Official name: Slovenia
GDP in Euro per capita: $28,373
Time zone: CET (UTC+1)
Calling code: +386
Slovenia’s film production has remained fairly stable, despite the 2012 recession and government budget cuts as well astax increases in 2013 as the government scrambled to prop up its mostly state-owned banks. But the distribution and exhibition sectors are challenged by falling attendance and late digitalisation of screens. A new film commission was launched to attract foreign productions to Slovenia, which has lagged behind other CEE territories in that area. Slovenian producers often participate in international productions as coproducers and minority producers, especially for films from the former Yugoslavian countries.
Film production in Slovenia has remained relatively steady despite the often tumultuous situation in which the country’s film industry has found itself in recent years. In 2011 there were 16 feature films produced, six 100% national productions and ten coproductions. In 2012 the number of films was the same, but with the balance reversed: ten national productions and six coproductions. In 2013 the output increased to 18 feature films, with 12 national productions and six coproductions. The share of coproduction was 62.5% for 2011, 37.5% for 2012 and 33% for 2013. The average budget of domestic films distributed in Slovenia in 2013 is 1m EUR. The Slovenian Film Centre reports that no foreign film productions have been shot in Slovenia in recent years.
Among the most important projects produced in the past year are the critically acclaimed Class Enemy directed by Rok Bicek , which received FEDEORA award at Venice Film Festival and was produced by Triglav Fim; the box office hit Chefurs Raus directed by Goran Vojnović, produced by Arsmedia; the sequel to the highest grossing domestic film of all time, ; Going our Way 2 directed by Miha Hočevar, produced by Vertigo Emotionfilm; and Inferno directed by Vinko Möderndorfer who made a rare successful venture into domestic genre film with the Hollywood style thriller Landscape No.2 in 2008, produced by Forum Ljubljana.
Notable feature film projects in production in 2013 are: The Tree produced by Mono O, a debut feature film by Sonja Prosenc, a coproduction family drama revolving around a tragic accident among Macedonian Albanians, which leads to a blood feud; Houston We Have a Problem produced by Studio Virc and Nukleus Film and directed by by Žiga Virc, a mockumentary that reveals the little known fact about how Yugoslavia under its president Tito was the third major player in the Space Race and actually sold much of its space programme technology to the US, enabling the latter to land on the Moon; Perserverance produced by Nukleus Film and directed by Miha Knific, a dramatic mosaic of several stories that span time and space, exploring the collective memory of mankind; and Mother produced by Gustav Film, a sequel to Vlado Škafar’s critically acclaimed poetic feature film Dad from 2010.
Leading coproduction partners in recent years have been neighbours from former Yugoslavia along with Italy, Hungary, and Germany. The Slovenian Film Centre has established financing agreements with sister institutions in Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Czech Republic, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Denmark.
The film industry in Slovenia is almost entirely dependent on financing by SFC, a public agency established by The Slovenian Film Centre legislation in 2011. In theory, its funding sources should be varied and come from the state budget, the agency’s own income, collaboration with international organizations, donations and sponsorships, but in practice the majority of its funds are in the form of a subsidy from the Ministry of Culture, the amount depending on the annual budget of the Republic of Slovenia, which makes the agency highly dependent on the current political and economic situation of the country.
Other sources of funding originate from coproductions, the services of state backed FS Viba Film Studio in the form of technical assistance, international film funds and institutions and foreign taxes. The top budget of a Slovenian film is around 2m EUR. In minority coproductions Slovene coproducers can contribute funds up to 100,000 EUR, services of FS Viba film studio evaluated at maximum of 200,000 EUR and support through Eurimages. Another source of financing is television.
The Slovenian Film Centre legislation introduced mandatory funding of independent domestic film production by the national public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, which has to contribute 2% of the annual income received from household subscription fees, and Slovenian commercial television stations , which have to contribute 5% of their annual profits, with the funds allocated on the basis of public competitions. However, this part of the law has never come into effect in practice and has had two constitutional complaints filed against it.
In 2012 a total of 398 films were distributed in Slovenia with an average admission of 6,627 per film. Of these, 187 films (47%) were US productions with an average admission of 10,678 per film, and 189 (47.5%) were European productions or productions of third countries with an average admission of 2,692, and 22 (5.5%) were domestic productions and coproductions with an average admission of 6,012. According to the Slovenian Film Agency 10 films with national support , including co-productions , were released in 2012.
