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The Slovenian Film Centre publishes a study on the accessibility and competitiveness of European audiovisual works from small language environments

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The research provided a number of key findings in terms of public funding, incentives and film policies

The Slovenian Film Centre publishes a study on the accessibility and competitiveness of European audiovisual works from small language environments
Slovenian Film Centre managing director Nataša Bučar during the conference (© Nebojša Tejić/STA)

The Slovenian Film Centre has published new research, compiled by Wagner Hatfield. The document was presented by the Slovenian Film Centre’s managing director, Nataša Bučar, at a two-day conference entitled “How to Increase the Accessibility and Competitiveness of European Audiovisual and Media Content”, held in Ljubljana on 12 and 13 October.

The report, entitled “Study on the Accessibility and Competitiveness of European Audiovisual Works from Small Language Environments”, is mainly based on the analysis of “six small countries and communities with languages spoken by a limited number of people or with other market limitations”, which have managed to implement successful or promising film policies.

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The French- and Flemish-speaking communities of Belgium were selected because they are similar in size to Slovenia, and both implemented a variety of measures aimed at financing and promoting creative content – in particular, the introduction of financial or investment obligations for non-domestic audiovisual media service (AVMS) providers. Lithuania was chosen for its increased visibility over the last decade (defined as a “renaissance” in the original document), with a “significant increase in domestic audience” and a “growth in both domestic and foreign production”. While smaller in size, Luxembourg was chosen owing to its funding “not limited to defending specific cultural objectives” and its “good practices in the promotion of cross-border circulation, accessibility and findability of European audiovisual works and works in local languages”. The Icelandic market was examined for similar reasons, and because its language is used nowhere else in Europe. Finally, Ireland was the sixth case study used in the research, owing to “its functional variety of audiovisual policy instruments”: Gaelic is spoken nowhere else in Europe, and the local industry has been heavily influenced by “its proximity to the large UK market”. It is also expected that the proposed introduction of monetary obligations for non-domestic AVMS providers could bring an annual sum of €25 million to the local independent sector.

In Chapter 4 of the report, each case study was examined with a special focus being placed on the policy and governance framework, market and industry trends, description of the main funds and subsidies, existence of fiscal incentives and of investment obligations and levies, as well as the presence of other instruments and contributing factors to creating a favourable audiovisual ecosystem.

In Chapter 5, the cross-country comparative analysis allowed some key findings to be highlighted. Regarding public intervention, the report welcomed the governments’ “proactive stance in the development of national audiovisual industries by implementing a wide variety of policies and measures supported by various public bodies and other institutions”. The most successful players, however, managed to “go beyond the logic of social corrective and the means to support niche artistic creation that cannot be marketed”, thus “treating public funds as an investment in the creative industry at large to promote its competitiveness, while also safeguarding its quality and cultural relevance”. Favourable production ecosystems, the report argues, do not rely predominantly on public funding and are supported by policies “that are flexible and respond quickly to rapid market changes”. Moreover, it states that the most successful smaller industries have reformed top-down governance models, gearing them towards more participatory approaches.

Speaking about foreign investments and co-productions, the study noted that tax incentives such as reimbursement schemes and, especially, tax shelters represent major boosts. Furthermore, hosting foreign productions has a positive impact not only on the domestic audiovisual industry, but also on other economic sectors, such as tourism, catering, transportation and other technical services. These productions are often larger in size compared to the projects staged locally, “and can thus bring higher direct and indirect fiscal revenues, employment of film professionals and earnings of other companies providing services in film locations, as well as benefits for municipalities and citizens”.

In conclusion, the research finds that the export potential of national audiovisual sectors can be strengthened by “the openness of the countries’ public support schemes to audiovisual formats and forms of creation other than films, such as TV fiction and, increasingly, games”, by creating conditions that will enable the right environment for fostering talent (“through funds, coaching and educational opportunities”) and by developing key infrastructure, such as hubs, post-production facilities and incubators.

In Chapter 6, the authors of the study offered tailor-made policy recommendations for Slovenia.

The full document can be accessed here.

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