Macedonia is to be established as a"one-stop shop" for the digital entertainment industry, according toplans by Collaborative Media Group (CMG) to create the Film City Macedonia with support from theMayor of Skopje, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, and the United StatesAgency for International Development (USAID).

CMGwas founded as an umbrella organisation by 14 Macedonian companies includingsuch feature film production houses as Sector Film (Border Post) and Partysans(Balcancan) to establish the Film City which will incorporateall aspects of pre-production, production and postproduction for digital andfilmed entertainment as well as training a new generation of digital effectsspecialists.

"TheMacedonian market is very finite for them being a small market in a smallcountry," CMG manager Dimitar Stojko explained in an exclusive interviewto "They have hit a kind of glass ceiling, so thedecision was to unite and see if one can attract foreign capital and foreignproducers to come to Macedonia."

Buildingof the Film City should be completed by the beginning of 2008, with the newfacility's studio infrastructure being financially supported by the UnitedNations, the European Union's Agency for Reconstruction and USAID, and thepossibility of strategic partnerships are already being explored with suchcompanies as Pixar, Lucasfilm, Deutsche Telekom, Swisscom, Fujifilm, Kodak andTechnicolor.

Inthe light of the incentive schemes operating elsewhere in Eastern Europe to woointernational productions, Stojkov said that it will one of CMG's "toppriorities" to work with the Macedonian government on the introduction oftax breaks or incentives for visiting productions.

"Weunderstand that this will be one of key questions for outside producersdeciding whether to come to Macedonia," Stojkov noted, pointing out thatthe Film City initiative "would bring capital into the Macedonian filmindustry and provide the local professionals with the chance to gain invaluableexperience on working for these outside productions."

Inaddition, the Film City will be behind thepromotion of Macedonia as a location forfilmmaking by launching a website, and producing a DVD and publications underthe banner of "Film Country Macedonia".

Thisnew venture comes as the final preparations are underway for the establishmentof the Macedonian Film Fund from January 1, 2007. Moreover, domesticMacedonian feature film production has reached a new high with the shooting offour features so far this year: Igor Ivanov's feature debut The Navel Of The World, produced bySector Film with the UK's Mainframe Ltd; Milcho Manchevski's Shadows, produced by Senka Film with Bulgaria's SiaAdvertising/Camera, Germany's Blue Eyes Fiction, Italy's Classic SRL andSpain's Tornasol Films; Teona Mitevska's I'mFrom Tito Veles, produced by Sisters and Brother Mitevski Production withFrance's Silkroad Productions, Slovenia's Vertigo, and Belgium's Entre Chien etLoup; and Aneta Lesnikova's The FirstBalkan Dogma, co-produced by AKA Films with Bulgaria's Agitprop andDenmark's Zentropa Real.