2018. More than 40 short films were submitted to the national competition programme, a number which was overwhelming compared to previous editions. The festival, which also had an international, student, documentary and music video competitions, is organised by the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Rialto Theatre.

The 13th Cyprus International Film Festival Golden Aphrodite ran in Paphos from 23 June to 1 July 2018 with 18 films competing for the Golden Aphrodite in the Feature Film Competition. The festival is organised by the CINE@ART HQ & Programming Office under the auspices of the Municipality of Paphos.

The third Paphos International Film Festival (PIFF), running 22-24 June 2018, screened 19 international short films and 11 student films.

EXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE

Pause by Tonia MishialiThe main exhibitor in Cyprus is K Cineplex, with two cinemas in Nicosia, one in Larnaca, one in Limassol and one in Paphos.

There is also the Rio Cinema in Limassol. The Pantheon in Nicosia has started to screen some mainstream as well as art house films.

Other small cinemas exist in the countryside and they screen various foreign and Cypriot films. In the main towns there are also various associations that function more like film clubs, generally showing European films, such as the Cinema Friends Society in Nicosia and Larnaca and the Pahos Cinema Society.

GRANTS AND NEW REGULATION

Cinema in Cyprus is governed by the Regulations for the Funding of Programmes to Support Cinematographic Films (2017-2020) under the Ministry of Education and Culture. According to the Regulations, low budget features may be funded by the ministry with up to 70% (in the category of difficult films) of their budget, to a total of 850,000 EUR.

The Ministry provides up to 595,000 EUR or a percentage of up to 70%, whichever is lower.

For high budget films there is no limitation on budget, but priority is given to films with a budget of up to 2,500,000 EUR. The ministry provides up to 850,000 EUR or up to 70%, depending on whichever is lower.

For script development, funding for a fiction film is up to 20,000 EUR, 7,000 EUR for a long documentary, up to 13,500 EUR of funding for a long animated film and up to 4,000 EUR for a short fiction film or short documentary.

The ministry’s funding participation in development is up to 35,000 EUR for a low budget feature, up to 45,000 EUR for a high budget feature and from 15,000 EUR to 35,000 EUR for documentaries and animated films of up to 60 or 90 min.

Continuing its efforts to encourage filmmakers in Cyprus, a country with a population of 850,000, the Ministry announced in 2016 that it would accept applications for a script development grant for low budget feature films and short films. The winners of the grants – amounting to 85,500 EUR for script development for low budget feature films and 239,000 EUR for short film production - which were put in place for the first time since 2013, were approved and contracts were signed in 2017. These include a total of 23 projects, of which 14 are short films.

Clementine by Longinos PanayiThe Cyprus Cinema Guild is extremely active in offering annual seminars and professional training to its members and to the public. Two institutions in Cyprus, the University of Nicosia and the Frederick Institute of Technology, offer programmes that have to do with education in the fields of media and audiovisual communication.

With the introduction of a 35% cash rebate programme in September 2018, Cyprus is poised to join its EU neighbours on the film production scene. Applications for the rebate programme are open to both film and TV projects with a minimum spend of 200,000 EUR and a cap of 1.5 m EUR. The rebate will apply to funds spent in Cyprus and is expected to increase domestic production, minority coproductions and production services on the island.

The incentives package was rolled out at the first Cyprus Film Summit, which was held in Nicosia from 9 to 12 October 2018. The event attracted over 100 producers, investors and other film professionals, who turned up to hear about what the island can offer as a shooting location.

Cypriot film director Tonia Mishiali told FNE: “We have great locations, great weather and film professionals who can be part of these productions. Foreign productions have been coming to Cyprus for years now but the tax incentives are another great reason for more productions to come.”

Mishiali, who is also the artistic director for Cyprus Film Days, added, "I work as a freelance producer/line producer as well and have worked on productions from Egypt, Lebanon and Dubai. As far as I know, productions from Belgium, France, Greece, Russia, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, the UK, Sweden and many more countries have come here."

Application forms and more information about the scheme can be found on Film in Cyprus.

Approximately 70 international producers among a total of 120 film professionals attended the Cyprus Film Summit (9-12 October 2018). Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency invited producers from Bollywood, Hollywood and Pinewood along with a contingent of international representatives.

TV

There are more than 10 studios located in Cyprus and specialised in TV production. Local TV channels usually produce original comic and drama series, and also local sketches.

Local TV channels are: Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC 1, 2, HD and Sat), Sigma TV, OMEGA (previously called TV One), Ant1, Plus TV, Capital and Alpha TV.


