The first results show that Slovenian cinema admissions in 2018 increased by around 4% and the total box office increased by 8%. Admissions for domestic films decreased by almost 20%, although more titles were released, and the box office dropped by more than 31%.
Slovenian film production is stable, while more foreign productions are being shot due to the 25% cash rebate scheme.
In 2018 the Slovenian Film Centre received 4,859,000 EUR for film funding and other activities and a higher amount is expected for 2019. Since the beginning of November 2018 the annual budget for film production has been gradually increasing, to reach 11 m EUR by 2022.
Dejan Prešiček was appointed new Minister of Culture of Slovenia on 15 September 2018.
Slovenian producers usually produce around 15 feature films and documentaries per year, and they are more and more focused on coproductions, especially with other ex-Yugoslavian countries. Foreign producers’ share in the investments in Slovenian majority projects has come close to a relatively high number of 30%.
The national television RTV Slovenija still plays a key role in the domestic production, making up to five feature and documentary films per year and acting as a regular coproducer.
In 2018 more than 16 feature films were completed, approximately half of which were documentaries. In 2019 nine feature films, three documentaries and one experimental film are expected to be completed. Eight feature films (including four debuts) and two documentaries are expected to start shooting in 2019.
The feature films completed in 2018 are: Erased / Izbrisana directed by Miha Mazzini and produced by Gustav Film; My Last Year as a Loser / Ne bom več luzerka directed by Urša Menart and produced by Vertigo; History of Love / Zgodovina ljubezni directed by Sonja Prosenc and produced by MonoO; Consequences / Posledice directed by Darko Štante and produced by Temporama; I Act, I Am directed by Miroslav Mandić and produced by Filmostovje; Gaja’s World / Gajin svet directed by Peter Bratuša and produced by Felina, and Together / Skupaj directed by Marko Šantić and produced by RTV Slovenija.
The long documentaries completed in 2018 are: A Man from the Border directed by Boris Jurjaševič and produced by Fabula; My Way 50 directed by Maja Weiss and produced by Zavod Maja Weiss; Cankar directed by Amir Muratović and produced by Cebram; A Thousand Hours of Bitterness for a Single Hour of Joy, directed by Dušan Moravec and produced by Friendly Production; iIsland directed by Miha Čelar and produced by Astral film; Growing Up / Odraščanje directed by Siniša Gačić and Dominik Mencej and produced by Zavod Zuhr; Pero Lovsin – You Can directed by Jani Sever, and Much Do You Love Yourself? directed by Nina Blažin, both produced by Sever & Sever.
The following feature films are expected to be completed in 2019: Stories from Chestnut Woods / Zgodbe iz kostanjevih gozdov directed by Gregor Božič and produced by Nosorogi; Don’t Forget to Breathe / Ne pozabi dihati directed by Martin Turk and produced by Bela film; All Against All / Vsi proti vsem directed by Andrej Košak and produced by Blade production; Everything is Different / Vse je drugače (aka I Am Frank) by Metod Pevec and produced by Vertigo; Oroslan (aka Wake) directed by Matjaž Ivanišin and produced by Staragara; Half-Sister / Polsestra directed by Damjan Kozole and produced by Vertigo; Corporation / Korporacija directed by Matej Nahtigal and produced by Lignit film; Let Him Be a Basketball Player 2 / Košarkar naj bo 2 directed by Boris Bezić and produced by Gustav Film; and Ptičar directed by Robert Černelč and produced by Tamal Films.
The following long documentaries are expected to be completed in 2019: The Business of Revenge / Krvno maščevanje directed by Marija Zidar and produced by Vertigo; Hči Camorre directed by Siniša Gačić and produced by Studio Maj; and Antigona directed by Jani Sever and produced by Sever & Sever.
