Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Balduči Film Delivers Great Success for Croatian Tourist Productions Again

June 1, 2021 - In addition to the 22 awards received last year, the production company Balduči Film was honored with two more recognitions at the International Tourist Film Festival Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, for its two most recent productions.

In recent years, Croatia has positioned itself as one of the favorite locations to shoot big-budget series and movies for international production companies, and not only because of its unique landscapes or architecture, but also because of the flexibility that exists when it comes to obtaining permits and licenses.


The Balduči Film crew, behind the scenes of ''CROATIA YOUR NEXT FILMING DESTINATION''

The Croatian production company, Balduči Film, has been carrying the banner of promoting Croatian film locations and additionally position Croatia as an attractive country on the map of world production centers. Thus, in collaboration with the Croatian National Tourism Board, they produced the tourist film called ‘‘CROATIA YOUR NEXT FILMING DESTINATION’’, to achieve that goal by showing almost entirely the main attractions of each region and city in the country.


Additionally, Balduči Film produced the film ''Rijeka - I miss you'' together with the Rijeka tourist board, to promote the city of Kvarner Bay as the European Capital of Culture in 2020. The film, which evokes strong emotions of nostalgia and highlights the main attractions of the city such as Trsat Castle, Korzo, St. Vitus Cathedral, the National Theater or its Carnival, was written and produced by Spomenka Saraga, directed by Herve Tirmache, and edited by Jalil Armi, who also served as a cameraman.

Rijeka - I miss you, by Balduči Film

The efforts behind both productions were worth it since, in addition to various awards received previously in other international festivals, both films won awards at the International Tourist Film Festival Africa, held last week in Cape Town, South Africa. It is the first festival to be held live this year, but unfortunately due to the situation with the pandemic, the production company Balduči Film couldn’t assist. 

The films were awarded two big prizes. The film CROATIA YOUR NEXT FILMING DESTINATION won gold for the Best Film in the category Tourist product - Film locations, and the promotional film Rijeka - I miss you won silver in the category Tourist destination - City.


Behind the scenes of ''Rijeka - I miss you''

However, despite not being able to receive the awards in person, the celebrations at home were not postponed among the creative team. One of the most excited was Spomenka Saraga, writer and producer of the film Rijeka - I miss you

“We are extremely proud of the success of our films and we must take this opportunity to boast that we have won 22 awards worldwide in 2020; from the USA where we won a total of six awards (among others the award for the Best camera and Best tourist film), at the largest tourism fair ITB in Berlin, at the jubilee 20th edition of The Golden City Gate Silver Awards, in Viseu (Portugal) two first places, in Riga, Istanbul, etc.’’, said Spomenka, naming some of the several awards received. "When we add up these two awards from the Republic of South Africa, we won a total of 24 awards.’’, she added.

The Cape Town festival received 865 entries from 97 countries this year, and the works of some of the most respected advertising agencies, television stations, and production companies from around the world were awarded.

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Friday, 27 November 2020

Croatian Film Studio Will Prove Worthy for State Budget

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 26th of November, 2020, by the middle of 2022, the very first Croatian film studio will come to be as was recently announced by the Croatian Audiovisual Center (HAVC), and it is an investment of half a billion kuna. The construction of the Croatian film studio should start in the first half of next year, and details about the study, construction, investments and economic effects were presented in a conversation between Poslovni Dnevnik and HAVC director Chris Marcich.

When did you recognise the need to build a study complex in Croatia and what exactly are we going to get out of it?

HAVC has been working on the idea of ​​building a modern Croatian film studio on the model of the once mythical Adriatic (Jadran) film for years, and it is also one of the goals of the National Programme for the Promotion of Audiovisual Creativity. It's a project of national interest and it brands us and makes us globally competitive.

The studio proved to be very necessary when the Incentive Programme, better known as Filming in Croatia, was launched back in 2012, which created the preconditions for attracting foreign productions to Croatia. If we want to develop this industry, remain competitors on the international market and create better conditions for Croatian production, a modern studio is imperative in this day and age. We want to enable Croatian and foreign productions to fully complete their projects here in Croatia. There's a great demand for content, a lot will be recorded and we need to seize this opportunity. Currently, projects that are filmed at locations across Croatia are produced in studios in Budapest, Prague, Belgrade, London… our goal is for Croatia to be able to deliver the finished product itself.

The Croatian film studio complex will function as a hub for the audiovisual industry, which, in addition to producing film, television and content for online platforms, also includes the gaming industry. To start studying, we must prepare ourselves by educating young people to work in attractive and well-paid jobs.

How much would be invested in building it, where did the money come from?

Investor interest does exist, and the investment itself is estimated at 60 to 80 million euros. There is also room for Croatian investors who are already showing interest. Our goal is for the state to also be involved in the design of the project, because the participation of the state in the project (through land or some other model) allows access to the studio for Croatian audiovisual production, which was announced to investors as a sine qua non for us.

How much would the investment pay for and where would the new Croatian film studio be located?

Olsberg's study predicts that the Croatian film studio itself would be commercially viable, and even with conservative assumptions about occupancy, it could generate significant revenue, in the second year of operation alone it could generate about two million euros, and in the fifth year - more than four million euros. Capital investments aren't being included in this calculation, so the return on the investment primarily depends on the amount of capital investment of the investor and the earnings on ancillary services.

