BRATISLAVA: Slovak films set box office records in domestic cinemas in 2017. The attendance of nearly 1.5 m admissions was the strongest in the history of independent Slovakia, since 1993.
One of the most successful films in 2017 was the crime-thriller The Line / Čiara, directed by Peter Bebjak, which together with the romantic comedy All or Nothing / Všetko alebo nič directed by Marta Ferencová, topped the 300,000 admission mark.
The political thriller Kidnapping / Únos, directed by Mariana Čengel Solčanská, had almost 300,000 admissions.
Ten projects registered for the 20% cash rebate at the Slovak Audiovisual Fund in 2017, including the fourth season of the Netflix 13-episode series Outlander. The eased requierements implemented in 2017 attracted more international projects than in 2016, when four projects applied for incentives.
The Slovak Audovisual Fund together with the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic decided to make major cuts to the requirements for minimum expenditure for international productions applying to the incentive scheme and launched a National Film Agency in August 2017 to work with incoming foreign productions.
A total of 27 feature length films were shot in Slovakia in 2017: 21 feature films (including 14 minority coproductions) and six documentaries (including two minority coproductions). No long animated film was produced in 2017.
The 100% Slovak productions include the political thriller and box office hit Kidnapping / Únos, directed by Mariana Čengel Solčanská and produced by JMB Film & TV Production in coproduction with RTVS and Studio 727; the comedy Cuky Luky Film, directed by Karel Janák and produced by noemo; DOGG, directed by Jonáš Karásek, Enrik Bistika, Slavomír Zrebný and Vilo Csino, and produced by Azyl Production and HomeMedia Production; the documentary Ťažká duša / Heavy Heart, directed by Marek Šulík and produced by Žudro, the Slovak Academy of Sciences and RTVS; the family musical comedy Spievankovo a kráľovná Harmónia / Spievankovo and Queen Harmony, directed by Diana Novotná and produced by Tonada and RTVS, and the documentary Vábenie výšok / Addicted to Altitude, directed by Pavol Barabáš and produced by K2 Studio in coproduction with RTVS.
After a long break since 2011, the acclaimed Slovak director Martin Šulík shot his new feature The Interpreter / Tlmočník, a Slovak/Czech/Austrian coproduction between Titanic production, In Film, coop99, RTVS and the Czech Television. The film will have its world premiere at the Berlinale and will be released in March 2018.
Other important coproductions shot in 2017 are: Cellar / Pivnica, directed by Igor Voloshin and produced by Slovakia’s Furia Film in coproduction with the Czech company 8heads production, Russia’s Gate LCC and RTVS; Power / Moc, directed by Mátyás Prikler and produced by MPhilms in coproduction with Czech Negativ and Hungary's Proton Cinema and Belgian Les Films du Carré; the Slovak/Czech coproduction Censor / Cenzorka, directed by Peter Kerekes and produced by Punkchart films, Hypermarket Film and Peter Kerekes, and also Juraj Jakubisko’s fairytale Seven Legged Lucas / Sedmonohý Lukáš, produced by the Czech and Slovak branches of J&J Jakubisko Film Europe in coproduction with TV JOJ.
Katarína Kerekesová, the director of the children animated series Mimi and Lisa / Mimi a Líza (Fool Moon), introduced a new animated series in 2017. The Websters / Websterovci is the first Slovak animated series in 3D and is a coproduction between Fool Moon, RTVS and Polish Studio Miniatur Filmowych. This Slovak/Polish coproduction was broadcast on RTVS during the 2017 Christmas holidays.
In 2016 four projects applied for cash rebates and two of them stepped into production in 2017. The TV mini-series Mária Terézia / Maria Theresia, a Slovak/Czech/Austrian/Hungarian coproduction directed by Robert Dornhelm and produced by Beta Film (Germany), MR Film (Austria) and Maya Production (CZ) in coproduction with the Slovak RTVS, the Czech TV, the Austrian ORF and the Hungarian MTVA, was released during the Christmas holidays.
The 13-part TV miniseries Inšpektor Max / Inspector Max, directed by Jaroslav Brabec and produced by Slovakia’s Trigon Production in coproduction with the Slovak RTVS and the Czech Television, was shot and finished in 2017, with the release set for January 2018.
