STA, 20 October 2020 - Slovenian filmmakers have made an urgent appeal to the government, the head of state and Human Rights Ombudsman in a bid to have the government release the approved funding for films, some of which have already been made but those working on them have still not been paid.
In an appeal sent out of Monday, the Association of Slovenian Filmmakers (Filmski producenti Slovenije) calls for an end to "the blockade of Slovenian cinematography", warning that the chronic lack of funding and the coronavirus pandemic is making the alarming state of the film industry worse by the day.
The reason for the situation is the hold-up of funds approved in the state budget for 2019 and 2020 under the previous government and confirmed in the revised budget for 2020 under the current government: "Those are payments based on contracts signed between the Slovenian Film Centre (SFC) and producers in 2018 and 2019, which the Culture Ministry has endorsed and put forward for confirmation by the government."
The appeal notes that the Culture Ministry put forward three claims for funds to the government between 13 March and 31 August, one for EUR 837,995, which was endorsed in early April, one for EUR 536,873 to fund ten projects in 2020 and 2021, and one for EUR 2.62 million for 21 projects this year and the next.
The association notes that work on most of the projects started a while ago and that some films had already been shot in 2019 or early this year, while some, in particular co-productions, have already had successful international releases.
"What they all have in common is that the creators and other workers have not yet been paid for the work they have done (even as far back as November 2019) and that ongoing projects cannot be completed because of the hold-up in funding," reads the appeal.
The SFC has managed to get less than one-fifth of the funds approved in the 2020 budget.
As a result film production planned for this year is all but on hold, as is most of pre-production and production for at least next two years, while most of those who have worked on 31 projects for which payments have been suspended have not been paid since November 2019.
Many of those have ended up without their livelihoods: even those who applied for a basic monthly income allowance, have been approved aid for two months and a half at the most, reads the release.
Furthermore, the filmmakers note that no new calls for projects have been published and even some of those published last year have not been completed yet, while the second wave of coronavirus is taking further toll on the audiovisual sector.
Unless the government approves funds already committed at the next session, the filmamkers plan to notify relevant international institutions.