Policies in the field of cultural industries in the Ministry of Culture are developed by the Directorate of Professional Arts, Arts Education and Cultural Industries. The respective Directorate provides the legal and regulatory framework for development in the professional arts; promotes and develops the professional contemporary arts; supports creative activity in concert, theatre and cinema institutions, in order to create qualitative cultural products for the larger public; preserves and perpetuates cultural values by promoting cultural projects within the professional artists’ unions and specialised NGOs in the field.
In November 2014 the first proposal of public policy was drafted on “Increasing the economic capacity of the cultural sector”, with the objective to foster the economic growth capacity of the sector through the development of cultural industries. The beneficiaries of this policy document will be service providers and creators of cultural products, the business sector in the Republic of Moldova, local public authorities, local communities and foreign investors. The document is at the stage of public debate and promotion. Adopting this policy document would guarantee creation of a platform for sustainable development of cultural industries.
A specific objective of the “National Strategy for the Development of Culture of the Republic of Moldova / Culture 2020” is: creating conditions for entrepreneurial development of culture and cultural industries, so that the share of culture will constitute 3% of GDP in 2020.
The priority actions in the Strategy relating to the cultural industries are:
development of a legislative and regulatory framework in the field of creative and cultural industries;
- creation of a database of institutions with economic potential;
- development of a study on the cultural market in the country;
- promotion of cultural goods and services for export;
- facilitating private business in the cultural field by developing partnerships with the Ministry of the Economy;
- creation of conditions for the development of the film industry;
- identification of potential products to become country brands by creating partnerships with authorities, artists and design companies; and
- identification of support mechanisms to promote excellence in crafts.
At the moment, due to the lack of market research and statistical data, it is impossible to calculate the turnover of cultural industries in the Republic of Moldova and therefore an accurate contribution of this sector to the national economy. It is obvious that the cultural industries market is at an early stage of development and requires ambitious public policies, with realistic and achievable goals, significant investment and tax incentives, a legal framework reform regarding sponsorship and philanthropy to stimulate the private sector to invest or lend to this field in view of generating new jobs, motivating creation of start-ups and incubators and bringing added value to the national economy.
In recent years, film, publishing, radio and television were among the areas most affected by replacing programmes for social and cultural development with the political strategies of the ruling parties. Due to the lack of vision for the development of these fields and because of the slow development of policies, cultural industries from the Republic of Moldova remain in continuous stagnation.
In the period 2001 – 2005 in Moldova, coordination of cinema activities was carried out by the Cinematography Department within the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Moldova. The purpose of the Department was promotion of state policy in the sphere of cinematography production, cinematography activities’ regulation in the private sector, and creating conditions necessary for production, distribution, operation, restoration and preserving cinematographic works of high artistic value. In 2005 the Department was transformed into the Cinematography Department within the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. In 2006 the Department was liquidated.
On 3 July 2014, the Parliament passed a new Law on Cinematography, which updates the legislative norms and includes new provisions which harmonise with the new policies in the field and substitute ambiguous and outdated notions. A primary purpose of the Law is liquidation of tax evasion and piracy in cinematography, which currently leads to losses of money by the state by not paying taxes and which seriously impacts on the image of the Republic of Moldova on the international arena. Also, this Law proposes to create the a National Cinematography Centre – an authority empowered to operate the National Film Archive, with the objective to promote and preserve the national cinematography heritage, which is in real danger because of the administrative shortcomings and Cinematography Register, with functions of control over film production and distribution in the Republic of Moldova. The new Law foresees control over film distribution and better control over the management of state funds invested in cinematography. Funding in phases of cinematographic projects allows both quality control and control over the terms of fulfilment of works for which the funding was solicited.
In recent years a number of important normative documents have been developed:
- Regulation on the National Cinematography Fund;
- Regulation on state funding in the field of cinematography;
- Regulation on state competitions for cinematographic projects;
- Regulation on supporting the state enterprise “Cinematographic Register”; and
- Regulation on classification, distribution and public demonstration of cinematography production.
At the same time, the lack of several normative documents and regulations in the field of cinematography stalls systemic modernisation of this area.
The National Strategy for the Development of Culture of the Republic of Moldova / Culture 2020 foresees the following in the field of cinematography: modifying the relevant legal framework before 2020, preparing a strategy of national cinematography development, changing tax policy in the field, strengthening the process of preparing professional staff in the cinematography field and stimulating investment in cinematography and film screening.
As for supporting film in 2009, 2.45 million MDL were provided in the state budget for the production of films with state level status, out of which 164 000 MDL were allocated to “Moldova-Film”. In 2010 and 2011, the budget of the Ministry of Culture did not include allowances for cinematographic production. In the situation, when in 2010 and 2011 there was no the state grant, the studio “Moldova-Film” produced documentary films and as a result achieved revenues of 4.1 million MDL and 2.8 million MDL respectively. Although income from the rental of space unused in the technologic process is greater than income from producing films, the company “Moldova-Film” registered financial losses. Another institution that permanently registers losses is the Joint Stock Company “Moldcinema” whose main activity is the distribution of cinematographic production. In 2009-2011 the main income of the institution was made up of the lease of premises, with revenues from this activity being 70-140 times higher than income from the core business.