According to Martin Šmatlák, the Director of AVF, three times more projects applied for the 20% cash rebate in 2017 compared to 2016. They will be shot throughout 2018. The fourth season of the 13-episode series Outlander, directed by the British Julian Holmes and produced by Netflix, will be shot in Slovakia for 30 days, as well as the US/Czech/Slovak coproduction Alleraya – The Falcon Princess, directed by Slovak Palo Janík Jr. (with Filmpark production applying for rebates), InOut Studio’s 12-episode series Mistresses / Zamilované directed by Jakub Kroner, The Magic Quill / Čertovské pero, directed by Marek Najbrt and produced by Czech Punk Film in coproduction with Trigon Production, RTVS, the Czech Television, Magic Lab, Michal Bauer and Barrandov Studios, and the three-episode miniseries directed by Peter Krištúfek and produced by PubRes in coproduction with Czech Evolution Films and T.H.A.
Also benefitting from the rebates are Villa Lucia, directed by Michal Kollár and produced by KFS Production, RTVS and Czech Fog‘n’Desire Films; Dubček, directed by Laco Halama and produced by Filmpark production in coproduction with RTVS and the Czech Television; The General / Generál, a film and a three-episode miniseries directed by Mariana Čengel Solčanská and produced by JMB Film & TV Productions in coproduction with Prague Film Production, and Šťastné zviera, directed by Jozef Slovák, produced by Tatra Star and starring Ivan Trojan.
Slovakia’s 20% incentive scheme established in 2015 eased its requirements in August 2017. The minimum expenditure level was cut from 2 m EUR to 150,000 EUR for a single feature, documentary or animated film (with a minimum length of 70 minutes), and to 300,000 EUR for a project involving at least two such films or a television series (maximum 13 episodes of minimum 40 minutes).
A total of 31 domestic long films had their premiere in 2017, including 14 minority coproductions as well as nine long documentaries (including three minority coproductions), two middle-length documentaries, one long animated film produced as Slovak minority coproduction and two animated short films.
The leader in the distribution of Slovak films is the Association of Slovak Film Clubs (ASFK), which released three domestic majority coproductions: Out, directed by Gyorgy Kristóf and produced by sentimentalfilm in coproduction with Mirage Film Studio, Film Angels Studio, endorfilm, KMH Film, Punkchart Films, RTVS, FAMU, Film Angels Prods; Diera v hlave / A Hole in the Head, directed by Robert Kirchhoff and produced by HITCHHIKER Cinema in coproduction with the Czech Television, RTVS, atelier.doc and Addicted to Altitude directed by Pavol Barabáš, as well as four minority coproductions: Ice Mother / Baba z Ledu, directed by Bohdan Sláma and produced by Negativ, in coproduction with the French Why Not Productions, Slovak ARTILERIA , the Czech television , RTVS, Barrandov Studios, i/o post; Spoor / Pokot, directed by Agnieszka Holland and Kasia Adamik, and produced by TOR Film Production in coproduction with Heimatfilm GmbH, Chimney Group, Nutprodukce, nutprodukcia; Little Crusader / Křižáček, directed by Václav Kadrnka and produced by Sirius Films in coproduction with ARTILERIA , the Czech Television, innogy, Barrandov Studio, i/o post, and Wolf from the Royal Vineyard Street / Vlk z Kráľovských Vinohrad, directed by Jan Němec and produced by MasterFilm in coproduction with the Czech Television, Media Film, UPP and French Bocalupo Films.
Continental Film, a big distributor mostly of Hollywood productions, is also an important player in distributing domestic titles. In 2017 it released All or Nothing / Všetko alebo nič, directed by Marta Ferencová and produced by NUNEZ NFE s.r.o. in coproduction with Evita Film Production s.r.o. and MOJO Film s.r.o., Kidnapping directed by Mariana Čengel Solčanská, DOGG directed by Jonáš Karásek, Enrik Bistika, Slavomír Zrebný and Vilo Csino and The Third Wish / Tri želania, directed by Vít Karas and produced by the Czech Television in coproduction with Slovak TV Markíza and Promea Communication.
Forum Film released Oddsockeaters / Lichožrúti, directed by Galina Miklinova and produced by Total HelpArt - T.H.A. in coproduction with the Czech Television, PubRes, Alkay Animation Prague, Filmosaurus Rex; Filthy / Špina, directed by Tereza Nvotová and produced by Moloko Film and BFILM) , Barefoot / Po strništi bos, directed by Jan Svěrák and produced by Biograf Jan Svěrák in coproduction with the Czech Television, innogy, Phoenix Film, Novinski, RTVS; Garden Store: The Family Friend / Záhradníctvo: Rodinný priateľ, directed by Jan Hřebejk and produced by Fog'n'Desire Films in coproduction with the Czech Television, MD4, Sokol Kollár, KFS Production, RTVS, Barrandov Studios, innogy, HN film, Magic Lab, ROZVID, EUROPE Visual Consulting, Chimney Group; Garden Store: Deserter / Záhradníctvo: Dezertér, directed by by Jan Hřebejk and produced by Fog'n'Desire Films in coproduction with the Czech Television, MD4, Sokol Kollar, KFS Production, and Garden Store: Suitor / Záhradníctvo: Nápadník, directed by Jan Hřebejk and produced by Fog'n'Desire Films in coproduction with the Czech Television, MD4, Sokol Kollar, KFS Production and CinemArt.
