Ukraine Reinstates State Film Funding

AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

The amount available will be roughly half of the original sum, with one proposal calling for a tax that Internet providers would have to pay to boost the available financing.

MOSCOW – The Ukrainian government has decided to bring back state funding for the film sector, but the amount will be cut almost in half this year.

Meanwhile, local parliament members have proposed an extra 3 percent tax that would be levied on Internet providers as a source of additional funding for the film sector. They are also suggesting a 5 percent tax on film exhibitors and distributors.

According to a government document published by Ukrainian newspaper Kommentarii, the country for now plans to spend $5.7 million (67.6 million hryvnas) on funding the national film industry this year, down from the originally earmarked sum of $9.7 million (115 million hryvnas).

However, the move is still seen as good news for Ukrainian filmmakers as they haven't collected any money at all since state funding stopped following the revolution that toppled former president Viktor Yanukovych in February. The state funds are for film production.

Lack of state cash, on which the Ukrainian film sector has heavily depended for the last few years, put the industry into a state of uncertainty for several months, causing some projects to be put on hold.

Meanwhile, the position of the head of the state film agency remains vacant since Katerina Kopylova, who was credited for launching major reforms in the sector, was sacked in February. Many in the industry fear that the reforms, aimed at making the industry more transparent and efficient, may not continue under her successor.

With state funding declining, Ukrainian filmmakers could still get access to new sources of funding. Parliament members Igor Miroshnichenko and Alexander Mirny proposed the extra 3 percent tax on Internet providers and a 5 percent tax on film distributors and exhibitors, which could be spent on supporting local filmmakers.