Good news for all the members of the Serbia Film Commission! On 31 January, the Serbian minister of culture and information, Mr. Vladan Vukosavljević, signed the revised version of the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production in Rotterdam. This now enables Serbia to participate in co-productions even with non-European countries.
This event is of high relevance for movie makers in Serbia, especially having in mind that some of the most prominent movie making centers are established in non-European countries.
The European convention on cinematographic co-production originally dates from 1992, it entered into force in 1994 and was enacted under the auspices of the Council of Europe. As it was explained in the official presentation of the Council of Europe, its aim was predominantly the promotion of development of European multilateral cinematographic co-production. Besides, the Convention strives to protect and safeguard freedom of expression and multicultural diversity of the European society.
The Convention always tended to facilitate co-production ventures, but provided for a certain mandatory census regarding the characteristics of such ventures. For example, for a certain venture to be considered a co-production, it must involve at least three co-producers, established in three different countries which are parties to the Convention. However, it was possible that one or more co-producers which are not established in countries which are parties to the Convention participate, provided that their total contribution does not exceed 30% of the total cost of production.
This revised text, however, brings changes when it comes to minimal percentage of national presence in co-production projects, lowering the bar to 10-20% in bilateral co-productions and only 5% in multilateral ventures. Such correction might bring nothing but benefit to the film industry since it is predicted that many Serbian producers will look out for Eurimage members to form partnerships. Consequently, the national audio-visual industry support funds will be better distributed and less pressured.
Finally, as stated in the official statement of the Government of Serbia, this Convention also facilitates conditions prescribed for majority participation in co-productions, allowing for a percentage of 80% instead of the previous 50% in multilateral ventures and 90% in bilateral co-productions.
Last, but not the least important perk of this act is the fact that the Republic of Serbia now gets a chance to keep stride with the most important technical novelties and developments in the audio-visual business. Having a chance to cooperate with the most important members of the movie making business in Europe and worldwide, Serbia is coming back to the world movie scene in the steps of the ex-Yugoslavian cinematography.
It seems we might watch some pretty good movies this year. Popcorn anyone?
By Milan Samardzic, Partner, and Katarina Grga, Associate, SOG / Samardzic, Oreski & Grbovic