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Croatian Cinema — Research Report

An extensive research of the ’state of art’ in Croatian cinema field was undertaken in 2000-2001 by the state independent research company, Strata Research, Zagreb. The project was supported by the Regional Culture Office — Open Society Institute (Croatia) grant and coordinated by Albert Kapović and Hrvoje Turković. The research included 18 experts from different fields of cinema. Here is a summary of the report.

STATE OF ART. Croatia is a country of a very small cinema (and general) market (cc 120 cinemas; with a decline in attendance), so that there are very limited fields of enterprise that can be self-sustaining on the market (mostly services: renting of equipment, expert services, commercials, music clips; media publicity; distribution of films, commercial cinemas, video-rentals). Most of cinema enterprises are subvention dependent: main film production (feature films, short film production), non-commercial distribution and film presentation, education, and publications (non-mass media).

Main source of subvention for different cinematic activities is the state — the allocation of state budget money through different Ministries (mainly through the Ministry of Culture; but also — for education — through the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Science). Other main source of support is a customary participation in production (co production) of feature films by the main TV company Croatian Radio-Television (HRT; public television). The Ministry of Culture money is distributed to the projects (film-production projects; non-commercial presentation programs; festival programs; amateur activity programs; publication programs — magazines, books...) by expert commissioners (an individual or a group). In the last two years the Ministry of Culture has allocated to the cinema field activities a budget of cc 4.033.000 EUR.

Production consists of 5 feature films and up to 200 short films and videos per year (rough estimation). In the nineties the Ministry of Culture support for short films was blocked (with the exception of animated films), but from 2000 on (with new government and new Minister of Culture) short film-production support has been reinstated — specifically for short documentaries, short features, animated films and experimental film/video production. On the basis of public tenders, individual commissioners for each kind of films (feature films; short films, film animation and experimental production) are deciding which project will be supported.
There is an important output of non-professional and individual artistic production in video and film, mostly out of the State support system.

Technical basis of cinema (both production and theatrical presentation) is very varied. Though there is some new equipment in use, there is a prevalence of the out-of date and overused one. Most of the film production is performed in electronic media; only a small ratio of films is produced originally on film medium.

Television (specifically Croatian Radio Television, HRT) is the biggest production source of film and video works, and the main exhibitor of films. It is also a highly important co producer of feature films and graduation films by the students of the Academy of Dramatic Art, Zagreb. But, the HRT participation is individually negotiated; there is no formal systematic regulation for these TV-film collaborations.

Film production education is present in several guises. One is through formal schooling, another is through informal courses and workshops. On the university level artistic film production is taught at the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb, Zagreb University (four year study in the following departments: film and TV directing, film and TV cinematography, film and TV editing, theatrical and film dramaturgy, theatrical and film production management); at the Art Academy in Zagreb, Zagreb University (four year animation study, and two year media study), at the Art Academy in Split, Split University (three year film/video design study), at the School of Architecture, Zagreb University (several courses in film and TV within Design study). There is a summer workshop in feature film script writing, documentary production, and production management at the international Imaginary Academy in Grožnjan (Istria, Croatia), and many workshops and courses organized by the Croatian Film Clubs’ Association (within the Summer Media School in Trakošćan), or by its member ciné-clubs (one or several weeks courses, for children and for adults on the association’s premises).

Film study is not taught autonomously, but only as a course within other studies at the level of the University. The oldest course is one taught at the Comparative literature studies at the Faculty of Philosophy, Zagreb University, and it is also taught at the Teacher Education Academy in Zagreb, as well as at other teacher education colleges. Also, film study subjects are taught as auxiliary subjects within the production studies.
At the elementary and high school level film is taught mostly within the subject Croatian language and literature (under the media education topic), and within the visual arts subject. However, it is mostly neglected, partly because of the overburdened teaching curriculum, and partly because of the lack of media teaching equipment and film stock.

