COVID-19 Cripples Slovenian Film Industry


    LJUBLJANA: The increasingly restrictive preventive measures declared by the Slovenian Government regarding the spread of the Coronavirus have led to the halt or postponement of almost all the activities in the field of cinema exhibition and film production.

    "All the film and TV production in Slovenia has currently stopped, as all filming on locations is prohibited, movement is restricted and fulfilling the required safety measures is impossible," Andrej Štritof, the president of the Association of Audiovisual Producers of Slovenia, told FNE. "At the moment we are dealing with the question of how to help our members who have lost their jobs overnight and found themselves in financial difficulties."

    Štritof added that it is very difficult to predict how long the crisis will last and what its dimensions will be, so he sees it necessary to establish a dialogue with the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Culture as soon as possible, to find effective solutions for the film industry. "According to the experience we have had with various crises in history, there is a long process ahead of us to rebuild the AV industry."

    Most activities are temporarily postponed at the production company Perfo, which has been filming the new drama series Bridges of Us, that debuted successfully on 1 March 2020 in Slovenian leading commercial television Pro plus. "Currently, all production activities take place from home via email or video conferencing, and we are regularly monitoring developments in the AV industry across Europe. We stopped filming the new episodes of Bridges of Us while at the moment only the post-production activities are still executed," Štritof, who is also the managing director of Perfo, told FNE.

    "We have stopped practically all field activities, we work from home or only under strict rules - one person at a time in a production facility - and we have established 'virtual editing'. All trips abroad, of course, have been cancelled, so we try as much as possible to move activities to the virtual world. At the moment, we are all dealing with parts that do not require socialising: administration, development of new projects, catching up on application deadlines, etc.," producer, director and screenwriter Boštjan Virc, who runs the production company Studio Virc, told FNE, adding that they had already sent their Austrian assembly associate home to Vienna when the restrictions started.

    Miha Čelar, the Slovenian film director and a co-founder of the production company Astral, expressed his concern about the consequences of the situation regarding the creation of the new Media Law, the new restrictions in the field of culture and the future moves of the Slovenian Film Centre.

    On 20 March 2020 the Government of the Republic of Slovenia issued a Decree on the temporary general prohibition of movement and gathering of people in public places and areas in the Republic of Slovenia. In order to contain and control the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic (COVID-19), the following activities, with some exemptions, are prohibited: movement and gathering of people in public places and areas, and access to public places and areas. On 30 March the Government of the Republic of Slovenia issued an additional Decree that, with some exemptions, further prohibits the movement of people outside the municipality of their permanent or temporary residence.