Like other arthouse distributors in Eastern Europe, Natasa Bucar, film project manager at Cankarjev Dom, in Ljubljana, Slovenia, has to fight to maintain a niche for indie film in the face of the Hollywood behemoth.“In Slovenian cinemas, European and other world films vanish in the face of Hollywood’s dominance. Non-U.S. films represent less than 15% of the market share, which means that our acquisitions must be very selective: We tend to choose arthouse films, new upcoming directors and sometimes European festival winners.” As programmer and organizer of Slovenia’s top international cinema showcase, the Ljubljana Intl. Film Festival, Bucar also distributes the festival’s winner — a recent example is “Kebab Connection,” which, Bucar says, did very well locally. Bucar’s company distributes between five and six titles a year, concentrating on international auteur-driven fare. Recent titles have included”You, the Living,” “Lady Chatterley” and “This Is England.” But niche pics remain a tough sell in Slovenia, which has a tiny domestic industry and falling attendance. “Audiences tend to focus on fewer films, with the top 20 taking up to half of box office share in Slovenia,” Bucar says. “The basic distribution costs are very high, especially for art films. That often means there is little money left for promotion and marketing.” Company, like other Slovenian distributors, does get some help from the ministry of culture and the EU Media program, but Bucar believes that only “an active arthouse cinema network” would help promote more non-Hollywood films in her territory.
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