The leading distribution companies in Slovenia are Blitz Film & Video Distribution, Continental Film, Cinemania Gropu, Karantanija Cinamas and Cenex. All of those , except Cinemania Group d.o.o., primarily distribute commercial films from major Hollywood studios. There are four smaller distribution companies in Slovenia that distribute independent, domestic and European films: Demiurg, Fivia, Cankarjev Dom and Kolosej ZC. None of the Slovenian distributors has engaged Day and Date release yet due to the common consensus that the local market does not seem to be ready for it. One of the main obstacles is the lack of widespread infrastructure, as even the most successful video on demand services in Slovenia, dKino, run by the telecommunication company Siol and Voyo, run by media company Pro Plus, have been performing substantially worse than comparable services in neighbouring countries such as Croatia.
The digitalisation process has been delayed in Slovenia, because there was no government funding or other public support available until 2012. The situation started to change in 2012 when SFC issued the first call for grants for digitalisation, aimed at exhibitors of art house and independent films. So far, 47 screens in 19 locations have been digitalised, 28 of them in 2013. Although this is a considerable increase from 2012, it still represents only around 45% of all screens in Slovenia (110). A call for digitalisation was also issued in 2013, but the results have not been published yet. It is expected that the remaining exhibitors of art and independent films will be digitalised in 2014.
Another considerable impediment to digitalisation has been the fact that the screens of the biggest Slovenian exhibitor Kolosej have also not been digitalised yet. Kolosej is expected to undergo the digitalization process at the end of 2013 and should be 100% digitalised in 2014. By the end of 2014 Slovenian cinemas should be exclusively digital, with a major impact on distribution. To date, distributors of independent and European films have been able to gradually abandon the print format, while distributors of commercial Hollywood cinema are still forced to issue films both in digital and print copies. This has been an especially cumbersome financial burden for the distribution of animated films, since Slovenian law requires all of them to be dubbed for public screening which entails much higher costs with print format (an estimated 10,000 EUR per film).
The only domestic film that has been sold abroad in the past year is Class Enemy, sold to Austria and Switzerland. The sale was executed directly through producer Triglav Film. Additional sales to Italy and USA are in negotiation.
The main film institution in Slovenia is the Slovenian Film Centre, a public agency established in 2011 when it replaced the Slovenian Film Fund. It supports national film production, post-production, distribution and film festivals. It is the main source of film funding covering production, project development, script development and educational activities. Only individuals and legal entities officially registered in Slovenia are eligible for funds.
Since its launch, SFC has been involved in production of 80% of domestic films with average funding support of over 50% per project. In 2011 the total amount of funds available to SFC was approximately 6.9m EUR, but was later reduced by approximately 1.5m EUR due to amendments to the state budget. In 2012 the funds were reduced by more than 25% to approximately 3.8m EUR. Statistics also show a steady decrease in the percentage of film funds in the annual cultural budget from 4% in 1999 to 2.56% in 2012. In 2013 the SFC is expected to distribute approximately 2.6m EUR. The average amount of SFC funding per feature film was 540,000 EUR in 2012, but it is expected to drop to approximately 350,000 EUR per film in 2013.
The Slovenian Ministry of Culture has a separate funding budget for the distribution of art films (173,000 EUR in 2011 and 50,000 EUR in 2012) and funding for the Slovenian Art Cinema Network (43,000 EUR in 2011 and 97,368 EUR in 2012).
In October of 2013 Slovenia has witnessed the launch of a new film institution. The Slovenia Film Commission is an organisational unit of SFC tasked with promoting Slovenia as a film location and providing information and logistical help in establishing local contacts.
The other important film institution is FS Viba, a film studio situated in Ljubljana as a state institution which operates as the national technical film foundation. It co-operates with the majority of Slovene films from the National Film Programme and is also involved in coproductions and commercial projects.
Slovenia does not have a National Programme of Culture, since the 2011 expiration of the previous one which mandated the production of five to eight feature films per year. A draft of the National Programme of Culture 2014–2017 was presented for public discussion in summer of 2013. It is expected to undergo substantial changes before being passed (more than 137 pages of suggestions for amendments have already been sent to the government), but already contains several important goals concerning film production and distribution in Slovenia. Through the introduction of tax incentives in 2015, it is set to remove one of the main obstacles to attracting foreign productions.The programme is also set to increase funding for the production and distribution of films, the number of coproductions with foreign countries and development of the art and independent cinema network structure.