Official name: Cyprus
GDP in EURO per capita€ $27,085
Time zone: CET (UTC+2)
Calling code: +357
The cinematographic production in a small country like Cyprus had an inevitable late start and a rather slow development in its early years. The history of cinema in Cyprus began at the end of the 1940s, when the British colonial government started to train Cypriot film makers at the Colonial Film Unit. With the advent of Cypriot television in 1957, the first short-length films, mainly documentaries, began to be produced.
The pioneers of Cypriot cinema during the 1950s were George Lanitis, Ninos Fenek Mikellides, Renos Watson, Polys Georgakis and others who directed and produced short-length films. Some of these were: The Island of Aphrodite, Salamina, Botrys of Cyprus, Epikoinonia (Communication), To Heri (The Hand) and Rizes (Roots) by Nikos Lanitis and George Stivaros.
Feature-length films were produced much later in the 1960s. George Fills in 1963 directed a film depicting the traditional Cypriot wedding, Agapes kai Kaimoi (Love Affairs and Heartbreaks) in 1965, and soon after To Telefteo Fili (The Last Kiss), 1821, and Cyprus. In 1969, George Katsouris and Costas Farmakas directed the comedy O Paras o Maskaras (Money the Clown).
During the late 1960s and early 1970s there was a richer crop of films. George Filis produced and directed Gregoris Afxentiou, Etsi Prodothike I Kypros (Cyprus' Betrayal), and the Mega Document. The cinematographic entrepreneur Diogenis Herodotou also started producing films: Dakrya kai Diplopenies (Tears and Strings), I Diki tou Fitilla (Fitillas' Trial), I Apagogi tis Gogous (Kidnapping Gogou), O Firfiris stin Athena (Firfiris visits Athens), To Ftohopedo tis Kyprou (The Cypriot Pauper), Diakopes stn Kypro (Holidaying in Cyprus) and O Tragoudistis tis Kyprou (the Cyprus Singer).
In the mid and late 1970s Costas Demetriou produced and directed a number of feature films: Ta Hassamboulia (Vendetta), Skotoste ton Makario (Order to kill Makarios) and Gia Pion Na Vrexi (For Whom Should it Rain).
In the 1980s the following feature films were produced: O Avrianos Polemistis (Tomorrow's Warrior) by Michalis Papas; Trimithi, O viasmos tis Afroditis (The Rape of Aphrodite) by Andreas Pantzis, that won first prize at the Thessaloniki Film Festival in 1985; and, Nekatomenoi Aerides (Troubled Winds) by Yiannis loannou. In 1985 Christos Shopahas was awarded first prize at the Moscow Film Festival for his film I Kathodos ton Enia (The Descent of the Nine).
In the 1990s, film productions include: To Ftero tis Migas (The Wing of the Fly) by Christos Shopahas which won the prize for best direction at the Thessaloniki Film Festival in 1995. I Sfagi tou Kokora (The Slaughter of the Cock) by Andreas Pantzis a Cypriot-Greek-Bulgarian co-production, won the prize for direction at the Thessaloniki Film Festival in 1996 and it was nominated by Greece as its representative in the Oscar Awards for best foreign language film for 1997. Ιn the same year, Dromoi kαί Portokalia (Roads and Oranges) was produced by Aliki Danezi Knutsen. Ιn 1999 there was Vysinokipos (Cherry Orchard), an adaptation of Chekhov's play by Cypriot-born director, Michael Kakoyiannis.
Cinematographic production in Cyprus received a boost in Μay 1994 with the establishment of the Cinema Advisory Committee. The Committee is mandated to recommend for funding the best proposals submitted by Cypriot producers/directors in the categories of feature-length films, short films, documentaries and animation.
Since 2003, the Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for the Cinema Sector, through the "Programme for the Development of Cyprus Cinema" and its priorities are the cinematographic production, education and professional training. It finances international co-productions, high and low budget feature films, short films, documentaries, animation, experimental films, as well as the local distribution and circulation of Cypriot films in theatres. It also provides financial support for filmmakers to participate in international film festivals and markets and in various educational seminars and workshops abroad. Until now, the government allocated financial support for more than 130 films. Currently, the annual funding budget is 1.500,000 euro.
