The First PROFilm Days – Conference on Audiovisual Industry held in Zagreb 

The PROFilm Days Conference addressing key issues of audiovisual industry was held for the first time at the Kaptol Boutique Cinema on 11 October. The conference has been organised by Zagreb Film Office and Jutarnji list with the support of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Croatian National Tourist Board, City of Zagreb, Tourist Board of the City of Zagreb, Zagreb County, Croatian Chamber of Economy, City of Opatija and the Tourist Board of the City of Opatija and the City of Dubrovnik. 

'Since the very beginning, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre has supported the idea of PROFilm Conference as a meeting point of national and international professionals and an opportunity for analysis of the audiovisual industry status. According to global experts’ estimates, the demand for quality contents will continue to grow. Croatia has been recognised worldwide as a country of great locations, professional teams and a preferred filming site. We must go forward with our development, seizing better the emerging opportunities for the promotion of our country and the industry at the global level and strengthening the support to Croatian cinematography in order to enable it to take these new opportunities offered to us but also of the investments into creation of our heritage and affirmation of our identity', said Chris Marcich, CEO of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre.

Guests of the Conference were the renowned names from the international audiovisual industry: Jonathan Olsberg, film producer and analyst, Tomasz Dąbrowski, Area Manager of Neflix production policy issues in the EMEA region, Peter Radovich, US producer and director of Croatian origin, winner of 27 Emmy Awards, Olga Filipuk. CEO of the Russian Yandex Studio (Yandex Group), Icelandic producer Hordur Runarsson, and Amanda Messenger, US producer. 

Besides the HAVC CEO, the PFOFilm Days Conference was attended by a number of domestic professionals and representatives of the state and city authorities who took part in the discussions and presentations: Nina Obuljen Koržinek. Minister of Culture, Krešimir Partl,  State Secretary, Martina Srnec, representative of the Croatian National Tourist Board, representatives of cities and tourist boards, representatives of Croatian film offices, Goran Ogurlić, Editor-in-Chief of Jutarnji list, a co-organiser of the Conference, and Mia Pećina Drašković, Head of the Zagreb Film Office.

In her opening speech prior to the beginning of the professional section, the Ministry of Culture, Nina Obuljen Koržinek, pointed out: 'I think that we have all been witnessing a rising quality trend in our audiovisual industry, in particular since 2012, thanks to the incentives offered in our country to international productions, too. We have thereby attracted a significant foreign capital. The incentive system has become a crucial factor in the selection of film destinations. I have to underline that in the context of incentives, we shall take into account both the export of film services and the continuing growth of investments in the national production because, for a number of reasons, one cannot and shall not go without the other.'

The importance of opening film studios for a particular destination was pointed out in the speech by Jonathan Olsberg stating that his company Olsberg SPI is currently making an analysis as to why and where to build a film studio in Croatia and whether the right moment has come to finally implement this project.

Tomasz Dabrowski, Area Manager of Neflix production policy issues in the EMEA region sad in his speech: 'We have been working on a number of projects, I am grateful for the incentives granted so far and hope that we will continue to bring here an ever increasing number of projects, since Croatia proved to be one of the preferred filming locations in Europe', and also thanked Mr. Chris Marcich, HAVC CEO. In the context of his presentation entitled 'The Role of Neflix in the European Audiovisual Eco-System' he reminded that Netflix had around 150 subscribers, but they assume that the actual number of consumers of their contents was four times as many, considering the possibility of their watching on four screens.

'Netflix is present in over 190 countries, we are filming in more than 100 countries, the content has been adapted in 27 languages and, what’s important, we bring local stories, in local languages, to global public' added Dabrowski.

Peter Radovich, US producer and director (CBS), winner of 37 Emmy awards, responding to a question from the audience, equal to the title of the panel 'Why Croatia?', said: 'Why not? There are marvellous locations, professional teams, any part of the Europe is a step away from Croatia and, what’s the best, Croatia offers excellent stories. Its population of 4 million only has great stories that can appear in a film, while in the USA we have a problem because even the best idea has already been realised by someone.'

The Conference has opened up some of the burning issues in this industry relating to the Croatian market, with opinions and suggestions of experts coming from the countries where the filming activities and the related benefits show only an ever increasing trend. 

Cover photographs: PROFilm Days Conference in Zagreb 
(*Author of the photographs: Simon Curcija)

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