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Albania has potential as a filming location for Hollywood, but lacks vision and funding

2024-04-01 08:53:00, Kulturë CNA

Albania has potential as a filming location for Hollywood, but lacks vision and

There is an industry that could be the ambassador of our products to the world or even the promotion of tourism. And that is the cinematography. But an industry that has suffered from a lack of funding over the years.

In one of the episodes of the "Business Plus" Podcast, director Robert Budina was invited. He emphasized that the sector continues to suffer from a lack of funding and, at the same time, a lack of vision to potentially develop it.

"There are many mechanisms that must work together for the sector to flourish. For Albania to become a filming location for Hollywood, it needs filmmakers, it needs people to work in the field of cinematographic production.

But for people to work in this sector and not abandon it to go to other fields such as televisions where there is a greater opportunity to generate monthly income, then there is a need to have local projects. But the existence of the projects is closely related to a more consolidated financial policy than the one we currently have," says Mr. Budina.

In addition, the scheme known as 'tax shelter' is missing in our country.

How this scheme works: A "tax credit" or "shelter" is created, which are 20 or 30%, depending on the state. Then, the budget spent on the film is verified, after it is shot, and the tax paid at the beginning is returned (ie 20-30% of the budget). From an economic point of view, these projects are genuine financial investments of millions of euros, which are invested in Albania.

This initiative would put Albania on the map of countries that follow the creative economy policy.

It would also open an opportunity for employment and development not only of the local economy but also of tourism.

"We often say as an expression that 1 lek invested in this direction would return 5 lek back and the potential in this direction is real. There is a mindset, when you go abroad, and that country produces films, to create an idea that this country has solved existential problems and looks a little further, looks towards culture.

We need to create this perception and increase this area, with investments. During the shooting of the film Streha Mes Reve, in Valbona, we stayed in local guesthouses for 6 months with the film crew.

After 1 year, we noticed that the business had expanded with several more guesthouses, which will serve tourists and generate more income in the future. So the potential of investment and spending in this sector is real, not only in this example I took.

The film in this case participated in 30 foreign competitions and really aroused curiosity about our country. So you see what chain is hidden behind the cinema" - says the director.

Mr. Budina, asked what the concrete steps or measures would be at this moment to promote the sector, said that a more consolidated law is needed, more practical management of the budgets of the Albanian Cinematography Center, as well as a more considerable.

"If budgeting were increased and competitions were opened at least twice a year for films, you can be sure that new filmmakers would be approached or new projects would be encouraged.

By having more production, we would have more opportunities for competitions outside and as a result, higher visibility. Also, more production means more production houses, more experience. Thus, interested investors would take Albania more seriously. They have chosen Serbia quite a few times in the region" - he concluded.

In a regional comparison, Albania has the lowest budget for film production. Director Budina further said that Kosovo has a 3-year budget of 11 million euros. Currently, in Albania, the annual budget is 1.3 million euros./ Monitor.al

14:42 CULTURE Jonida Xhyra

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