CONTACTS:

Pause by Tonia MishialiREPUBLIC OF CYPRUS – MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND CULTURE
Cultural Services
27 Ifigenias Street
2007 Strovolos – Nicosia, Cyprus
Phone: +357 22 809 811
Fax: +357 22 809 873
http://filmingincyprus.gov.cy/
http://www.moec.gov.cy/en/

 

Report by Iulia Blaga (2019)
Sources: the Ministry of Education and Culture

MARKET ANALYSIS 2017

Rosemarie by Adonis FloridesThe Ministry of Education and Culture in Cyprus made great efforts in 2017 to expand the country’s activities in various aspects concerning the cinema, including film production, film education and providing incentives for foreign productions. The launch of the new website Filming in Cyprus is part of this effort.

The Ministry of Education and Culture put in place the Regulation for Funding Programmes for the period 2017-2020. The programmes offer an amount of up to 50 percent of the budget for feature films and up to 60 percent for cross-border productions.

The programmes also offer funding of up to 70 percent for difficult feature films, which are to be filmed in one of the two official languages of the Republic of Cyprus or a combination of the two. For feature films with an extremely low budget (lower than 85,000 EUR), the programme offers a funding of 80 percent. Short films may receive up to 80 percent of the funding.

In 2017 the country hosted a number of international and national feature and short film festivals, the largest being Cyprus Film Days and the International Shor Film Festival of Cyprus (ISFFC). More information about festivals in Cyprus can be found on the Filming in Cyprus website.

Domestic films successfully participated in international film festivals all over the globe. Screenings of Cypriot and European cinematographic works are mainly achieved thanks to the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture. The island steadily produces documentaries and short films, and has an active TV production industry.

Happy Birthday directed by Christos GeorgiouPRODUCTION

Even though funding for film production has been reduced in relation to the years before the financial crisis in 2013, the Ministry of Education and Culture reviewed the regulations for its funding programme for the period 2016-2017 to help with the production of 23 projects with a low budget. The programme approved funding for nine feature fiction scripts and for 14 short films.

The feature films financially supported and coproduced by the Ministry of Education and Culture in Cyprus, which were completed in 2017 are:  Rosemarie, directed by Adonis Florides and produced by AMP Filmworks, Sunrise in Kimmeria, directed by Simon Farmakas and produced by FotoCine Studios Ltd, Happy Birthday, directed by Christos Georgiou and coproduced by Lychnari Productions Ltd, Viewmaster, Twenty Twenty Films and Manny Films, Clementine, directed by Longios Panayi and produced by Roll Out Vision Services in coproduction with Film Blades Filming Solutions, and the documentary Price of a Daughter, directed by Yelis Shukri and produced by Tetraktys Film Productions.

Sunrise in Kimmeria by Simon FarmakasSmuggling Hendrix, directed by Marios Piperides and produced by AMP Filmworks, Sotiris Christou’s White Small Envelopes, produced by Out of Focus, and Tonia Mishiali’s Pause, produced by A.B. Seahorse, are in final stages of postproduction.

Four films are expected to start shooting in 2018: Brothers, directed by Gianna Americanou and produced by Filmblades Ltd, Life Beneath, directed by Alexia Reuters and produced by Filmblades Ltd, The Man with Answers, directed by Stelios Kammits and produced by Felony Films, and The Siege on Liberty Street, directed by Stavros Pamballis and produced by Med Focus (which is a part of Green Olive Films).

Some of the above-mentioned feature films have European coproducers (Greece, Germany, France) and have been supported by Eurimages and the SEE Cinema Network.

DISTRIBUTION

Two films stood out in the international festival circuit in 2017 – Rosemarie by Adonis Florides and Happy Birthday by Christos Georgiou. Both of them were shown at the 58th Thessaloniki IFF. Rosemarie, which was supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture in Cyprus, received there the prestigious Greek Film Critics Association Award and also won the best film award in the main international competition at the 15th International Cyprus Film Days Festival

The independent short film Antidote, directed by Michael Hapeshis, continued to be screened at festivals in Philadelphia, Helsinki, Stockholm and Leuven in 2017. It was also screened at the Sundance Film Festival.

Boy on the Bridge (which received support from the Ministry of Education and Culture in Cyprus), directed by Petros Charalambous and produced by FilmWorks, continued to be successful in 2017. The film won the Audience Award at the 15th International Cyprus Film Days Festival, and it participated in the 7th Julien Dubuque IFF in the U.S., as well as in the 8th Cinema of the Future Society IFF in Albania, where it won best feature film for children and teenagers. It also won best film at the second Buzz Cee International Film Festival in Buzău, Romania, and best director award at the 15th Russian Amur Autumn Film Festival. The main actor in the film, Konstantinos Farmakas, was awarded best actor at the 11th Greek Film Festival in Australia.