There are no systematic editions of film books and magazines in any professional publishing house in Croatia. The exception are three institutions that have — as one of their activity — publishing of books and other kinds of printed material, and they do publish titles on film on a regular basis (Croatian Archive; Croatian Film Clubs’ Association, and Vedis, production, distribution and publishing company). There are three specialized film magazines: Croatian Cinema Chronicle and Entry (published by Croatian Film Clubs’ Association), and Hollywood (published by Vedis).

Media publicity in the field of cinema is quite widespread and generally satisfactory (many young educated film critics have found their jobs in daily and weekly papers, weekly magazines, radio and TV programs).

There are two archives: one state archive Croatian Cinemateque (member of FIAF) at the Croatian State Archive, and INDOK archive department at Croatian Radio Television (HRT). There are also some registered archival collections.

PROBLEMS. The basic problem of Croatian cinema is its heavy dependence on state support sources. Another problem is the unsettled legislative situation, partly caused by the lack of a long-term strategic vision of the future development of Croatian cinema. There is also a shortage of institutions and offices necessary for a good cultural policy. For example, there is no office with a central data-base of Croatian cinema, nor an office able to mediate information about Croatian cinema to interested parties. There is no network for non-commercial distribution and exposition of art films and videos. Promotional activities concerning Croatian films and other cinema related cultural products (publications, e. g.) are not being seriously considered, if at all. There are neither laws nor ordinances that would regulate the very important issue of relations between the cinema and television. Croatian cinema is in ’autistic’ state in regard to the surrounding cinema world, lacking in co-productions with Europe, and not being relevantly involved in European integrative processes.


On the project and researchers; 1. Introduction; 1.1. General conditions and future prospects; 1.2. A summary of basic data; 1. 3. Some open problems; 2. The State legislative; 2.1. Overview of legislative fields; 2.2. The Cinema Law; 2.3. The Cultural Board Law; 2.4. The Croatian Radio Television Law; 2.5. Other stimulating laws and ordinances; 3. State and regional bodies relevant to the cinema; 3.1. The Ministry of Culture; 3.2. The Zagreb City Office for Culture; 3.3. Regional offices of culture; 4. Cinema field structure — the state of art (1996-2000); 4.1. Production; 4.1.1. General overview; 4.1.2. Production companies; 4.1.3. Noncommercial, artistic or/and educationally oriented production programs; 4.2. Commercial and noncommercial distribution; 4.3. Film exhibitions; 4.3.1. Commercial theaters and their attendance; 4.3.2. Video films lending; 4.3.3. Films on television; 4.3.4. Noncommercial and culture promoting exhibitions; 4.3.5. Festivals; 4.4. Education; 4.4.1. General overview; 4.4.2. University education in artistic cinema/video production; 4.4.3. High and elementary education; 4.4.4. Courses, workshops, summer schools; 4.5. Archives; 4.5.1. The Croatian Cinemateque (Hrvatska kinoteka); 4.5.2. INDOK — Archive of Croatian Radio Television (HRT); 4. 6. Associations, societies, guilds; 4.6.1. Societies of experts (guilds); 4.6.2. Associations of more general cultural profile; 4.8. Publications; 4.8.1. Publication of cinema books; 4.8.2. Publication of specialist film magazines; 4.8.3. Media publicity; 5. Television and cinema; 6. ADDENDA; 6.1. Central sources on Croatian cinema; 6.2. Relevant laws and ordinances (a selection); 6.3. International memberships; 6.4. ADDRESS BOOK: 6.4.1. Main state bodies; 6.4.2. Production companies; 6.4.3. Art organizations (with film production); 6.4.4. Distributors; 6.4.5. Television companies; 6.4.6. Cable television (with concession); 6.4.7. Festivals/Revues; 6.4.8. Noncommercial presentations; 6.4.9. Archives; 6.4.10. Higher education, seminars, workshops; 6.4.11. Societies, associations; 6.4.12. Registered ciné-clubs; 6.4.13. Film magazines and yearbooks

Hrvoje Turković


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