Slovenia considers new funding body

By Matevz Rudolf
    Minister of Culture Stojan Pelko has presented a draft bill establishing a Slovenian Film Center (SFC), apublic fund that would replace the Slovenian Film Fund (SFF, www.film-sklad.si).

    Pelko, a film publicist and university film professor, explained that the draft is the result of one year of preparation. The center would be based on institutions in Croatia and Slovakia, following recommendations from the Slovenia Court of Audit.

    The main change will be that the Slovenian Film Center will not participate in film production as an investor but with system of grants. SFC will no longer be a co-producer, which means it also will not share in any film profits. The grants will not be higher than 50% of the budget for most films. The SFF covered up to 100% of a film's budget. Youth and low-budget films under 700,000 Euros could be up to 80 % of the budget. The scheme is expected to motivate independent producers to find European co-producers.

    The new draft proposes extra money for the Slovenian Film Center. Public broadcaster RTV SLO (www.rtvslo.si) will contribute 2.5% of the income of its mandatory license fees. Commercial TV networks will have to contribute 2% of all income from advertising. The total will be approximately 3 million Euros per year, close to the amount filmmakers received from SFF last year. Funds from the state budget will remain the same as last year, but would not be more than half of the Slovenian Film Center's budget. Pelko anticipates objection from TV networks.

    Independent film producer Dunja Klemenc who co-produced the Oscar wining film No Man's Land said "The new law offers good opportunities for co-productions and assures no political manipulation within the process of selecting the best film projects." She also believes that more low-budget and youth Slovenian films will be released, due to higher grant allowances.

    The draft bill will be debated by experts and politicians in coming days. The new law could be passed by the beginning of summer 2010, allowing the SFC to begin operations in fall 2010.