Lo­cal film­mak­ers left on the cut­ting room floor

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - CYPRUS -

The lo­cal film in­dus­try is frus­trated over the lit­tle sup­port it re­ceives from the state, while the govern­ment is chas­ing af­ter big pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies such as Para­mount and Pinewood stu­dios.

Cyprus held a Film Sum­mit this week to present for­eign film com­pa­nies with a re­im­burse­ment and tax in­cen­tive scheme aim­ing to at­tract them to the is­land.

But lo­cal direc­tors said Wed­nes­day’s sum­mit has left them on the cut­ting room floor.

While ex­cited over the prospect of big film­mak­ers com­ing to the is­land, the Direc­tors’ Guild of Cyprus feels that this is just an­other ex­am­ple how the lo­cal in­dus­try is be­ing ne­glected.

The govern­ment is pro­mot­ing leg­is­la­tion which will see for­eign film­mak­ers re­im­bursed with 35% of ex­penses made dur­ing film­ing on the is­land, or tax re­bates if pre­ferred, which the guild claims suits only big stu­dio pro­duc­tions.

Daina Pa­padaki, the Pres­i­dent of the Guild told the Fi­nan­cial Mir­ror, that the pre­con­di­tions set by the govern­ment for one to be el­i­gi­ble un­der the pro­posed scheme ex­cludes the vast ma­jor­ity of Cypriot film­mak­ers. She ar­gues that re­im­burse­ments and tax re­bates are given only to com­pa­nies which have pro­duced two films in the past five years.

“This not only ex­cludes in­di­vid­u­als, but the ma­jor­ity of Cypriot film­mak­ers. How many Cypriot pro­duc­ers have made more than one movie in the past five years? In Ger­many, which is a much big­ger mar­ket, the cri­te­ria of the equiv­a­lent scheme are one movie in five years,” said Pa­padaki.

“Due to the fact that the state has not ad­e­quately sup­ported our in­dus­try over time, nor has it given in­cen­tives to sup­port pri­vate fi­nanc­ing of Cypriot films, the fre­quency of the pro­duc­tion of Cypriot films and their an­nual pro­duc­tion is so small that it is al­most im­pos­si­ble for Cypriot pro­duc­ers to meet this cri­te­rion,” she added.

The Guild feels that it has been ig­nored dur­ing the draft­ing of the scheme, de­spite hav­ing of­fered their ex­per­tise to au­thor­i­ties they did not re­ceive an an­swer.

“We did not even re­ceive an in­vi­ta­tion for the sum­mit un­til we re­quested one,” said Pa­padaki.

The Guild said it wel­comed the scheme and would sup­port it, but added it should not only aim at at­tract­ing in­ter­na­tional pro­duc­tions, but also re­in­force the lo­cal in­dus­try, which should be up­graded and con­sulted about such cam­paigns.

“This is what we’ve been wait­ing for so many years,” said Pa­padaki.

“The event is a step­ping stone to ini­ti­at­ing a broad un­der­stand­ing in the in­ter­na­tional film world that we are here and up and run­ning.”

How­ever, un­der the pro­posed cri­te­ria, for­eign stu­dios can eas­ily go ahead with pro­duc­tions on their own with­out en­ter­ing into a part­ner­ship with Cypriot film­mak­ers or even em­ploy­ing Cypri­ots ac­tive in the lo­cal au­dio­vi­sual in­dus­try.

“Other coun­tries de­mand that for­eign com­pa­nies co-pro­duce films shot on their ter­ri­tory, while Croa­tia has a clause that fore­sees a min­i­mum of 30% of peo­ple em­ployed for the pro­duc­tion must come from the lo­cal work­force,” said Pa­padaki.

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