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Slovak film biz on the up

'Janosik' skedded, new cash-raising law pending

KARLOVY VARY — Polish director Agnieszka Holland and her co-helmer daughter Kasia Adamik will begin principal photography October 15 on “Janosik,” Slovakia’s biggest budget production to date and the first Slovak film to be shot in cinemascope.

With a budget of between 130-150 million Slovak crowns, or over $4 million, the film is a co-production between Slovakia (Charlie’s), the Czech Republic (InFilm) and Poland (Apple Film), with Hungary expected to come on board by the end of July.

Producer Rudolf Biermann told Daily Variety he is in negotiations with independent distributor SPI to pick up theatrical rights for all four territories.

The Slovak ministry of culture is supporting the film to the tune of $1.5 million.

Slovak film can expect to see an increase of government funding soon. Slovak minister of culture Milan Knazko told Daily Variety, “We have prepared a new law on cinematography, with support coming from TV and distributors.”

The law is expected to pass a vote in parliament next week. Under the new law, commercial TV stations will pay 3% of their profits into a film fund. Film distributors will contribute 1.5% of sales from cinema tickets, while the current city taxes on cinema tickets will be eliminated.

Knazko said the ministry will have an annual fund of $3 million, with seven films slated to receive support over the next two years.

The proposed legislation is the first positive signal for Slovak producers and directors following a financing slump that was compounded by mismanagement of the Koliba film studio by its former owners.

Biermann, Slovakia’s most active film producer, said he has five more pics in various stages of production.

They include the long-awaited “I Served the King of England,” to be directed by Oscar-nominee Jan Hrebejk (“Divided We Fall”), and a new film by leading Slovak helmer Martin Sulik (“The Garden”). Sulik’s film, with a story set in the U.S., will mark his English language debut.

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