Magazine article Screen International

Sarajevo: CineLink Highlights Need for Regional Fund

Magazine article Screen International

Sarajevo: CineLink Highlights Need for Regional Fund

Article excerpt

At this year's CineLink - the industry strand of Sarajevo Film Festival (Aug 12-20) – much of the discussion revolved around funding challenges for film-makers in the former-Yugoslavia region.

A variety of industry panels, discussions and masterclasses spotlighted topics including the production of high-end television drama, the emerging field of virtual reality, tax incentives schemes and national funding bodies.

There was plenty of chatter amongst the indigenous industry attending the event about the fact that the establishment of a regional fund would significantly aid producers from the area.

One model to follow could be the Nordic model, which backs high-end television and film projects through the Nordisk Film & TV Fund – encompassing Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Sweden (plus associated territories Åland Islands, Faroe Islands and Greenland).

Projects that have recently received production or distribution funding through the fund include Rams, Sparrows and the forthcoming Borg Vs McEnroe.

Petri Kemppinen, CEO of Nordisk Film & TV Fund, was in Sarajevo to deliver a "behind the scenes" look at the success behind Nordic drama projects.

He celebrated the success of the Nordic regional fund, but he pointed out that it is currently the small screen that is out-performing the big screen: "The performance of TV has been a surprising change over the past few years. Film distribution is getting harder."

He was also positive about tax incentives from the area, making a special note of the Icelandic example, which is the oldest of its kind in the Nordic region and now counts for "4% of the industry's GDP".

Co-production is essential for Balkan producers, Kemppinen said, but he also offered a note of caution for film-makers seeking co-production: "Believe in stories. Go for authentic stories, try to believe in them and collaborate around that. Don't create series for the sake of co-production."

In a separate session, CineLink invited representatives from nearby Croatia and Serbia [pictured top] to present the current tax incentives and funding available in their countries.

Sanja Ravlic from the Croatian Audiovisual Center highlighted the recent success of Croatia as a territory. She pointed out that of the six territories being considered – Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia – Croatia's available public funding is the highest at $10m (euro9m).

She said that, due to available tax incentives, the country had hosted a film or TV production every single day last year, and that had a "successful impact" on the country's wider economy.

She also took a moment to note how important film is to the region's cultural and political discourse: "The film industry is the safeguard of cultural diversity, it's a very potent industry. …

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