A discussion on “Co-production” was organized with the participation of young directors, producers and screenwriters of Azerbaijani cinema – Emil Najaf, Turkan Huseyn, Nazrin Aghamaliyeva, Nurlan Hasanli organized by Azerbaijan Union of Filmmakers on January 17.
The moderator of the discussion, film critic Sevda Sultanova`s first question to young film community members was about the importance of co-production in Azerbaijani cinema. Producer Emil Najaf stated that there are co-produced films in Azerbaijani cinema, but this process is carried out individually. Citing Turkish, Georgian and Russian cinemas as examples, he emphasized the necessity of local fund to break only individual attempts. He also underlined the impossibility of to attract someone from abroad in the absence of local funding. In addition, he informed that being a member at Creative Europe, Euroimage and other such kind of organizations will facilitate the co-production process. Director Turkan Huseyn laid weight on that joint production will support the creation of the Azerbaijani film industry, training of professional film workers, as well as the recognition of Azerbaijani truths.
Afterwards, Sevda Sultanova addressed the question “what steps the state should take for the realization of joint production”. According to Turkan Huseyn the changes in grant legislation is important. Producer Emil Najaf added that any subsidies should also be given in accordance with the change of this legislation. The state does not have to finance all films, and in this case, it will act as a customer rather than a producer. He also proposed to give more space to the screening of Azerbaijani films and regulation for the ticket prices for the development of the domestic market in the cinema since there can be results in three to five years, if not for a short period of time via such laws. Emil Najaf: “France and South Korea have so far applied these quotas for the development of their local cinema. The law on tax benefits adopted in our country does not apply to micro-entrepreneurs. Because according to the law, an entrepreneur with an annual income of less than 200,000 manat (local currency) is considered a micro-entrepreneur, so this law does not apply to us”. Although directors Nurlan Hasanli and Nazrin Aghamaliyeva received support from abroad, they stated that the local problems they encountered in Azerbaijan did not allow them to make a film.
The question was “How to convince to get a budget for a project in a foreign market?” According to Nazrin Aghamaliyeva; a person must “grow” to convince. Hence, she mentioned that she observed the pitches at festivals as a spectator in the beginning and tried to learn what tools the directors had for convincing. Sevda Sultanova emphasized neighboring countries` developing cinema market and questioned why cooperation with them was not taking place. N. Agamaliyeva said that she has spoken with the head of the international relations department of the Georgian film fund on that and actually, Georgian side is interested party in this matter. However, she also emphasized that Azerbaijan film fund should establish collaboration with the Georgian film fund, not individual ones.
In conclusion, Emil Najaf called our attempt to tell our stories to the world not in our “language”, but in a language and style, we are not familiar with, a big mistake. He emphasized the importance of storytelling in our own language without fear.