Magazine article Screen International

Swiss Documentary in Limbo Following Dispute with Croatian Audiovisual Centre

Magazine article Screen International

Swiss Documentary in Limbo Following Dispute with Croatian Audiovisual Centre

Article excerpt

Investigative piece Chris The Swiss faces [Euro]150,000 funding shortfall.

Swiss production company Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion faces a shortfall of [Euro]150,000 to complete Anja Kofmel’s animated documentary Chris The Swiss after the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) continues to refuse to pay out [Euro]150,000 funding due as part of its cash rebate system.

Kofmel’s investigative feature retraces the steps of her cousin, journalist Christian Würtenberg, who was killed in Croatia in 1992 wearing the uniform of an international mercenary force, the First Platoon of International Volunteers.

Speaking to Screen at this week’s Locarno Film Festival, the film’s producer Samir said that he believes that HAVC’s actions come following the formation of a conservative government under Prime Minister Andrej Pienkovic in Croatia and are “unprecedented” in the European audiovisual landscape.

The bone of contention for HAVC appears to be the film’s portrayal of the conflict in ex-Yugoslavia.

Cannesmeeting

The [Euro]2m co-production between Dschoint Ventschr, Germany’s ma.ja.de and Nukleus Film had been awarded selective production support by HAVC in 2014. In addition, further backing of [Euro]150,000 was due to be paid out as a cash rebate since the project had spent over [Euro]1m on production of the animated sequences at an animation studio in Zagreb employing 30 local animators for more than a year.

Since HAVC delayed release of the funding, a meeting was organised during this year’s Cannes Film Festival to try to resolve the impasse.

Attending the sit-down were HAVC director Daniel Rafaelic and Margarita Peric, responsible for the cash rebate scheme at the fund, and Ivo Kummer and Laurent Steiert of Switzerland’s Federal Office of Culture, Catherine-Ann Berger of Swiss Films, and Roberto Olla, executive director of Eurimages, which also supported the project.

However, the parties were unable to agree a suitable outcome.

Letter

HAVC’s legal representative Josipa Dasovic subsequently wrote to Dschoint Ventschr saying “it came to our attention that the script for the project was changed in a way that final approval of the film in the selective aid part was questionable (…) HAVC offered a hand in form of a historical expertise advisor to assist you in this project, and this offer still stands. …

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