Itafilm released two titles in 2017: Cuky Luky Film by Karel Janák and Spievankovo and Queen Harmony directed by Diana Novotná.
PubRes released two documentaries: The Lust for Power / Mečiar, directed by Tereza Nvotová and produced by PubRes in coproduction with HBO Europe and Negativ, and Červená, directed by Olga Sommerová and produced by Czech Evolution Films in coproduction with MuMo, PubRes and the Czech Television.
The young platform Filmtopia, which was launched in 2012, began distributing domestic films also on the web portal DAFilms. In 2017 Filmtopia distributed the documentaries Heavy Heart directed by Marek Šulík, Hotel Sunrise / Hotel Úsvit, directed by Mária Rumanová and produced by Punkchart Films in coproduction with RTVS, FTF VŠMU and kaleidoscope, and Varga, directed by Soňa Maletzová and produced by Punkchart Films, RTVS, the Czech Television and FAMU.
Film Europe Media Company (http://www.filmeurope.sk/) released Nina, directed by Juraj Lehotský and produced by Punkchart Films in coproduction with Lehotsky Film and endorfilm.
CinemArt released Little Harbour / Piata loď, directed by Iveta Grófová and produced by Hulapa film, Ltd. in coproduction with endorfilm, Katapult Film, Silverart and RTVS, Garfield Film released A Prominent Patient / Masaryk by Julius Ševčík and produced by IN Film Praha in coproduction with the Czech Television, ZDF/ARTE, RTVS, and Bontonfilm released The White World According to Daliborek / Svet podľa Daliborka, directed by Vít Klusák and produced by Hypermarket Film in coproduction with Peter Kerekes, the Czech Television and BRITDOC Foundation.
There is little Slovak participation in VOD platforms, although a lot of documentaries can be found on DAFilms. The main platform for Slovak films is Kinocola, while ASFK VOD, a VOD platform launched by the Association of Slovak Distributors in 2015, is handling international and domestic titles. Private Slovak television Markíza also releases its domestic series on Voyo.
According to Martin Šmatlák, 2017 was unique also in terms of participation in A-listed festivals. Slovak majority productions winning prizes in 2017 are: Little Harbour by Iveta Grófová - Generation KPlus prize at the Berlinale, The Line / Čiara, directed by Peter Bebjak and produced by Wandal Production in coproduction with Ukraine‘s Garnet International Media Group, RTVS, HomeMedia Production and Martin Kohút - best director at the Karlovy Vary IFF, Nina by Juraj Lehotský - Bronze Pyramid at the Cairo IFF.
Also, the Slovak/Czech/Hungarian coproduction Out by Gyorgy Kristóf had its premiere in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard, Filthy by Tereza Nvotová had its world premiere at Rotterdam’s Bright Future and the German/Slovak coproduction Freedom / Sloboda directed by Jan Speckenbach (produced by German ONE TWO FILMS, ZAK Film Production and Slovakia‘s BFILM) had its world premiere at the Locarno IFF.
EXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE
By the end of 2017, Slovakia had 149 cinemas with 246 screens, of which 189 screens were already digitalised. They also include five alternative spaces for film screenings and 21 open-air theatres. Compared to 2016, the number of cinemas increased from 138 to 149 and the number of digitalised screens increased from 185 to 189. Slovakia also has one IMAX cinema, which was opened in 2015.
Several small art house cinemas operate in Bratislava. Kino Lumière, operated by the Slovak Film Institute, opened on the site of the former Charlie’s Centrum in September 2011. Mladosť, Nostalgia and Film Europe Cinema also add to the diversity of Bratislava's art house landscape, together with Kino Klap (located in the Academy of Performing Arts), Foajé and Kino Inak (a screening room hosted by the alternative cultural centre A4).
A new programme of support for Slovak films in domestic cinemas was launched in 2016. Every cinema has the right to apply and receive one euro per each ticket sold for a domestic title. In 2016 the AVF alloted 217,488 EUR for 2015 and in 2017 it allotted 188,048 EUR for 2016. Due to the rapid increase of admissions in 2017, AVF had to change the regulations for 2018.
Total admissions in 2017 were 6,692,871 representing a 18.10 percent increase compared to 2016. Total gross was 34,513,049 EUR, which is 18.91 percent higher than in 2016.
