Slovenian festival might close

Event threatened by failed funding promise

MOSCOW — A small Slovenian film festival with a growing reputation among critics and directors is threatened with closure after a key government cultural body broke a funding promise.

The Kino Otok Isola Cinema Festival, due to open its fifth edition in the town of Isola on May 29, had been offered a $16,000 grant — half last year’s amount — by the Slovenian Film Fund.

When the fest’s Belgian-born director, Koen Van Daele, asked the Slovenian Film Fund to reconsider, it responded by withdrawing all support.

“The proposal of the Slovenian Film Fund to cut all funding for the Isola Cinema Festival — arguing that ‘its content is inappropriate for co-financing’ — is not only a gross injustice, it is also an insult to film culture,” Van Daele said in an emailed statement.

The original funding pledge last January was accompanied by a statement highly rating the success of the festival.

In the letter overturning that decision, Van Daele was told that a new funding commission had a considerably lower opinion of the festival.

“Cutting all national funding of Isola Cinema severely jeopardizes the future of one of the most important international film festivals in Slovenia,” Van Daele said.

A spokeswoman for the Slovenian Ministry of Culture confirmed the sequence of events but refused further comment.

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