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Croatian filmmakers launch campaign to free industry of government interference

Croatian filmmakers launch campaign to free industry of government interference
Scene from Croatia's entry for the 2017 Academy Awards On the Other Side, 2016, dir. Zrinko Ogresta

21 February 2017

An initiative by members of the Croatian Film Directors’ Guild, the “Puk’o nam je film” (slang for “We’ve Had Enough”) campaign has seen over 100 Croatian actors, directors and others working in film come together to protest what they see as political interference in the Croatian film industry.

The campaign was born of the public debate sparked following an audit of the Croatian Audio-Visual Centre (HAVC) several weeks ago, the results of which many filmmakers fear will be damaging to the local independent film industry.

In an interview with Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, Croatian Film Directors’ Guild executive committee member Nebojsa Slijepčević stated that he backs the initiative because he believes some politicians wish to “destroy independent filmography and independent art and to revive the 1990s, when [Croatian] films couldn’t be considered quality ones”.

Among the findings reported by the state auditors were claims that Hrvoje Hribar, who heads HAVC, failed to gain approval from HAVC’s executive committee when allocating sums of over 26,800 euros ($28,270) to filmmakers, or the approval of the culture minister for sums exceeding 67,200 euros ($70,880).

The campaigners argue that, unlike for money allocated to the running of HAVC itself, this kind of approval is not necessary for allocating funds to finance films. If it were needed, Mr Slijepčević affirms, it would represent “a strong political influence on filmmakers”. Recent “attacks on the heart of HAVC’s system”, he believes, show that HAVC is “a politically independent institution which politicians want under their control”.

Filmmaking is not the only sector of culture to have cause for dismay. Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek sparked criticism and concern when she announced her media grants programme in December, leaving many non-profit and leftist media outlets without government funding.

Source: Balkan Insight