Based on audit reports on the 2012 budget year and public asset management by the central cabinet of the Ministry of Culture, undertaken by the Court of Auditors, it is possible to conclude the following: there was inefficient public heritage management, unused budgetary allocations, and numerous cases of the risk of sale of state heritage property as a result of accumulating significant debt to personal and other creditors, etc.
Recently the Joint Stock Company “Moldova-Film” launched an international project to produce feature films with the support of the Italian producer Angelo Iacono. A comprehensive project for a serial of 12 episodes was also developed, as well as a TV project and a feature film with the participation of 17-18 year olds from all over the country.
Among the recent achievements of the company “Moldova – Film” are: documentaries to promote Moldova at the World Expo in Shaanghai, China: “Bucuroși de oaspeți” (Happy for guests); “Lăcașuri sfinte” (Holy places); “Moldova azi” (Moldova today); “Vinul patriei mele” (The wine of my country); video clips message – invitation and congratulatory messages. These documentaries and clips were viewed by circa one million visitors.
Also, during 2010 the following documentaries were completed: “Eu am mers dupa soare” (I went for the sun), and “Golgota Basarabiei” (The Bessarabia’s Golgotha), the premiere of which was organised at the Cultural Centre “Odeon”. Also, at “Odeon” there were many other significant cultural events, such as the Festival of Francophone Film, with the support of the Alliance Francaise de Moldavie; the German Film Festival, with the support of the German Cultural Centre; the Russian Film Festival, with the support of the Russian Embassy; and the International Festival of Very Short Films, with the support of the Alliance Francaise.
In 2014 the debut feature film of director Anatol Durbala “What a wonderful world” was realised, which won the prize of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI PRIZE) at the Film Festival in Warsaw. The film is based on real events of violent protests in the Republic of Moldova on 7-8 April 2009.
A success of 2013 was the feature film of the filmmaker Igor Cobileanski “At the bottom of the sky”, a co-production which had its world premiere at the International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary, in the competition East of the West. “At the bottom of the sky” received funding in the amount of 1 282 395 RON from the National Centre for Cinematography. The script was developed with the support of a residence at the workshop, a project of the Cannes Festival. In 2014 this film was submitted for Oscar nomination for the best foreign film in 2015, this being the second proposal that was sent to the American Academy by the Republic of Moldova. In 2013, the Republic of Moldova participated for the first time at the Academy Awards, with the film proposed for nomination for the category “best foreign film” being “All God’s children”, a co-production with Romania / Italy, directed by Adrian Popovici.
A successful collaboration between Moldova (OWH Studio), Romania and Luxembourg was the feature film “Wedding in Bessarabia”. The film, with a strong regionalist accent, was a real success both in Moldova and Romania. The film was specially mentioned at the “Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival” in December 2009, receiving the special award of the jury. In September 2010, the film was screened in both Romania and Moldova.
Another project in production is the feature film “2 438 km or All roads lead to Rome”, with a budget of EUR 500 000. This fiction film with a social theme reflects the phenomenon of mass migration of the labour force from the Republic of Moldova, emphasizing the problem of abandoned children and violence against women. The film will be screened in all countries where Moldovans are established.
In 2010, the Moldovan animation studio Simpals received financing in the amount of 5 million EUR for the full-length animation – Gypsy, 3D cartoon about a joyous story of gypsy life. The production of the cartoon is funded by the Russian TV company STV Film and will provide work for at least 100 persons for the next years. Simpals’ team undertook a visit to the USA, where they discussed opportunities for collaboration with famous Pixar-Disney studios.
Film-makers from Moldova participated at the International Festival of Cinema and Art in Italy; the International Festival of Baltic and CIS countries “Novoie Kino, XX vek” in the Russian Federation; and the International Festival of the independent film-makers in Romania. Weeks of film from Spain, Poland, Germany, USA, Belarus, India, Israel, France and Romania were organised in Chisinau.
Moldova ratified the European Convention on cinematographic co-productions, adopted in Strasbourg on 02.10.1992. The Convention allows the Republic of Moldova access to international cultural practices, inclusion in European structures and access to finance.
In 2013, OWH Studio held its eleventh edition of the International Documentary Film Festival “CRONOGRAF 2013” which included 39 competing films from 25 countries. The Festival comprised three sections, two international and one national: the main section, section cadRO, and a local production section.
Recently, the fourth edition of the International Animation Film Festival “Anim’est” was held, organised by the Cultural Association Este’n’est and ALTFilm, which saw presentations of the best animated films from the international competition of Stuttgart Film Festival in 2014 and as well the best animations from Baden – Württemberg, from the period 2012-2014.
The number of rural and municipal cinemas and cinema installations is steadily falling: from 77 in 2004 to only 18 cinemas and cinema installations in 2012. At the same time the number of spectators increased from 466 000 spectators in 2011 to 598 000 spectators in 2012. The private cinemas in Chisinau and Balti continue their activity, largely due to substantial ticket prices, with various shows, product presentations, lotteries, etc.
