At the start of the meeting the head of the Creative Europe MEDIA office, Daniela Staníková, said that the budget for the new programme period had not yet been approved because of the coronavirus situation. “The draft budget is 17 percent higher than the previous one, but that’s not a lot. Thirty percent of projects were rejected because of financing,” she said, adding that the European Parliament would hopefully increase the new budget even more.
The actual debate, entitled Czech cinema at international festivals: What next?, was kicked off by Markéta Šantrochová with an observation from the recent Venice IFF, the organisation of which was handled well. “The Berlinale is still being prepared on the basis of the experiences of others. This has shown that the film world sticks together and shares information,” the CFC head said.
All those present agreed that physical film events cannot be completely replaced by virtual ones. “Online may take the place of distribution, but not of festival presentation, with which a certain psychological effect is connected. At festivals people make time for a film. They trust the programming, don’t bet on certainties and are open to taking a film in. For me that’s the essence of a festival,” said Jiří Konečný, who also shared his experience of September’s film showcase in Zlín.
Slávek Horák pointed out that a film sells better if sales agents see it with a live audience. “Festivals do a great deal to help less mainstream films make an impact. They create a space for debate and the cultivation of opinions, not just among viewers and filmmakers, but just by the very fact that people live films for a week and talk about them.”