TREBON: Animation is still the often-neglected stepchild of film funding, but some bright spots –including the development of animated coproductions – are showing signs of promise. The CEE Animation Forum, which ran in cooperation with the recent Anifilm festival, presented a comprehensive overview of the situation in countries across the region.
Matija Sturm, who heads up CEE Animation, said, “Last year was again fruitful for Slovenian animated film, as some projects were supported by the Slovenian Film Fund.” He added, “A few new projects were supported, including a project pitching at the CEE Animation Forum, Mouse House,” a short film coproduced with Croatia.
In addition to the film fund, Slovenian TV also has a call for Slovenian majority animated films.
Jozko Rutar, who serves on the CEE Animation board, said “Slovenian TV supported 5 or 10 projects in recent years” and has 750,000 EUR per year to spend, which is more than the funding from the Slovenian Film Center for animation films.
Sturm added, “We also have a regional fund RE-ACT supporting films from Slovenia, Italy, Croatia and Serbia for coproductions, that is also giving funding for animation films.”
Robert Jaszczurowski heads up the Association of Polish Animation Producers (SPPA) which represents 22 animation houses. Poland is in a particularly good spot now, with 5 m EUR in funding for animation from the Polish Film Institute, and the introduction of a cash rebate system in February, with 10% of the rebate dedicated to animation film. In addition, Polish TV is moving into the area of international production, making Poland a stronger partner in the field of animation.
Slovakia has a proud reputation for animation and the Slovak Audiovisual Fund has a special call for animated film, TV series and minority coproductions. Animation projects can also ask for funding for development. The fund supported 19 projects with 877,000 EUR, with the highest grant at 350,000 EUR. A project for either TV or theatrical release can receive up to 30,000 EUR for development and up to 2 m EUR for production. Minority coproductions can receive support of up to 300,000 EUR.
Slovakia has also introduced cash rebates of 20%, and Slovak TV (www.rtvs.sk) also funds animation production.
Estonia, another small country with a strong reputation for animation, will join the CEE Animation Workshop 2019/2020, with the second segment of the CEE Animation Workshop taking place in Estonia. Estonia gave a country presentation for the first time in the context of the CEE Animation Forum, with Kristel Toldsepp of A Film Estonia and Peep Pedmanson, who began in January as the first animation film commissioner at the Estonian Film Commission.
Kristel said, “Coproduction in animation is something quite new in Estonia.“ He added, “For many years we didn’t release any features, but last year we released two, and one this year and another one next year.” He explained, “Funding for coproductions is quite limited… but the cash rebate system is the easiest source. For animation, the cash rebate can be applied to any animation film over three minutes. The only requirement is the overall minimum budget.” Animation films with a budget of 250,000 EUR or more, can get a 30% rebate if they have two or more creative employees. Kristel said, “Only A Film has been using the cash rebates in Estonia so far.”
The Estonian Film Institute has 880,000 EUR available for animation films. The Estonian Cultural Endowment has nearly 1.2 m EUR available for animation.