Total admissions to Slovak films and coproduction titles released in 2017 were 1,430,504 and total gross was 7,201,048 EUR. Admissions to Slovak productions represents 21.37% of all released titles. In 2016 domestic titles had only 6.6% attendance from among all the released titles.
According to the Union of Film Distributors of the Slovak Republic (UFD ), the romantic comedy All or Nothing by Marta Ferencová was the most popular film in 2017 with 340,535 admissions, followed by The Line by Peter Bebjak with 329,349 admissions. In 2016 the most popular domestic title was the Czech/Slovak/Polish coproduction The Red Captain / Červený kapitán, directed by Michal Kollár and produced by Fog´n Desire Films, in coproduction with Sokol Kollár, MD4, RTVS, Czech Television, Barrandov Studio, S Pro Alfa, Krakow Festival Office, and Kino 64 U hradeb, with 87,224 admissions.
All or Nothing is followed in the admissions top ten for domestic films by Kidnapping directed by Mariana Čengel Solčanská with 278,763 admissions, Cuky Luky Film directed by Karel Janák with 116,139 admissions, Spievankovo and Queen Harmony directed by Diana Novotná with 86,555 admissions, A Prominent Patient directed by Július Ševčík with 55,183 admissions, Filthy directed by Tereza Nvotová with 50,564 admissions, Barefoot directed by Jan Svěrák with 41,203 admissions, the animated film Oddsockeaters directed by Galina Miklínová with 20,214 admissions and the documentary The Lust for Power directed by Tereza Nvotová with 15,621 admissions.
GRANTS AND NEW LEGISLATION
The Slovak Audiovisual Fund has been the main tool of public support for cinematography in the Slovak Republic since 2010. Its budget was 6.9 m EUR in 2010, but fell to 5.5 m EUR in 2013 and increased again to 6.6 m EUR in 2014. The fund had a budget of 7 m EUR in 2017.
The budget of AVF is provided in part by TV advertising revenues. In 2017, AVF registered ten projects for audiovisual industry support.
Slovakia’s 20% incentive scheme established in 2015 eased its requirements starting August 2017. The minimum expenditure level was cut from 2 m EUR to 150,000 EUR for a single feature, documentary or animated film (with a minimum length of 70 minutes) and to 300,000 EUR for a project involving at least two such films or a television series (maximum 13 episodes of minimum 40 minutes).
The Slovak Audovisual Fund together with the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic launched a National Film Agency in August 2017, aiming to work with incoming foreign productions.
In January 2017 the development grants increased from 3,000 EUR to a maximum of 5,000 EUR. Maximum grant for festivals increased from 200,000 EUR to 300,000 EUR per festival. Films and TV projects are now judged separately.
With a new legislation, animated films are included in the production grants contest for Slovak minority coproductions, and TV animated projects are preferred. Slovak majority productions can apply for development and production support, which have a cap of 50,000 EUR for development and 1.2 m EUR for production. The significant new element of allotting funding to minority TV productions with minority Slovak coproduction was successfully lobbied for by the Slovak Association of Animated Film Producers (APAF).
Another novelty is that one project cannot receive more than three grants from the Slovak Audiovisual Fund. However, minority coproductions and student films can receive only one grant from the AVF.
A new funding scheme of the Bratislava Self-Governing Region was launched in 2015 for supporting the culture in the region. In 2017 the scheme supported the distribution of Nina by Juraj Lehotský, The Line by Peter Bebjak, Little Harbour by Iveta Grófová and Filthy by Tereza Nvotová.
The primary sources of information on film are the Slovak Film Institute, which will celebrate its 55th anniversary in 2018, and the National Cinematographic Centre, through the specialised office of the Audiovisual Information Centre.
Slovakia is unique in the CEE as home of the only channel devoted exclusively to European films. Film Europe Channel was developed by Film Europe Media Company, which launched two more channels, Československo HD and Festival Channel HD in November 2016, in addition to Film Europe Channel HD.
The channel operates in Slovakia along with the public broadcaster RTVS and commercial broadcasters MAC TV - Slovenská produkčná since January 2017 (with channels: TV JOJ, PLUS, WAU, JOJ Cinema, RiK, Ťuki TV, JOJ Family) and Markiza Slovakia (with channels: TV Markíza, TV Doma, Dajto).
SLOVAK FILM INSTITUTE General Director: Peter DubeckýPhone: +421 2 5710 1503Fax: +421 2 5296 3461
Report by Alexandra Gabrižová (2018)Sources: the Slovak Film Institute, the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, the Union of Film Distributors of the Slovak Republic