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Slovak film industry facing multi-million economic fallout due to pandemic

Bratislava, Slovakia – Slovakia’s film industry, as in many other countries across Europe, is facing an unprecedented crisis and a multi-million economic fallout due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Covid-19 pandemic takes a toll on Slovakia’s film industry

Based on the data gathered from the Slovak audiovisual industry, Slovakia’s Association of Independent Producers (ANP) and the Creative Industry Forum published details of the estimated financial losses the sector might have to suffer by the year’s end, painting a harrowing and bleak picture for the months to come.

According to their forecasts, Slovakia’s audiovisual industry could experience a nearly €60 million decline in 2020, including an estimated fallout of €43 million in production and over €15 million in film distribution.

Revenues from foreign productions (international or cross-national), whose investment was estimated pre-crisis at €3 million, are also expected to take a hit as production schedules are still on hold and cross-border cooperation could remain blocked for months.

Last year, Slovakia had increased from 20% to 33% its cash rebate for television and movie productions filmed in the country in a bid to attract regional and international film crews. Among other projects scheduled to film in the country in 2020, Netflix’s hit-show The Witcher was supposed to shoot some scenes of its highly anticipated second season in Slovakia.

Closed early March after the government declared a state of emergency to slow down the spread of coronavirus, cinemas and other screening halls are also severely threatened, according to the report.

On April 22 – or 43 days after cinemas closed down – Slovak film distribution’s losses were estimated at more than €4 million, and will only further increase as long as cinemas remain shut.

A multi-million economic fallout in Slovakia and beyond

If cinemas remain closed until the end of June 2020, the loss will surpass €11 million, “bearing in mind that even after loosening the measures and re-establishing the organization of cultural events, cinema attendances is expected to be deep under average”, warns CineEuropa, which published a brief summary of the report.

Overall estimated fallout in revenues for film distribution stand at some €20 million for the entire year.

The Slovak Culture Ministry is holding discussions with the audiovisual sector and is expected to present a set of proposals to support the local film industry.

Slovakia, of course, isn’t the only country whose audiovisual industry is expected to sharply decline this year due to the sanitary and health crisis. Neighbouring Czech Republic too, where cinemas are set to be among the first in Europe to reopen on Monday, is expecting film production to drop by at least 75% in 2020.

Meanwhile, Poland recently unveiled plans to introduce a 1.5% surcharge on video-on-demand platforms, dubbed the “Netflix tax”, as part of its anti-coronavirus relief measures to support the Polish movie industry.

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