The final choice of location is up to the investor, but research conducted by Olsberg SPI provides a clear framework of what location criteria for the studio must meet, such as criteria related to noise and traffic connectivity, primarily with the airport. Since Olsberg did this study, other localities such as Koprivnica, Split and Lekenik have also expressed their interest.

What kind of studio would it be and what kind of opportunities does it open up?

Olsberg's research recommends the construction of a studio complex with six studios, ranging from 1,394 to 2,787 m2 (a total of 10,684 m2), with a height of 12 to 15 m, so that structures for recording and lighting of suitable size can be installed in them. The studios should also have accompanying facilities. The biggest opportunities open up for the production of high-quality television content. For example, the filming of the Game of Thrones series in Croatia was one of the drivers of launching the Incentive Programme. We all know the impact the series had on the promotion of Croatia around the world. It's a multidimensional project, a combination of technology and a creative cluster that will be used by other sectors such as gamers.

What would the construction of the studio bring to Croatian production and what benefits would the state budget have?

Of course, the Croatian film studio complex must be commercial, but our goal is to provide access to Croatian productions that usually have smaller budgets. This would be possible, for example, as part of a smaller study, which would be built as part of a complex, and for which some of our producers are already expressing a level of interest. This space could also be used for educational purposes, and we're already facing a shortage of skilled labour. The state budget would primarily benefit significantly from foreign productions and employment of Croatian employees, but our producers are currently forced to "import" people because we lack studio space, and often the necessary equipment, too. Why shouldn't we become the ones who export these services, and at the same time satisfy Croatian production?

Are there similar studios in the region? How competitive would a Croatian film studio actually be?

Large film studios exist in Hungary and the Czech Republic, followed by Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia… Greece has increased its incentives to 40% (the Croatian incentive is 25% and 30% for shooting in areas of below-average development), and late last year the construction of collaborative studios with NU Boyana Film Studios was announced, on top of that, this year tax relief of 30% was introduced for investments in audiovisual production in Greece.

The situation in Croatia is simple, there's no studio. This automatically takes us out of the competition for projects for which a studio is one of the conditions for production. We were among the first in the region to launch the Incentive Programme. So far, with the Incentive Programme, we've put our efforts into God-given locations and hardworking people. Building studios, along with the locations we already have, represents the most natural development of the industry. A step higher. We have to move on, because others won't just wait around for us.

What sort of the reaction has the Ministry of Culture and Media had to it?

The Ministry of Culture and Media has been a partner in the project from the very beginning. It's a co-sponsor of the study conducted by Olsberg SPI. They're aware of the need, in addition to maximally supporting Croatian production, which was especially evident this year when additional funds were provided for projects that were moving and that will start filming.

How much did the ''Recording in Croatia'' measures help the AV industry?

In Croatia, from the launch of the Incentive Measures Programme back in 2012 until the end of 2019, a total of 70 productions were filmed under the Incentive Programme and that all achieved local consumption of more than one billion kuna, and only in 2019, which was a record year, did it realise consumption which exceeded 340 million kuna.

When the costs of the paid taxes, contributions and fees are compared with the amounts of received incentives, it can be concluded that the entire amount of paid incentives for the production of AV work was directly returned to the state budget through those very channels of paid taxes and contributions. In addition to employment and education, industry and the country have experienced great promotion. Croatia is being branded not only as a destination but as a modern and attractive country. In the most conservative version, the Institute of Public Finance estimates the overall positive effects of the Game of Thrones series on the Croatian tourism sector in the entire period from 2012 to 2019 at a minimum of 2-3 billion kuna.

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Sunday, 1 November 2020

First Croatian Film Studio Worth Half a Billion Kuna on Horizon

As Novac/Bernard Ivezic writes on the 31st of October, 2020, in the next two years, the very first Croatian film studio should come to fruition. On Thursday, the umbrella state film organisation HAVC presented an initiative according to which the construction of the first Croatian film studio would begin by the summer of next year, and it claims that the facility would be operational by the year 2022.

It's important to highlight that while there was a silm studio in the former state, this will be the very first one in modern, independent Croatia. The Jadran film studio in Zagreb existed in Yugoslavia, but it eventually failed. The brand new Croatian film studio would have four to six halls with filming sets, offices for those in the film industry, a workshop space, a cloakroom, ancillary facilities and a car park, and would cover 2,400 to 2,800 square metres in total.

Chris Marcich, the director of HAVC, says the investment would be worth about half a billion kuna (60m and 80m euros) and would not be funded by the state.

"Interest in this investment has been shown by private investors from Europe, some of whom have already contacted some local governmental units about potential locations, of which there are currently several, and they believe that this investment is profitable," says Marcich.

While he did not want to talk about these would-be investors in any specific manner, he pointed out that the first users are far from lacking, with names like the giant Netflix even coming into the brewing story. Jonathan Olsberg, CEO of Olsberg, which conducted the Feasibility Study for the project of a new studio complex in Croatia, says that we shouldn't waste time because all countries in Croatia's immediate region have the potential for such a studio, and this is clearly an excellent chance to get ahead.

Marcich says that while the state would not be an investor in the new Croatian film studio, the Croatian Gvernment should absolutely make its supports for the project clear so that investors can count on being able to withdraw EU funds in regard to it..

"For every kuna invested in the film industry, more than 11 kuna is returned to Croatia, and the mere fact that 'Game of Thrones' was filmed in Dubrovnik brought tourism two to three billion kuna in annual revenue," concluded Marcich.

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