The following feature films are expected to start shooting in 2019: Two Riders / Jezdeca directed by Dominik Mencej and produced by Staragara; Sanremo directed by Miroslav Mandić and produced by Filmostovje; Night Quartet / Nočni kvartet directed by Vinko Möderndorfer and produced by Forum Ljubljana; Once Were Humans / Nekoč so bili ljudje directed by Goran Vojnović and produced by Arsmedia; Inventory / Inventura directed by Darko Sinko and produced by December; Orchestra / Orkester directed by Matevž Luzar and produced by Gustav Film; Grandpa Goes South / Dedek gre na jug directed by Vinči Anžlovar and produced by A Atalanta; Eva directed by Tijana Zinajić and produced by December.
The following long documentaries are expected to be completed in 2019: Telo directed by Petra Seliškar and produced by Petra Pan Film and Ganja Will Set You Free / Konoplja osvobaja directed by Miha Čelar and produced by Astral film.
The 25% cash rebate scheme introduced in autumn of 2016 increased the interest of foreign productions in Slovenia and in 2018 eight foreign projects from six production companies got a total support of 0.8 m EUR (compared to 0.65 m EUR in 2017).
The projects which benefited from the scheme in 2018 are: Italy’s Strangers in Paradise directed by Gabriele Slavatores and Croatian Murina directed by Antoaneta Alamat Kursjanović (both serviced by Staragara), Philippines’ Motel Acacia directed by Bradley Liew (serviced by Studio Virc); Serbian TV series Shadows Over Balkan directed by Dragan Bjelogrlić (serviced by Perfo), South Korea’s Memories of the Alhambra directed by Ahn Gil-ho (serviced by Nora Production), Italy’s I Just Wanted to Be a Rock Star II directed by Matteo Oleotto (serviced by Staragara), US documentary Satori directed by Gabrielle Tana and UK documentary Who the Fuck you Think You Are Slavoj Žižek? directed by James Morton Haworth. These projects were partly shot in Slovenia, which shows that Slovenia has become a popular film location.
Eighteen domestic films (six feature films and 12 documentaries), including minority coproductions were released in 2018, compared to 12 in 2017. Most of them were screened at the annual showcase of Slovenian film, the Festival of Slovenian Film in Portorož, and were theatrically released afterwards. One of the films, the documentary Cankar by Amir Muratović was also already broadcast on the national television RTV Slovenija.
In 2018 Urša Menart’s My Last Year as a Loser won three Vesna awards (best film, script, supporting actress), the same as Darko Štante’s Consequences (director, leading actor, supporting actor); Miha Mazzini's Erased won four awards (leading actress, original music, production design, costume design); Sonja Prosenc's History of Love won two awards (DoP, special original achievement); Peter Bratuša’s Gaja’s World won two awards (best make-up, special achievements), the same as Nina Blažin’s documentary How Much Do You Love Yourself? (best documentary, editing), while the Czech/Slovenian/Slovak/French/Polish coproduction Winter Flies by Olmo Omerzu won the Vesna Award for Best Minority Coproduction.
The year 2018 was again very successful for the international recognition of Slovenian films. The most significant international awards are: the Special Jury Mention at the 53 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival for Sonja Prosenc's History of Love; Best Director and the Ecumenical Prize at the 53 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival for Olmo Omerzu’s Winter Flies; a successful selection at the Toronto Film Festival for Darko Štante’s Consequences, as well as17 awards (including best actor at the FAJJR IFF in Teheran and at the Orenburg IFF in Russia) for Hanna Slak’s The Miner, 10 awards (including the Artistic Vision Award at the DocAviv in Tel Aviv and the Special Jury Mention at ZagrebDox) for Matjaž Ivanišin’s Playing Men produced by Nosorogi, and Best Film Award at Let’s CEE in Vienna for Janez Burger’s Ivan.
Among short films, The Box directed by Dušan Kastelic and produced by RTV Slovenija, and Nighthawk directed by Špela Čadež and produced by Finta, were the most awarded Slovenian films internationally in 2018.
