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Croatia begins its EU presidency with high hopes for national cinema


- The Croatian Audiovisual Centre, its Creative Europe MEDIA Desk and other governmental and NGO bodies are organising a series of industry-related events for the first six months of 2020

Croatia begins its EU presidency with high hopes for national cinema
Top row (l-r): Chris Marcich, Tamara Babun, Alen Munitić, Matea Milić and Damir Terešak; bottom row (l-r): Ognian Zlatev, Martina Petrović, Luís Chaby Vaz, Inja Korać and Ankica Jurić Tilić (© Nina Djurdjević)

Croatia will preside over the Council of the European Union until the end of June, when the presidency will be passed on to Germany, and the country's film industry is aiming to benefit from it.

The Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) is organising several events during this period, together with other governmental and NGO bodies, aimed at strengthening and promoting the country's film industry. On 17 January, Creative Europe MEDIA Desk Croatia already held a series of panels under the title “MEDIA – Opportunities and Challenges for Small Countries.” The desk's head, Martina Petrović, broke down the results from the past five years, during which Croatian beneficiaries of the fund secured €4,303,205. In 2019 alone, they received an amount of €805,831. Only 12% of Creative Europe MEDIA funds went to beneficiaries of low-production-capacity countries in the last year, with 56% going to the five high-production-capacity countries and the remaining 32% to the medium-production-capacity countries.

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In the first panel, head of HAVC Chris Marcich, head of EU Representation in Croatia Ognian Zlatev and president of the European Film Agency Directors (EFAD) Luís Chaby Vaz discussed the importance of cultural diversity from the angles of a level playing field for all Creative Europe MEDIA applicants, the transparency of results, and the visibility and recognisability of European cinema.

In the second panel, entitled “Single vs Slate Funding”, producers Ankica Jurić Tilić (Kinorama), Damir Terešak (Maxima film) and Tamara Babun (Wolfgang&Dolly) talked about the importance of investing more financing in the development of audiovisual works, in particular strengthening the single project development scheme – as a crucial step for the whole process, all the way up to distribution.

The third panel was dedicated to festivals and distribution, and featured speakers Matea Milić, producer of Animafest Zagreb, the Zagreb Film Festival's head of industry, Inja Korać, and Alen Munitić, head of the Mediterranean Film Festival Split. They agreed that MEDIA's festival support is one of the most important schemes in force for low-production-capacity countries, and noted that only €3.7 million are allocated to this category, while the support for automatic and selective distribution and international sales agents is around ten times higher, standing at €37.7 million.

“Events like this are important for us to identify problems and think of solutions. Here in Croatia, we will all agree and understand each other, but that is not enough, and we have to continue from here and have a meaningful dialogue with Brussels,” says Marcich.

Other events that are scheduled to take place until June include the upcoming Split Winter Film Fair in February, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) Public Sector Representatives Meeting and Working Group Meeting in March, the meeting of EFAD with a focus on Croatia in April, the “Towards an Ambitious EU Agenda for a Thriving AV Sector” ministerial conference at Cannes (co-organised by France's and Croatia's culture ministries and film centres) in May, and the “Creative Mobility – Mobility as the Potential of the Cultural and Creative Sectors” event in June in Rijeka, one of this year's European Capitals of Culture. In addition, the Eurimages Assembly will take place in Zagreb from 17-20 March. For more events and details, please click here.

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