Slovakia to increase its cash rebate
- The country is now in the same category as Hungary, Poland, Estonia and the Netherlands in terms of providing audiovisual production support
“It’s a big day for the audiovisual industry in Slovakia,” announced the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic as the parliament approved the amendments to the audiovisual law. The cash rebate will be increased from 20% to 33% for film and television projects realised on the country’s soil, as of 1 January 2020. “I am convinced that every euro that we manage to steer in the right direction will return back into Slovakia’s economy manyfold in the future. At the same time, I see a great opportunity to increase Slovakia’s reputation within the film industry,” said Minister of Culture Ľubica Laššáková. The ministry added that supporting the audiovisual industry means “supporting an important, long-term, sustainable industry that creates cultural products with high added value”. Slovakia will thus join the same category as Hungary, Poland, Estonia and the Netherlands in terms of its provision of film and television support.
Martin Šmatlák, the director of the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, the country’s main public funding institution for the audiovisual industry and audiovisual culture, sees the rise in the cash rebate as an important step in the development of the country’s audiovisual industry. In discussion with Cineuropa, Šmatlák noted that the domestic film industry is dependent on public funding to a large degree, and one of the goals of increasing the cash rebate is also to motivate private investors to invest in independent production in its entirety, including distribution. He adds that such an action is necessary to maintain the competitiveness and boost the growth of the domestic audiovisual industry. “We expect it to help extend and improve the quality of Slovakia’s audiovisual infrastructure [and] increase foreign film crews’ interest in shooting in Slovakia, which can boost the competitiveness of Slovakia as a film country on the international stage as well as strengthen the position of Slovakian production companies in terms of international co-productions,” he told Cineuropa. “In these times of the immense expansion of streaming colossi like Netflix and Amazon, which are moving their production more into Europe, the rise of the cash rebate to 33% is proof that Slovakia is an audiovisually attractive and developed country,” the head of the Slovak Film Institute, Rastislav Steranka, told Cineuropa, adding that he is certain that such an increase makes sense not only from a short-term point of view, but also, and especially, from a strategic perspective.
The minimum expenses required to qualify for the cash rebate are €300,000 for television features, series or slates of films (with a maximum of three movies per slate), or €150,000 for a feature, documentary or animated film, to be spent in Slovakia over a period of three years following the project’s registration. There is no budget cap on eligible costs, and no requirement to guarantee theatrical or non-theatrical distribution in the country. Among the projects shot on Slovakian soil so far is Out Stealing Horses [+see also:
interview: Hans Petter Moland
film profile], starring Stellan Skarsgård and directed by Hans Petter Moland, which is the Norwegian bid for the Oscar nomination for Best International Feature Film; Amazon’s web series Hanna, directed by Sarah Adina Smith; the Jennifer Lawrence-starring Red Sparrow; and season 2 of Netflix’s Marco Polo.
“Slovakia has become more competitive, and I am already seeing foreign partners’ interest when there is the option of receiving a 33% cash rebate,” Peter Badač, producer at BFILM, said to Cineuropa. Badač added that he hopes the increase in the cash rebate will also motivate investors to fill in the missing links in the film production chain.
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