Media KYIV Media 2018 – Moldova, Ukraine and content production – how to win together

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On September 19 KYIV MEDIA WEEK 2018 international media forum hosted a roundtable discussion dedicated to the prospects of cooperation in production and distribution of audiovisual content between Ukraine and Moldova. The event gathered top managers in film and television companies from both countries.  

Yuriy Artemenko, head of Ukrainian National Council for TV and Radio Broadcasting, believes the goal of his organization is to create conditions for Ukrainian business to communicate with businesses from other countries, in particular from Moldova, China, Korea, and Canada. Artemenko noted that he wants to open Latin American market for Ukraine in the nearest future. “It is essential to make official visits to other countries,” said the head of the state agency and provided three trips of the National Council as an example; its delegation traveled to China, Korea, and India. “If the National Council hadn’t gone to China, nobody from there would have talked to the Ukrainian business.” And now there are already several joint projects.

As for Moldova, members of Ukrainian National Council traveled to Moldova, met the members of Moldova Coordination Council, visited film studios and TV channels. “I was happy to find out that our Moldovan counterparts from TV companies buy many Ukrainian formats,” said the head of the state agency. As for 25 percent cash rebates for audiovisual content producers that Moldova is going to introduce starting from October 2018, this country is a winner here. Especially if we recall that Ukraine cannot introduce the planned 16.6 percent rebates for now (amendments to the budget code are yet to be made). I see one sure way of cooperation with Moldova, which is development of co-production. We have to find the right stories that would bring us together. “Neither Moldova nor Ukraine will be able to survive without co-production – in budgets or capacities,” says Artemenko.

Veronica Cojocaru, member of Moldovan Coordination Council for TV and Radio, briefly told about television landscape in Moldova. There are 65 TV channels in the country, five of them with national coverage. But now all channels are on cable, that is why all 65 can be considered those “with national coverage.” For now, the channels mostly rebroadcast Russian and Romanian TV channels. But Moldovan TV channels have to broadcast local products for eight hours daily. That is why production sector for local content will grow significantly in the nearest future.

Veronica also noted that her organization plans to organize an international conference on co-production in 2019; she invited Ukrainian counterparts to participate. “We are open for cooperation and will always support our colleagues from Ukraine.”

Yuriy Rybachuk, deputy Minister of Culture of Ukraine, told about the ministry’s work priorities one of which is to support creative industries development in Ukraine. The Ministry of Culture pays special attention to arranging cooperation with partner organizations from other countries, including Moldova. For example, last year Ukraine and Moldova signed a cooperation program for culture. Such dialogue will be very useful and will allow not just for experience exchange but also for establishment of cooperation between our countries.

Besides, Valeriu Jereghi, head of Moldova National Film Center, proposed to involve Romania in the following stages of negotiations. It is through Moldova in this case that Ukraine will be able to easily start cooperating with Romania and vice versa. “I talked to the representatives of Romanian Film Center about this opportunity, and they are very open to such trilateral cooperation.” The focus of Valeriu’s speech was on the introduction of cash rebates in Moldova starting from this October; he stressed that a big issue after they start functioning will be the lack of professional “middle production link” also able to communicate in English. Presently a pilot project of training programs for film professionals is being discussed, and Jereghi hopes that Ukrainian professionals will become lecturers and teachers of film art for young Moldovan cinematographers. Ideally, there will also be internships organized for Moldovans in real Ukrainian projects in production. The main goal in this case is the development of international co-production, first of all with our closest neighbors, Ukrainians and Romanians.

Philip Illenko, head of Ukrainian State Film Agency, noted that this year has become yet another breakthrough by the number of Ukraine-produced films in the cinemas and also by the successes of Ukrainian films at international festivals. This was the result of state policy on support and promotion of Ukrainian cinema launched several years ago. The same (namely the sudden emergence of many nationally produced films) is also soon to happen in Moldova where such processes in state support were launched last year. Though there hasn’t been any previous experience with that, Ukraine according to Illenko will be happy to cooperate with Moldova in cinema co-production. Philip Illenko also noted that the planned cash rebate amounts will be reviewed to the more generous side. Because if they offer 35 percent of rebate in Poland and Romania and 25 percent in Moldova, who will be interested in Ukraine with its 16.6 percent?

Dimitru Cira is the author of the law to soon implement the cash rebate system in Moldova, so he told about the initiative itself. The producers will be able to claim compensation for 25 percent of qualified expenses (the compensation will be in euros). Only a producer registered in Moldova can ask for a cash rebate. A possibility of additional 5 percent of rebate is envisaged if Moldova is promoted in the project. Actually, the development of Moldovan cash rebate system is a result of 11 months’ work. About 40 models existing in the world were analyzed and the most acceptable model for Moldova was selected at this stage. The procedure is the most transparent and aims not to be subject to the influence of some personal motives and interests of film process stakeholders. A cultural test will be conducted. After the contract is signed, the production is to start within a year and finish within three years. Not just fiction films, documentaries and animation will be eligible to apply for rebates; the system will also include TV series and shows, advertising and music videos. Now the working group is finishing up the regulation, and next week it will be sent to the government for approval. In any case the law enters into force on October 1.