Magazine article Screen International

Sarajevo: Beyond Europe

Magazine article Screen International

Sarajevo: Beyond Europe

Article excerpt

The Regional Forum will explore how European film-makers can forge international relationships and open up new markets to build on existing co-production partnerships. By Geoffrey Macnab.

One of the biggest talking points at the Regional Forum's MEDIA conference is set to be the launch of the much-anticipated Sarajevo City of Film Fund, aimed at galvanising co-production between Southeast Europe and international partners. Backed by the European Commission's new international co-production programme, the fund will be administered by Sarajevo Film Festival.

"The fund will receive [euro]250,000 [$336,000] in EC support over the next 18 months or so," says Jovan Marjanovic, head of industry at Sarajevo Film Festival. Additional funding will come from Croatian multinational consumer goods production and distribution company Atlantic Grupa and further public sources.

The conference will reveal more about how the fund will fit into the international co-production jigsaw. "We're looking at Southeast Europe and the former Yugoslavia on one side and Middle East and North Africa, the Americas, India and the Far East on the other as our primary markets," says Marjanovic.

The Southeast European markets of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia routinely co-produce with each other, as well as with other European territories, particularly France and Germany. Recent collaborations include Danis Tanovic's An Episode In The Life Of An Iron Picker (Bosnia-France), Faruk Loncarevic's With Mom (Bosnia-Slovenia-Germany) and Jasmila Zbanic's For Those Who Can Tell No Tales (Bosnia-Germany).

'There's no film coming out of any of the ex-Yugoslav countries that hasn't been made with money from the other countries'Sanja Ravlic, Croatian Audiovisual Centre

The original data collated for the forum reveals co-production activity in the region is high although total production levels remain low compared to other European territories. Most of the films made in Southeast Europe in 2013 were financed as European co-productions.

"Our position is, the more the merrier," says Sanja Ravlic, head of co-productions at the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, of the new Sarajevo Fund. "We are constantly co-producing. There's no film coming out of any of the ex-Yugoslav countries that hasn't been made with money from the other countries."

The new fund's aim is to make Southeast European producers attractive minority partners to potential collaborators beyond the usual co-production suspects. There is a particular emphasis on developing relationships from outside Europe and particularly with Qatar, India and Mexico. There are projects from all these territories in Sarajevo's CineLink co-production market.

"For small territories, co-producing with any territory other than through the usual coproduction schemes is very difficult," says Marjanovic. "There are no bilateral treaties. We can't pursue a policy of signing bilateral treaties with everybody in the world, like France can. And we don't have English-speaking territories overseas with whom to partner, like the UK has."

This panel at the Regional Forum comes as Eurimages, the Council of Europe's co-production fund, looks to expand outside Europe and potentially to grant associate membership status to non-Europeans. Its aim is to make it easier for countries to co-produce through a new convention without having to go to the lengths of striking a bilateral treaty. …

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