The leading position among distributors in 2018 is held by Blitz Film & Video Distribution with 42% box office share, followed by Karantanija Cinemas with 31%, Continental Film and 2i Film with 10% each. All of them distribute mostly commercial films from major Hollywood studios such as Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Paramount. Two of them, Continental Film and 2iFilm manage distribution from Croatia, while Blitz Film & Video Distribution is also strongly connected to its mother company in Croatia.
The smaller Slovenian distribution companies, which distribute independent, domestic and European films, are Fivia (with 4% box office share in 2018), Cinemania Group and Demiurg (with 1% each).
EXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE
Slovenian cinema admissions are usually around 2.5 m and generate around 12 m EUR per year. There are 50 operating cinemas with 111 digital screens, and the average ticket price is just above 5 EUR.
Most of the Slovenian attendance is generated by multiplexes in bigger cities, owned by two major multiplex chains: Kolosej Kinematografi and Cineplexx. While Cineplexx operates six multiplexes in Maribor, Celje, Kranj, Koper, Murska Sobota and Novo mesto, Kolosej Kinematografi runs the biggest multiplex (plus the one screen cinema theatre Komuna) in the capital city of Ljubljana and a smaller one in Kranj.
One of the two multiplexes in Maribor, previously operated by Kolosej kinematografi, now operates under the name Maribox, and is owned by the company Projektor d.o.o.
Other cinema theatres try to balance commercial and art house films. Most of them are members of the Slovenian Art Cinema Asociation, which currently has 27 active members.
The leading art house cinema is Kinodvor, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in February 2018. Since its opening approximately 2,200 feature films have had more than 17,600 screenings and generated over 2 m admissions.
The main art film event in Slovenia is the Ljubljana International Film Festival LIFFe, organised by Cankarjev dom. In its 29th edition LIFFe generated 43,000 admissions for 291 screenings. A total of 97 long and 15 short films from 52 countries were screened in Ljubljana at Cankarjev dom, Kinoteka, Kinodvor and Komuna; and simultaneously in Maribor, Celje and Novo mesto, from 7 to 18 November 2018.
The first results show that Slovenian cinema admissions in 2018 increased by around 4% to 2.445 m (compared to 2,354,734 in 2017) and the total box office increased by 8% to 12.6 m EUR (11,637,025 EUR in 2017).
Three titles crossed the line of 100,000 admissions: Bohemian Rhapsody with 144,160 admissions and 841,894 EUR gross, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation with 110,846 admissions and 605,721 EUR gross and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again with 114,195 admissions and 594,735 EUR gross.
In 2018 admissions for domestic films decreased by almost 20%, although more titles were released, and the box office dropped by more than 31% to 423,118 EUR compared to 617,456 EUR in 2017. Domestic films represent 5.4% share in total admissions and 3.36% share in total box office.
Gaja’s World directed by Peter Bratuša and produced by Felina Films was the most popular domestic title in 2018 with 62,040 admissions and 221,373 EUR gross, ranking 14th in the general chart. The rest of the domestic top five includes documentaries The Family directed by Rok Biček and produced by Cvinger film, and The Last Ice Hunters directed by Jure Breceljnik and Rožle Bregar and produced by FilmIT; feature films Let Him Be a Basketball Player directed by Boris Petkovič and produced by Gustav Film, and Consequences directed by Darko Štante and produced by Filmsko društvo Temporama.
The Slovenian film with the most admissions since 1991 is still At Hostar / Pr’ Hostar by Luka Marčetić with 211,604 admissions (179,667 admissions in 2016 and 31,937 admissions in 2017), followed by Going Our Way / Gremo mi po svoje directed by Miha Hočevar and produced by Vertigo/Emotionfilm (2010), with 205,439 admissions.
GRANTS AND NEW LEGISLATION
The main film institution in Slovenia is the Slovenian Film Centre (SFC), a public agency established in 2011 replacing the Slovenian Film Fund. Its goal is to encourage creativity by providing suitable conditions for audiovisual activities.
