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Eurimages to fund digitization

Theaters in SE Europe to receive projectors

SARAJEVO — Movie theaters in South-east Europe that are part of a Eurimages support network are to be given the chance to subsidize the installation of digital projectors.

The program, which will offer a Euros 20,000 ($26,000) grant toward the cost of digitization, is due to be launched later this year.

The initiative, which emerged from an industry forum held last year at the Sarajevo Film Festival’s Cinelink event, will enable each of the 37 cinemas in the existing Eurimages network in Bosnia, Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey to equip one screen each.

With a budget of $1.3 million, the scheme has the capacity to equip up to 50 screens. Grants will be paid directly to equipment suppliers after successful installation.

“Eurimages felt there should be some kind of systematic assistance to help exhibitors finance the purchase of equipment,” Isabel Castro, deputy executive secretary of Eurimages said at a Cinelink presentation of the project in Sarajevo Wednesday.

The equipment, which must be 3D compatible and meet strict quality standards, and include training and warranty guarantees, will be sourced following a call for tenders from the Strasbourg, France-based organization for suppliers, due to be issued in September.

Eurimages screening requirements, which stipulate a minimum number of European and local films that have to be shown, will not change for those exhibitors taking advantage of the digitization scheme, although digital screenings will need to make clear that they have been supported by Eurimages.

The network of Eurimages cinemas includes a total of 146 screens, some of which are already digital. Cinemas that already have an element of digitalization will still be eligible to apply for grant funding, although only one screen per cinema will be accepted for the support scheme.

The deadline for the first round of applications for the scheme is mid-January 2011.

Jovan Marjanovic, director of Cinelink and the Bosnian national representative for Eurimages, said the scheme met a need first identified during a round table discussion at last year’s Sarajevo Film Festival.

Among this year’s priorities for discussion with the producers, distributors and other professionals who attend Cinelink was to examine the possibility of establishing a South-east European regional co-production fund, he added.

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