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IRIS 2010-7:1/37


Protection of Audiovisual Heritage in the Slovak Republic

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Jana Markechová

Markechova Law Offices

On 10 May 2007 the Slovak President ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Audiovisual Heritage. According to Article 1 of the Convention its main objective is to ensure the protection of the European audiovisual heritage and its appreciation both as an art form and as a record of our past by means of its collection, preservation and the availability of moving image material for cultural, scientific and research purposes, in the public interest.

By ratifying this Convention the Slovak Republic assumed inter alia the obligations to:

- preserve and deposit audiovisual records which form part of the audiovisual heritage and which were created within the territory of the country,

- designate one or more archives for preservation, deposit and restoration of audiovisual heritage,

- support the voluntary deposition of items of audiovisual heritage.

With respect to the international obligations the Audiovisual Act No. 343/2007 Coll. (“Act”, see IRIS 2008-10: 18/30) was issued. According to s.31 audiovisual heritage is defined as the “collection of audiovisual and other components of the fund of audiovisual heritage documenting the history of the Slovak Republic as well as the formation and development of Slovak cinematography”. The audiovisual heritage is part of the cultural heritage. The Act newly defined the goals of the Slovak Film Institute (SFI). According to s.23 the main goal of the SFI is to participate in the preservation, deposit, protection and processing of audiovisual heritage. The National Film Archive forms an integral part of SFI.

Even before the adoption of the Act on 17 May 2006 the Government approved the Project of Systematic Reconstruction of the Audiovisual Heritage of the Slovak Republic for safeguarding cinematographic works and making them available to the public. The central objective of the Project is to create the conditions for the safeguarding and reconstruction of audiovisual heritage in line with international obligations, its preservation for future generations and making available for cultural, educational and commercial purposes.

Furthermore, the audiovisual heritage scattered among various institutions should be concentrated into the specialised deposit space of SFI. For the purposes of further preserving specific criteria have to be established for the maintenance and reconstruction of works and the creating of duplicates of single works.

The financial framework consists mainly of the State budget which designates resources for the realisation of projects listed by the SFI. The financial framework is also covered by resources from the operation programme “Information Society”. The Project is currently divided along two main lines as longterm priorities of the SFI:

1.) Project of the systematic safeguard and restoration of the Film Archive Fund

Concerning the required technologies at present there are inadequate conditions and a technology development and investment plan has to be elaborated for the years 2011 to 2020.

2.) Project of the information system SK CINEMA and the electronic backup of accessory material to films

The SK CINEMA information system is an integrated audiovisual system created and maintained according to the Project. Its purpose is to create a platform for exchange of information about Slovak films and their producers in a national and international context. It should also provide for the integrated electronic cataloguing of SFI collections and provide complex information and research services for internal employees and the public.

For the next period (2008-2013) the SFI has stipulated its priorities in the realisation of the SK CINEMA information system. This includes the creation of electronic copies of single catalogue documents, their archiving and making accessible through the Internet; establishment of an automatic rental system for the archived documents; improvement of the interoperability of SK CINEMA with information systems of other deposit facilities in Slovak Republic as well as the European Film Gateway and Filmarchives Online.

The Project is monitored systematically and the data are analysed for the purposes of constant improvement. The last adaptation of the Project was undertaken in December 2008.

Projekt systematickej obnovy audiovizuálneho dedičstva Slovenskej republiky SK
  Project of Systematic Reconstruction of the Audiovisual Heritage of the Slovak Republic