Slovak Film Producers

The first activities towards foundation of a functioning association of Slovak producers of films and audiovisual works appeared in the mid-1990s, when Slovak producers for the first time established an association with the objective of promoting their activities primarily abroad because the Ministry of Culture and the Slovak government refused any initiatives of independent producers related to a systemic change of audiovisual environment. In that period, the Ministry of Culture focused almost exclusively on privatisation of the Slovak film studios, establishment of the Koliba štúdio joint stock company, and was subsequently supporting mostly projects of this entity. The Ministry had its reasons to do so, since during "wild" privatisation the company became property of high-ranking officials of the governing party and children of the then prime minister.

The second priority of audiovisual policy and activities of the government at that time was to support to the management and projects of the Slovak television with marked political orientation, in particular towards the leading political party in power - HZDS. The Slovak Film Producers' Association (ASFP) was thus active also in the period of the deepest crisis of the Slovak audiovisual environment after 1989, i.e. in years 1995 to 1998, even though it did not find sufficient funding or energy to develop its activity.

Nevertheless, the foundation of this association was one of those moments that finally brought about some structural changes in the audiovisual area in Slovakia - although the changes were slow and small in terms of the amount of funding. At that time, independent producers, and not just ASFP members, produced the majority of independent non-fiction films, in particular feature films for cinemas with minimum or almost no support of Slovak public or state funds and the Slovak state-owned public television.

This change was fundamental, although the number of works was substantially lower in comparison to the early 1990s, when dozens of short-footage films and several feature projects were made – but most of them were made and their copyright was managed mainly by state-owned companies, specifically by the Slovenská filmová tvorba (Slovak Film Studios.).

The manner of support (or more accurately the absence of any systemic support) of cinematography after the break-down of the state monopoly in Slovakia got reflected predominantly in the decline of the output quantity and in statistically lowest production of audiovisual works from all European countries (in the countries of current members of the European Union).

At the end of the 1990s, Slovak producers and administrators of copyrights of Slovak audiovisual works associated in ASFP initiated and influenced positive changes in the audiovisual industry. A logical outcome of these initiatives was the foundation of the Slovak Audiovisual Producers' Association (SAPA) as an independent company, established as an association of judicial and natural persons in accordance with Act No. 83/1990 Coll. on Association of Citizens.

Founding members of the association agreed on joint objectives and on by-laws. One of the fundamental objectives was the establishment of an organisation of collective rights management of producers of audiovisual works producers or as the current Slovak Copyright Act has it – of producers of audiovisual recordings (in fact film producers, copyright holders and administrators) in the territory of the Slovak Republic in accordance with actual copyright regulations and international treaties.

On the 11th of July 2001, SAPA applied for a licence to be authorized carry out collective management of audiovisual producers' rights.

For the first time in the history of the Slovak cinematography, this licence made possible the start of the first organisation of collective management of rights of producers of audiovisual works pin Slovakia.

In 2013 SAPA obtained a new licence that also included the collective management of rights of film producers.

Over the course of its existence, however, the primary activity and objective of SAPA has been to achieve systemic changes of the Slovak audiovisual sector this mainly in the area of support and development of the Slovak audiovisual art, culture and activities of Slovak producers, with the aim to establish a complex, functioning audiovisual industry in the form and extent parallel to other Central European countries and almost all countries of the European Union.