Ukrainian Film Funding Suffers as the Economy Struggles

AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

Less than half of the money the government promised has been actually provided

As state funding for Ukrainian filmmakers was cut down substantially this year, the filmmakers lack $19.4 million (300 million hryvnias) to complete projects in progress and launch new ones.

"Initially, the government was supposed to distribute 57.3 million hryvnias [$3.7 million] among film producers, but so far, we have only received 23.9 million hryvnias [$1.5 million]," a spokesman for Ukraine's state film agency, which administers government cash, told The Hollywood Reporter.

The original figure was issued before this March's Maidan revolution, which toppled president Viktor Yanukovych. However, following the change of the political regime and military clashes with separatists in Eastern Ukraine, the economy found itself in a dire financial state. Consequently, film funding turned out to be among the government's lower priorities.

Still, even if the entire sum allocated for film funding had been disbursed, it wouldn't have been enough.

To complete 22 projects in various production stages, Ukraine's film industry needs $19.4 million (300 million hryvnias), Goskino head Filipp Ilyenko was quoted as saying by the Ukrainian news agency UNN.

"If funding doesn't arrive, [the industry] will be thrown back by 10 to 15 years," he went on to say.

According to Ilyenko, Goskino is looking for ways for the filmmakers to become less dependent on government cash and has come up with a development strategy for the industry and a set of privileges for investors.

However, in the current economy, attracting private investment to the film sector is likely to be difficult.

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