Dreaming RS Movies

The usual divisive politics between BiH’s two entities has left Republika Srpska with practically no filmmaking at all, except for student films.

Photo: CIN

Dejan Strika is a new film director with a dream.  The 28-year-old wants to make a full length feature film.

After graduating from the Academy of Theatre Arts of Banja Luka University last December, however, Strika does not have much hope of beginning his professional career, and making his dream movie, in the Republika Srpska (RS).

‘We have not planned funds for filmmaking in the budget of the Ministry of Culture and Education’ said Milorad Kenjalović, cultural counselor to the Minister for Education and Culture.  ‘We have no camera for film making. We have nothing.’

Strika’s best hope to find funding is probably in FBiH where a film fund spends 1.5 million KM every year to provide up to 20 percent for Bosnian movie budgets. The fund is open to applications from the RS, the fund’s president said.

But the entities’ traditional political dysfunction will apparently even make a free loan hard to give away.

The two entity culture ministries are not talking to each other, even for the mutual benefit of developing a film industry for all BiH, according to Nikola Kovač, the President of the Sarajevo Foundation for Cinematography.

Kenjalović agreed that there is no direct cooperation between the two ministries.

‘I have never heard of a possibility to finance RS directors (from the FBiH fund),” said Kenjalović. “I don’t believe that is possible.’

The best the RS Ministry of Culture has been able to do on its own is some minor funding for student films produced in the final year program at the Academy, according to Miodrag Pandurević, head of RS based Srna Film, a state-owned documentary film production company that also specializes in archiving film materials.

Strika took advantage of that funding to make one of two short student films. The other film he financed himself.

‘The situation regarding filmmaking in the RS is catastrophic’ said Pandurević.

A new law aimed at revitalizing filmmaking in the RS is due to be submitted to parliament in two or three months, Kenjalović said.

The law will include a tax on film distributors, which will go to a fund for young filmmakers.

But it is unclear exactly what kind of support for film production the legislation, as yet to be written, might bring.

‘The bill will make provisions for financing of film production, but those funds will not be significant,” Kenjalović said. “At the moment we cannot even estimate the funding.’

FBiH directors, such as Ademir Kenović, Benjamin Filipović and Srđan Vuletić, said the ultimate answer to making a BiH film industry is to have a single state level culture ministry.

But Kenjalović is not buying that solution either.

‘I’m against setting up of the state level cultural ministry and the film fund’ said Kenjalović, adding that it will not solve many problems.