The SFC supports national film production, development, postproduction, distribution as well as film education and film festivals. The majority of its funding is in the form of a subsidy from the Ministry of Culture, with the amount depending on the annual budget of the country.
Since its launch, the SFC has been involved in the production of 80% of domestic films with an average funding support of over 50% per project. Other sources of support in Slovenia originate from the national television RTV Slovenija, coproductions, services backed by the state and provided by FS Viba film studio in the form of technical services, from foreign film funds and institutions.
In 2018 SFC received 4,859,000 EUR for film funding and other activities and a higher amount is expected for 2019. Moreover, based on the unanimous vote by the Slovenian parliamentary Culture Committee in November 2018 the annual budget for film production will gradually increase to reach 11 m EUR by 2022.
The managing director of the SFC is Nataša Bučar, appointed in December 2016. She and her team have to prepare a new strategy for the next four years, in spite of the fact that the national programme for Culture is still pending.
In 2018 the Slovenian Film Centre announced 12 public tenders and awarded grants totalling 4.12 m EUR (3,836,300 EUR in 2017). The results of five of them (two additional script and project developments, investment stimulation for AV production, minority coproductions, student films) were not yet announced at the beginning of 2019.
In 2018, a total of 2,687,935 EUR went to film production (production, debut features, short feature and animated films), 595,382 EUR went to audiovisual projects, and 40,000 EUR to script and project development. A total of 221,200 EUR was allotted to festivals, 132,000 EUR for film education and 20,440 EUR for professional education.
Among other activities, the SFC successfully continues the project Our Films At Home, aiming at promoting domestic films among the Slovenian audience – eight film premieres were organised in 2018.
The restoration of Slovenian classics continued in 2018 and Jože Bevc’s Real Pests! (1977, Viba Film) and France Štiglic’s On Our Land (1948, Triglav film) were restored and released on Blu-ray.
In March 2018 the SFC organised a panel discussion about the research on gender inequality in the film sector, which showed that 90% of Slovenian films had been directed by men in past two decades. According to the statistics at the end of the year the situation improved, as the share of women directors who received financial support for their feature films in 2018 increased up to 22%, while their share in the field of short films was 43%.
Dejan Prešiček was appointed the new Minister of Culture for Slovenia on 15 September 2018. He plans to prepare a new national cultural programme and to pass the legislation that would ensure additional funding for culture. He also promised to strive for further development of Slovene film production and also that he would encourage foreign film production in Slovenia.
In the last few years, according to the Law on the Slovenian Film Centre, the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija has been obliged to invest in independent projects.
The leading commercial TV Pro plus with its five channels, POP TV, KANAL A, KINO, BRIO and OTO, made its leading position even stronger with news, foreign programming, reality shows, local TV series and sporting events. It is followed by the national television RTV Slovenija with its three national channels, and another commercial television Planet TV. Other significant players are foreign cable TV channels Fox Group, Cas Media, HBO Europe; TV3 medias and several ex-Yugoslavian TV channels.
Prime time in Slovenian television is generally held by news (Dnevnik, 24 ur, Planet Danes), reality and entertainment shows (Slovenia Got Talent, Your Voice Sounds Familiar, Dancing with the Stars, Masterchef, Gostilna išče šefa, Farm, Biggest Looser, Vse je mogoče) and domestic fiction (Reka ljubezni, Dragi sosedje), most of them produced by Pro plus. In 2018 a significant interest in Turkish series was revealed.
In 2018 Pro plus had a 49.6% prime time share, RTV Slovenija 15.9%, Planet TV 6.8%, TV3 Medias 0.8% and other TV channels 26.9%.
Central European Media Enterprises Ltd. (CME) announced in January 2019 the termination of the agreement to sell its operations in Slovenia and retains full ownership of Pro plus, the leading television network group in the country.
Report by Damijan Vinter (2019) Sources: Fivia/Cenex, the Slovenian Film Centre, the Ministry of Culture