Ukraine's Film Industry Pushes for Extra Tax on Foreign Distribution

Empty Movie Theater - Generic Image - 2011
Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images

Revenues from the tax are to be spent on the national film sector, which is desperate for cash.

Ukraine's cash-strapped film industry is pushing for a tax on distribution of foreign films, revenues from which would be spent to finance local film production.

"This is a necessary step," Filipp Ilyenko, head of Ukraine's state cinema agency and the main proponent of the idea, was quoted as saying by the news agency RBC Ukraine. "Without this step, I don't see any prospects for development of the Ukrainian film industry."

"We need to be clear about this," he went on to say. "Either we introduce the tax, or we don't have a national film industry."

The proposal to introduce a tax of between 2 and 5 percent on all foreign films distributed in Ukraine came at a time when the government, faced with major economic problems on top of a military conflict with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, is unable to provide as much cash for the film sector as it used to.

State funding, earmarked for Ukraine's film industry this year, is going to hit its the lowest figure since 2010.

Among other proposals aimed at raising cash for the national film industry was a dramatic raise in fees for exhibition licenses issued to foreign movies, but the idea couldn't find enough support.

A bill introducing a tax on distribution of foreign films is currently being prepared by the Ukrainian government. To become a law, it will have to be adopted by the Supreme Rada, Ukraine's parliament.