The Israeli Film Authority, which allocates state funds for the cinema industry, has finally announced its long-awaited allocations for 2003.
As expected, 85% of the $13.5m (NIS 61m) distributed by the government will go to production (two thirds of it for features, the rest divided between documentaries, shorts and experimental films) the remaining 15% to be shared by the many and various film-related institutions in the country (cinematheques, film festivals, film schools, etc.)
While most of the beneficiaries protested at the cuts imposed on them by the new Film Authority compared to last year, the allocations also has a paradoxical side -among the beneficiary are institutions that the Authority had previously deemed not worthy of any support at all. However, as they had been operating all through the first ten and half months of the year on the basis of last year's allocations, they will still get 75% of the help they had in 2002.
Meanwhile, the entire film industry is concerned about the change in the structure of the Cinema Law - which no longer provides half of all royalties paid by commercial TV channels to the Treasury, but a fixed sum, which this year was $13.5m but could be altered next year by the Treasury, if they are so inclined (and given the state of the country's economy, they most likely will be).
Adopted following an agreement between Film Authority Chairman Eli Zohar and the Treasury, the change did bring in for 2003 (a bad year for the Israeli television industry in general) more cash than a percentage of the TV royalties might have generated, but it may have serious implications on the future, when the Treasury may be free to decide how much it can afford to put aside for cinema.