NEW STRENGTHS OF AN OLD PLAYER
SERBIAN FILM INDUSTRY RETURNS TO CANNES THIS YEAR AS A DEFINITELY STRONGER INTERNATIONAL PLAYER. MEDIA DESK SERBIA WAS FINALLY LAUNCHED IN MARCH 2016, AND THE LONG-GESTATING INCENTIVE SCHEME KICK-STARTED IN APRIL, WITH THE FIRST CALL FOR PROJECTS OPEN UNTIL SEPTEMBER 30TH.
THE SCHEME has the form of a 20% cash rebate on qualified local spending, and there is no cap per project. The 2016 budget is €3.2 m, distributed on a “first come, first served” basis. Interesting specifics include eligibility of TV ads with a minimum of €100,000 spending. A rebate for post-production is also available, even if it is not executed in Serbia. Another very attractive feature is the quick investment return: the cash rebate can be received as early as 60 days following the audit and approval of the request. More details can be found on the website of the Serbia Film Commission, which developed and lobbied for the incentive on: www.filminserbia.com/filming-in-serbia/incentives/ Another positive development is the return of official national film awards, for the first time since 2007. The Belgrade Victor awards are given out at Serbia’s biggest festival, the Belgrade FEST, which, after decades, transformed from a “festival of festivals” into a competitive event. Nikola Ljuca’s Humidity was the big winner this year, bagging best film, best director and best actor for Miloš Timotijević. As the institutional infrastructure of Serbian cinema is consolidating, the Film Centre Serbia (FCS) director Boban Jevtić says: “The priority for the upcoming period is to stabilize the production level and continuity of state funds, to strengthen our position in the region, to elevate education and international networking of young producers, and to secure legal framework with the aim to develop our national film industry.” In 2015 Serbia produced 22 fiction feature films (2 less than in 2014), out of which 4 majority and 6 minority co-productions. The last public competition for minority co-productions funding finished in March 2016, and the FCS supported 10 feature-length projects from the 6 countries that Serbia most frequently works with: Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Romania. Serbia used to be one of the rare European countries where domestic releases regularly overperformed Hollywood