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Ukraine’s cash-strapped state agency for cinema is unable to fund any new projects, with meager funds released to filmmakers this year earmarked for completion of movies already in production.
Although the agency held a contest for new projects last December, even those that received the best grades from experts will have to wait for state cash.
The $2.7 million (63.8 million hryvnias) slated for filmmakers this year is not even going to cover the cinema agency’s obligations for funding projects from last year. Under earlier contracts, the agency is to pay out $5.2 million (120.7 million hryvnias) this year, reporter Ukrainian online newspaper Gazeta.ua.
Among Ukrainian directors who are waiting for state cash to launch new projects is Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, whose movie Plemya (The Tribe) won the Critics Week Grand Prize in Cannes last year. His new project, Luxemburg, took part in the cinema agency’s contest and was among those that were highly praised by the experts.
Ukraine’s film funding system collapsed last year when, after the ouster of president Viktor Yanukovych, Russia annexed Crimea and pro-Russian separatists in the country’s Southeast began armed clashes with government forces.
As part of austerity measures, last year’s budget of the cinema agency was reduced, causing several projects to come to a halt.
Meanwhile, the agency confirmed it is looking for ways to improve the funding situation for the film industry.
“The cinema agency, together with the culture ministry, are taking all efforts to ensure stable funding for the [film] industry within budgetary constraints, also looking for alternative sources of support for the national cinema,” said Filipp Ilyenko, head of the cinema agency, in a statement on the organization’s website.
Earlier this year, the idea of introducing an exhibition tax on foreign films was discussed but hasn’t yet been made into a law.
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