Boy on the Bridge by Petros CharalambousThe documentary Beloved Day, directed by Constantinos Patsalides and produced by Walking Around the World in coproduction with the Ministry of Education and Culture, Filmblades, Atlantis and Roll Out Vision Services, premiered at the Umeo International Film Festival in Sweden. The film has secured an agreement for its global distribution.

In general, there are no worldwide distributors specialised in the distribution of domestic films, and usually distribution of domestic films is done via the producer within Cyprus. In the case of coproductions, the release of the film in the respective coproducing countries is handled by either the coproducer or a local distributor.  

EXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE

The main exhibitor in Cyprus is K Cineplex, with two cinemas in Nicosia, one in Larnaca, one is Limassol and one in Paphos.

There is also the Rio cinema in Limassol. The Pantheon in Nicosia has started to screen some mainstream as well as art house films

Other small cinemas in the country are more like film clubs, such as Cinestudio in Nicosia and the Larnaca Cinema Society in Larnaca. These film clubs do not generally show mainstream films.  

GRANTS AND NEW REGULATION

Cinema in Cyprus is governed by the Regulations for the Funding of Programmes to Support Cinematographic Films (2017-2020) under the Ministry of Education and Culture.

According to the Regulations, low budget features may be funded by the ministry with up to 70% (in the category of difficult films) of their budget, to a total of 850,000 EUR.

The Ministry provides up to 595,000 EUR or a percentage of up to 70%, whichever is lower.Price of a Daughter by Yelis Shukri

For high budget films there is no limitation on budget, but priority is given to films with a budget of up to 2,500,000 EUR. The ministry provides up to 850,000 EUR or up to 70 per cent, depending on whichever is lower.

For script development, funding for a fiction film is up to 20,000 EUR, 7,000 EUR for a long documentary, up to 13,500 EUR of funding for a long animated film and up to 4,000 EUR for a short fiction film or short documentary.

The ministry’s funding participation in development is up to 35,000 EUR for a low budget feature, up to 45,000 EUR for a high budget feature and from 15,000 EUR to 35,000 EUR for documentaries and animated films of up to 60 or 90 min.

Continuing its efforts to encourage filmmakers in Cyprus, a country with a population of 850,000, the Ministry announced in 2016 that it would accept applications for a script development grant for low budget feature films and short films. The winners of the grants – amounting to 85,500 EUR for script development for low budget feature films and 239,000 EUR for short film production - which were put in place for the first time since 2013, were approved and contracts were signed in 2017. These include a total of 23 projects, of which 14 are short films.

The ministry provided the means for future or current filmmakers to learn from some of the top professionals in the industry during the Cyprus Film Days and the International Short Film Festival of Cyprus (ISFFC). In 2017 the Cyprus Film Days Festival included a masterclass with cinematographer Phil Meheux BSC and two workshops with director Richard Kwietniowski.

The Cyprus Cinema Guild is also extremely active in offering annual seminars and professional training to its members and to the public. Two institutions in Cyprus, the University of Nicosia and the Frederick Institute of Technology, offer programmes that have to do with education in the fields of the media and audiovisual communication.

TV

There are more than ten studios located in Cyprus and specialised in TV production. Local TV channels usually produce original comic and drama series, and also local sketches.

Smuggling Hendrix by Marios PiperidesLocal TV channels are: Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC 1, 2, HD and Sat), Sigma TVTV ONE (previously called Mega One), Ant1, Plus TV, Capital and Alpha TV.

In 2017 the important new domestic series were the comedy La Pasta Pomilori, which was directed by Theodosis Ekonomidis and Antonis Sotiropoulos and broadcast on Ant1, and the period drama Halkina Hronia, directed by Corina Avramidou and Christos Nikolaou and aired on CyBC 1.

There are no local channels broadcasting only films.


CONTACTS:

REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS – MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND CULTURE
Pause by Tonia MishialiCultural Services
27 Ifigenias Street
2007 Strovolos – Nicosia, Cyprus
Phone: +357 22 809 811
Fax: +357 22 809 873
http://filmingincyprus.gov.cy/
http://www.moec.gov.cy/en/

Report by Maria Gregoriou (2018)
Sources: the Ministry of Education and Culture