More recent feature-film productions include: Kai to Treno Paei ston Ourano (And the Train Goes to the Sky) by loannis Ιοannou (2000); The Road to Ithaca by Costas Demetriou; Το Tama (The Promise) by Andreas Pantzis; Kato Αρο ta Astra (Under the stars) by Christos Georgiou; Bar by Aliki Danezi-Knusten (all in 2001); Kokkini Pempti (Red Thursday) by Christos Siopahas (2003); Kalabush by Adonis Florides and Theodoros Nikolaides (2003); Me tin Psychi sto Stoma (Soul Kicking) by Yiannis Economides (2006); ΜeΙi ke Krasi (Honey and Wine) by Marinos Kartikkis (2006); Akamas by Panicos Chrysanthou (2006); Hi Ι'm Εrrica by loannis Ιοannou (2008); Mikro Egklima (Small Crime) by Christos Georgiou (2008); Ο Teleutaios Gyrismos (The Last Homecoming) by Corinna Avraamidou (2008); Guilt by Vassilis Mazomenos (2009); Apo Thauma (By a Miracle) by Marinos Kartikkis (2010); Deipno me tis Adelfes mou (Dinner with my Sisters) by Michael Hapeshis (2011); Mahairovgaltis (Knifer) by Yiannis Economides (2011); and, Ladi sti Fotia (Fish n' Chips) by Elias Demetriou (2011). Currently, the films Chara kai Thlipsi tou Somatos (Joy and Sorrow of the Body) by Andreas Pantzis and China Town by Aliki Danezi-Knutsen are in post-production, while the film Entyposis enos Pnigmenou (Impressions of a Drown Man) by Kyros Papavassiliou is being produced.
The Ministry of Education and Culture is also responsible for bilateral agreements and the promotion of Cyprus as a filming destination. Possible taxation incentives are being considered in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, and will be implemented as soon as they are finalized. Cyprus is a member of Eurimage, the Media Programme, the SEE Cinema Network, the EFAD (European Film Agency Directors) and the EFARN (European Film Agency Research Network) and has signed the European Convention οn Cinematographic Co-productions.
ACTIVITES / FESTIVALS / AWARDS
The "Cyprus Cinema Days" festival is held jointly by the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Rialto Theatre. It takes place ten years on, in April every year at Lemesos (Rialto Theatre) and at Lefkosia (Zena Palace Cinema). Alongside the showing of films from the contemporary cinematographic production that have been distinguished during the current festival year and are incorporated in the section "Viewfinder – Looks at the Contemporary International Cinema, the festival introduced for the first time in 2011 the international competition part "Glocal Images."
The festival, upgraded and with an increased number of spectators, has opened new avenues of communication for the Cypriot public with world independent cinema production through a rich program of screenings, composed of films which are characterized by quality, originality and sensitivity in the treatment of their topics.
The "Cyprus International Short Film Festival" that is organized by the Ministry of Education and Culture jointly with the Rialto Theatre, takes place at the Rialto Theatre (Lemesos) around October each year. The Festival includes a competition part, concurrent programmes, master classes, laboratories for children and students, as well as live music at the opening and closing ceremonies. The five-member Jury Panel is composed of personalities from the world of the cinema.
The Three-day Festival of European Short Films - Awards of the European Cinema Academy, is organized jointly by the European Cinema
Academy and the Artos Foundation. Shown in this three-day festival are European short films chosen from the fifteen most important film festivals of Europe, as candidates for the great prize of the European Cinema Academy. The same films are shown in Lemesos, at TEPAK, in the two-day screening program.
The Festival "Images and Aspects of the Alternative Cinema," which takes place every year in the month of June at the "Other Place" of Theatro Ena, gives prominence to experimentation in the language of the cinema, social and existentialist reflection and to critical approach of the established forms and shapes in cinematographic expression.
The festival is organized by the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture in cooperation with "Theatro Ena" and the Cultural Organization Brave New Culture.
The screenings in the context of the program "Summer Projections Marathon" between July and September each year are also a particularly great success. The "Marathon" has been organized by the Ministry of Education and Culture, Theatro Ena and the Friends of the Cinema Club for over 14 years. The screenings take place at Lefkosia's oldest functioning open cinema hall, the "Constantia." The "Summer Projections Marathon" is one of the Ministry's most important events both in terms of promoting the cinema and upgrading the social and cultural life of the country. The films are selected on the merit of quality, the cinematographic education of the public and entertainment. The program also includes a number of films for young cinema lovers.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CINEMA IN RURAL AREAS
The Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture, in the framework of developing the cinema in rural areas, have introduced the following activities:
1. Support for cinema theatres in rural areas to function round the year.
2. Projection of Cypriot films in rural areas.
3. Subsidization of the organization "World Aspects" for the staging of an Animation Film Festival in rural areas. The festival hosts specialists in the genre of Animation, who present their films and undertake to hold morning laboratories with Cypriot colleagues.
The Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture provide support for film directors, producers and other cinema contributors to enable their participation in various educational seminars and laboratories abroad. At the same time they cooperate with the European MEDIA programme and its Office in Cyprus for the promotion of programmes aiming at the professional development of various aspects of film production.
1. They subsidize directors to present their films at international festivals and other events, thus promoting Cypriot cinema abroad.
2. They provide financial support for the regular screenings by Cinema Clubs.
3. They provide financial support to the Directors Union of Cyprus in organizing laboratories and special features.
4. They support various other events concerning the cinema through subsidies.
A common language and shared cultural heritage with Greece means producers often cooperate with Athens and the economic crisis there has hit Cypriot producers hard. Cyprus has also been struggling with its own financial crisis over the past year.
Cyprus typically produces approximately two films annually. Three domestic feature films were shot between September 2012 and September 2013. Two were made in coproduction with the Ministry of Education and Culture. Kyros Papavassiliou's debut feature Impressions of a Drowned Man/Entyposis enos Pnigmenou, is a coproduction between Cyprus and Slovenia produced by Drytree Films (Cyprus) in coproduction with Film Blades (Cyprus) and Restart (Slovenia). The love story Five Shilling Nylon/Pente Selinia Nylon by Christos Shopahas, was produced by AMP Filmworks.
One independent film was also produced: Stelana Kliris's romantic comedy and road movie Committed was shot in summer 2013 as a coproduction between the Pouroulis Foundation, AMP Filmworks and Stelana Kliris, in association with Fullmoon Productions, AB Seahorse Film Productions and Hellenic TV with AMP Filmworks producing. The film is expected to be finished by the end of 2013.
The leading producer of documentary films is Tetraktys Films. Their production line-up in 2013 included the completion of the 60-minute documentary film Kypris - The Great Goddess of Cyprus directed by Stavros Papageorghiou. The film had a budget of 150,000 EUR and involved four years of filming in Cyprus, Greece, UK and Egypt.
No international features were shot in Cyprus between September 2012 and September 2013.
No domestic films were theatrically released in 2012. Dinner with My Sisters by Michael Hapeshis was released in May 2013, and another two domestic features, Block 12 by Kyriacos Tofarides and Joy and Sorrow of the Body by Andreas Pantzis will be released in October and November 2013, respectively.
“There are no Cypriot distributors per se in Cyprus, only representatives of foreign distribution companies which are in charge of distributing European and foreign films in general,” the Cultural Officer from the Ministry of Education and Culture told FNE.
There are no distributors specialized in distribution of domestic films, and usually distribution of domestic films is not done through a distribution company. Day and date release is not yet a practice in Cyprus.
Psefionline is the local online documentary distribution arm of production company Tetrakys. The company withholds ten percent of revenues from the distribution of its films in order to fund other filmmakers who work with the company.
Cinema in Cyprus is governed under the Regulations for the Funding of Programmes to Support Cinematographic Films under the Ministry of Education and Culture and approved by the European Committee on Cinema and the European Committee for Public Support from 1 June 2009 to 1 June 2015.
According to the Regulations low budget features may be funded by the Ministry at up to 70% of their budget to a maximum of 850,000 EUR. For State Funding, the maximum amount of funding is up to 13,500 EUR for a low budget feature, up to 26,500 EUR for a high budget feature, and up to 5,000 EUR for a documentary.
The Ministry’s funding participation in development is up to 34,000 EUR for a low budget feature; up to 43,000 EUR for a high budget feature; and from 17,000 EUR to 34,000 EUR for documentaries and animated films up to 60 or 90 min.
In 2012 the Ministry of Education and Culture granted 500,000 EUR for the development and production of Petros Charalampous’s Land of the Golden Apple, produced by AMP Film Works Ltd. It has also granted three documentaries with 187,000 EUR, five short fiction films with 129,000 EUR and a short animated film with 40,000 EUR.
The 2012 budget for the state fund for film production and promotion was 1m EUR. For 2013, the amount will drop to 700,000 EUR. “There are no plans to modify the existing regulations unless the New Cinema Communication requires us to,” the Cultural Officer from the Ministry of Education and Culture told FNE. The Ministry is currently preparing a new set of measures in addition to the existing regulations.