Did the film industry already anticipate this? And what after?

Author: Dragan Jokanović, dramaturg, NMC Marketing Coordinator

The real estate market in Slovenia during corona time

The official announcement of coronavirus pandemic has brought a heap of troubles for cultural institutions and industries around the world. Theaters and museums are closed, festivals canceled or postponed, and cinemas are one of the first places that had to shut down. In some cases, film producers decided to postpone movie releases, like in the case of No Time To Die – the new James Bond film which had its world premiere postponed until November 2020. The simple fact is that restrictions in social gatherings of more than X people have impacted the filmings that were already in progress, or planned, so we can assume that most movies that were intended to be released in 2020. will be late – which should create a blank space in content at some point.

The global film industry has been hit with losses of over 7 bn dollars during the coronavirus pandemic. (source: statista.com)

Second problem is that artists have a lot of difficulties finding work during the pandemic, so some countries like Germany decided to introduce financial packages for artists during the crisis amounting to staggering 50 billion dollars (source: artnews.com). Other European countries followed on a smaller scale, while Serbian culture lost 600 million RSD in funding. This just goes to show how developing countries like Serbia still have a different view on the culture and its importance during the crisis.

When talking about Serbia, the research was done by Serbian Film Association in cooperation with Serbian Film Center and Serbian Chamber of Commerce, losses of companies in the film industry during 3 weeks in march amount to about 9.6 million dollars. To determine the real picture of the audiovisual sector, Association’s poll included a sample of 130 companies, 25 of which are members of SFA. In reality, the losses should be at least 3-4 times larger than that. Huge losses continue after March as well, and it’s expected that by June 60% of companies will be without any income, while 27% will have losses of about 50%. A small number of companies, around 4% that dwell in the post-production sector, don’t expect to have any losses. (source: politika.rs)

Ivana Scepanovic, which we could watch recently in Ajvar by Ana Marija Rosi, thinks we won’t be going back to ’normal’ because that normality was the problem. „The whole planet is in isolation. Mother Nature has said: It’s enough, all of this has to stop. We are facing an invisible enemy sent by no one other than Batman... It sounds like a logline for a dystopian film, for which we would happily enter into the movie theater’s darkness. But, now it’s enough for us to stay in bed, and with one press of a button on our remote or smartphone device watch the daily news and reality that happened to us. Cinemas have no point, they are even forbidden. Social attention and social distancing, costumes, masks, and gloves are becoming our „must wear“ for standing in lines that lead to an apocalypse of daily or weekly grocery shopping. And where’s the film industry? It’s moving away from cinemas towards streaming platforms because content won’t give up to no deadly virus – as long as there’s life it will create content for the film. Postcoronary genre, because the pandemic genre is already history, will be created soon, probably with the arrival of the vaccine. Until then, until we find out HOW, we must step by step, day by day, try to be closer to ourselves, to develop the ability to easily and quickly adapt and accept the new order that’s coming. Released from fear and worries, on higher frequencies of consciousness and existence we’ll be the witnesses and creators of new era and order, new balance, and distribution that’s in line with our possibilities and freedoms. We must be patient, brave, and endure, so we must stay healthy!“ said Ivana Scepanovic.

And how will the film industry look after all this is over? According to Zlatko Rakonjac, actor, we may see a rise in post-apocalyptic content. „I think everything on this subject has already been said in Goran Marković’s film „Variola vera“, which uses epidemic to highlight a disease of one’s society and how we behave towards each other, “ said Zlatko.

All in all, the fact is that we won’t be seeing massive film sets with over 150 people for a while, but even those movies will wait and most probably rise again when the opportunity comes. At the moment, the priority should be to help artists the majority of whom are left without any income. This is important so when the time comes – they can proudly take their places in front of and behind the cameras again.

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