Filmmakers in Slovenia and Bulgaria could benefit from increased funding for film and television production in the future according to new audiovisual legislation in preparation.

Speaking at this year's Connecting Cottbus co-development market at the Cottbus Film Festival, Tanika Sajatovic, Head of Promotion and Sales at the Slovenian Film Fund, said that a new Audiovisual Law was currently under discussion in Slovenia. This would see the Film Fund also receiving contributions from distributors, exhibitors, video stores and television advertising in addition to funds from the State. If this proposal is passed by the Slovenian parliament, the budget for supporting the audiovisual sector might double from the present Euros 2.5m.

Sajatovic pointed that there had already been "lots of changes" in the Slovenian film scene following the launch of the newly equipped Viba Studios and the setting up of a Film Commission.

Ivaylo Petrov Gurov, the newly appointed head of Bulgaria's MEDIA Desk, revealed that new legislation was due to be passed in the next few weeks which would transform the Bulgarian National Film Centre into a new agency with a budget of Euros 5m compared to the present Euros 850,000 state support for the cinema.

One Bulgarian producer attending Connecting Cottbus told, however, that the final sum made available might be nearer Euros 3m. Gurov called the planned changes "a major significant change for the whole region" and said that 2004 would be "much different" for Bulgarian filmmakers.

Meanwhile, in a discussion of new trends from Russia, Sergei W. Lasaruk, head of the film department at Russia's Ministry of Culture, spelt out the planned future state audiovisual policy, including the goal of an annual production output of 100 feature films by 2005 and the privatisation of all the film studios by 2006.

Another "far-reaching" change would be to focus more in the future on the producers rather than on the directors, and to place more emphasis on the production of films with potential for recoupment of their production costs. While feature debuts would continue to be supported 100% by the State, other projects would have to look for additional backers to close their financing.