Creating a Strong, Sustainable and Dynamic Slovenian Film Sector
The event will be opened by the Minister of Culture, Dr Asta Vrečko, while the participants and panellists will also include the highest representatives of the selected national film institutions in the EU.
Film sector development is impossible without appropriate public policies and public investment. The conference at hand provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on the ambitious starting points regarding the question of how to modernise the existing systemic regulations to ensure a supportive environment for the film and audiovisual sector and provide new impetus to the strategic breakthrough of the Slovenian film sector in all its diversity and complexity.
At three panels, the speakers will present good practice examples and discuss the following: the ways of imposing financial contributions to invest in the film and audiovisual sector; an effective governance framework for the national film institutions; and the modern film policy, especially in the fields of funding schemes as well as regarding the activities and tasks of the national film institutions.
The modern national solutions of the individual EU Member States will be presented by Olivier Henrard, Executive Director of the French National Center for Film and Moving Images (CNC); Jeremie Kessler, Director of International Affairs at the CNC; Edith Sepp, Head of the Estonian Film Institute (EFI) and Vice President of the European Film Agency Directors Association (EFAD); Christopher Peter Marcich, Director of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC); and Julie-Jeanne Régnault, Secretary General of the EFAD.
The conference is aimed at decision-makers, filmmakers, audiovisual media content providers, commercial television representatives, Slovenian public television, journalists, media, and other professionals.
Panel I: Financial contributions to invest in the film and audiovisual sector
Goal 1: Broader opportunities for additional sources of domestic film funding
Goal 2: Highly efficient and sustainable ecosystem of participatory financing that involves all market players
Goal 3: Keeping track of market changes and new trends
It is inevitable that small countries such as Slovenia complement the limited available public funds with off-budget financing schemes (to stimulate investment or financial contributions). In line with the recommendations of the AVMS Directive, many EU Member States have adopted measures in the form of either direct financial obligations towards the production of European works and the acquisition of rights for these works or indirect levies (fund contributions) in view of the revenues from the audiovisual media services provided in their respective territories. One of the weaknesses identified in Slovenia and highlighted in the study titled Accessibility and Competitiveness of European Audiovisual Works from Small Language Environments (Wagner-Hatfield 2021), which could potentially be eliminated, results from the meagre and insufficiently diversified sources of (public) financing.
The first part of the panel will focus on the presentation of a representative funding model of The French National Centre of Cinema (CNC), which has established a sustainable ecosystem of participatory financing for domestic film and audiovisual production. The presentation will be complemented by a transparent demonstration of how to ensure the promotion and visibility of European audiovisual works through investment obligations of both the national and foreign video-on-demand (VOD) providers targeting the domestic audience, in particular given the new distribution and business models that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated even further.
Panel II: An effective governance framework of national film institutions
Goal 4: Flexibility and responsiveness of film governance structures
Goal 5: Inclusive and participatory governance models
Goal 6: Coordinated inter-departmental or inter-ministerial approach
Goal 7: A simple and transparent regulatory environment
The second part of the panel will address the challenges of ensuring the institutional, programmatic, and financial independence of the National Film Centre as a development-oriented central film institution. We will also be interested in intersectoral cooperation aimed at creating the conditions for a dynamically stable and sustainable film sector with substantial economic and cultural potential. The Accessibility and Competitiveness of European Audiovisual Works from Small Language Environments study (Wagner-Hatfield 2021) has identified two weaknesses in Slovenia, which, however, can be addressed: (1) the top-down governance system and the extensive involvement of the government/the Ministry of Culture; (2) the lack of (inter-ministerial) coordination at the decision-making and governance level to ensure a strategically supportive ecosystem.
The main topic will be the presentation of the governance model of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC), established in 2008 based on the new Audiovisual Activities Act (2007). As the central audiovisual agency, the HAVC has assumed the overall responsibility for the development and growth of the national audiovisual industry. After the initial challenges, it has established itself as a participatory funding model that involves the entire film sector, while it democratically left the responsibility for programming decisions to the profession (following the Danish model). Thanks to the joint efforts of all stakeholders, this trust-based decision-making system has ensured the vitality of the entire sector as well as the vibrancy and modernity of Croatian cinema.
A significant element of this part of the panel will be to gain insight into the governance diversity of the European national film institutions, the possible mechanisms for the systemic implementation and assurance of their autonomy (including ways of funding from the state budget), and long-term transparency-based accountability to the sector and all its stakeholders.
Panel III: Modern film policy (funding schemes, activities and tasks of the national film institutions)
Goal 8: Diversity of funding mechanisms across formats, technologies and stages of creation
Goal 9: Innovative forms of audiovisual creation
Goal 10: Talent development
In today’s complex and constantly evolving film and audiovisual market, it is necessary to maintain a flexible, diversified funding system that is able to keep up with the technological developments and changes in viewing habits so as to enable creations across platforms and formats, as well as during the various phases of creation and screening (development, production, post-production, distribution, education, international promotion, film culture, film education, cinematic exhibition, film heritage). Film policy faces an important task: to ensure that the sector’s public funding is not seen as a social corrective but rather as an investment. To ensure the necessary flexibility and responsiveness of both the regulatory environment and funding policies, national film agencies should have more decision-making powers and a higher degree of autonomy. In this respect, the Accessibility and Competitiveness of European Audiovisual Works from Small Language Environments study (Wagner-Hatfield 2021) once again highlighted a weakness of the Slovenian system: the regulatory frameworks for film and audiovisual production at the national and local level have not yet been adapted to the digital and global realities. The study in question emphasised that the Slovenian national film agency (Slovenian Film Centre) should be transformed from a state-controlled administrator of budgetary funds, dedicated to predominantly cinematographic works with high cultural and artistic value, into a film development agency that both supports and promotes artistic creation as well as attracts investments. In order to achieve both goals, it is crucial that the reform supports its independence and institutional and human capacity.
The third part of the conference will focus on presenting the Estonian Film Institute (EFI), established in 2013 as the successor of the Estonian Film Foundation (1997), which covers a wider range of film sector management activities and tasks. The EFI has been set up as a modern institution tasked with managing the entire complex spectrum of film and audiovisual activities. Today, the EFI’s primary strategic objective is, first and foremost, to remain accessible to all filmmakers and ensure that Estonian film remains the pride of the national culture, as well as, last but not least, to evolve in step with the times so that Estonian film can become even more visible and competitive in the international arena.