Smatlak to direct new Slovak film fund

By Jana Kadlecova

    Martin Smatlak has been chosen as the first director of the new Slovak Audiovisual Fund.

    Smatlak, who has been a key figure in the Slovak film and TV industry, was unopposed in his bid for the position. He was elected by the eight votes out of nine member board.

    "It is a challenge for me because I have been engaged in the issue of audiovisual support systems for many years, and I also represented Slovakia in Eurimages funds (www.coe.int/t/dg4/eurimages)," Smatlak told FNE.

    Smatlak will be leading what is "historically the first systematic tool for the development of the audiovisual culture and industry in the Slovakia, and this tool is held - after 70 years of the state control - in the hands of the filmmakers and people with the audiovisual background. It depends entirely on us what use we will make out of it."

    The fund will devote its first year to establishing an office and norms of the funding application process, along with a long-term strategy on the development of the Slovak audio-visual sector.

    Smatlak's impressive background includes stints as director of the Slovak Film Institute; professor at VSMU - Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts; vice-rector and vice-dean for Film and TV at VSMU; strategical director and member of crisis management at Slovak Television; general director of media and audiovisual at the Slovak Ministry of Culture SR; and member of the working group that prepared the law on the audiovisual fund that went into the effect since January 1st 2009.
    He is one of the establishing members of the Slovak Film and Television Academy and established the first film festival in Bratislava after 1989.