Legal and organisational reform of the cinematographic state institutions and the legal framework approved so far have not changed for the better situation in the field of cinematographic art. In recent years there has been no investment in equipping studios and cinemas with modern equipment, and they have been no tax incentives for the development of the cinematographic field. Consequently, cinematography is underdeveloped, although there is a human potential in this field.
In addition to the company “Teleradio-Moldova” in the Republic of Moldova there are several private TV companies: Junral TV, Public TV, Pro TV, Euro TV, Reality TV, etc. They transmit 24 hours per day, keeping the population up to date with all news and also broadcast special editions with debates on various issues of importance to the country. According to the “Public Opinion Barometer – April 2014”, the most important source of public information continues to be television (82%), which is also the source of information in which 35% of the population have the highest confidence. The second place is occupied by the internet with 35%, followed by radio (30%) and newspapers (14%). Among the most popular TV stations are: Prime TV (47%) and Moldova 1 (46%). Almost every fourth adult watches Jurnal TV (24%) and Publika (23%), ranking No. 3rd and 4th respectively among the main TV information channels. Pro TV (21%) constitutes a source of information 20% of the population.
Two new projects on the online media market deserve special attention, namely: Privesc.Eu and CanalRegional.md. Privesc.Eu is the largest project of live broadcasts from the Republic of Moldova and Romania, transmitting events from both countries: sittings of the Parliament and Government, press conferences, summits, congresses, meetings, sports games, festivals, etc. In the frames of the programme “Strengthening the network of the regional broadcasters for an Informed Society, Participatory and Responsible Governance”, with the support of the Swedish Government, Soros Foundation, Free Press Unlimited and Media Programme of the Soros-Foundation Moldova, a network of regional broadcasters comprising 14 TV stations in different regions of the country was established, including Gagauzia and Transnistria. Under this programme the platform CanalRegional.md was created to strengthen the regional television network as an alternative source of current, truthful and fair information for audiences in rural areas.
In the publishing-printing field in the Republic of Moldova there are 2 state publishing houses, one magazine and two polygraphy companies managed by the Ministry of Culture, in which the state owns more than 60% of the share capital. Currently in Moldova there are 24 private publishers. The largest publishing company in the field is the Poligraphy Combinate in Chisinau. State publishing houses Cartea Moldovei and Lumina implement the state policy by publishing national literature according to the priorities established by the Ministry of Culture. Although the mission of the state publishers is to support national book production, inefficient management of resources available to the state publishers leads to a small number of titles published in comparison to private publishers. For example: out of the total number of books and booklets (2 470) published in 2011, only 319 (13%) were from state publishing houses. In 2010, state publishers – where the state owned more than 60% of the share capital – printed 2 366 books, which constitutes 0.08% of the total volume issued in the country. In 2010 the publishing house Cartea Moldovei did not publish anything, while in 2011 it published only three titles. In the same period Cartier published 61 titles with a total circulation of 195 980 copies. The majority of the state publishing houses are not able to pay their own expenses from their own incomes. Only the Polygraphy Combinate and Central Printing House record profits. On 31 December 2011, net assets of the mentioned state enterprises was 87 796 770 MDL, more then 6 586 920 MDL than at the beginning of 2011.
In 2013, out of a state budget of 2.23 million MDL, there were 44 titles published, with 55 000 copies, to be distributed free to public libraries in the regions. In 2013, public libraries were furnished with 403 000 units of literature, including 350 100 units in Romanian.
Because of the small and poor local book market, publishing houses export about 80% of their production to Romania. This difficult situation in the book market is caused by the destruction of the former soviet network of book distribution through specialised shops and a lack of alternative solutions, as well as the reduced possibilities of the population to pay high prices for books. Sor far the state does not have a public policy for development and support of the poligraphy-editorial branch.
Moldova’s entertainment business remains far behind neighbouring countries, especially Russia and Romania, and it is influenced by their entertainment market.
The advertising market in the Republic of Moldova is developing at a dynamic pace, increasing each year by 25-40%. In 2013, according to studies of the organisations that monitor the advertising market in the Republic of Moldova, the volume of the advertising business constituted 45-50 million USD. TV advertising has a share of 65-70% of the market, which constitutes approx. 20 million USD. Television is the most popular with the consumers of information (70%), followed by outdoor advertising, radio advertising, print and online advertising, which had a rise of 100% in the last 2-3 years, up from 200 000 USD to 2 million USD.
However, the Law on Advertising (1997) does not ensure proper development of the advertising market and does not protect the monopolisation danger. Currently, advertising budgets are concentrated excessively in the country’s capital, which forces the local / regional media into a precarious existence. Private advertising media operates in the advertising market under the same conditions as publicly funded mass-media institutions, which creates asymmetric competition and hinders the development of private mass-media.
There is a non-governmental organisation, OWH TV Studio, which organises workshops for young professionals in the cinema sector, international documentary film festivals, summer schools on film production etc. with the participation of international experts. It also has extensive experience in working with international organisations, such as UN agencies, the Alliance Francaise, USAID etc.
There is currently no explicit definition of the term “cultural industries” in the Republic of Moldova.