Serbia sells Yugoslav-era film studio, rights to iconic movies

Serbia sells iconic Yugoslav-era film studio for eight million euros and signs away rights to archive of classic cinematography

Updated Jul 28, 2015

This is despite protests from members of Serbia's film community, who feel that they're losing a valuable part of the country's national heritage Serbia sold the Yugoslav-era film studio for eight million euros and signed away the rights to an archive of classic cinematography.

Member of group 'Stop Privatisation', Marko Miletic, said "We are losing infrastructure for producing movies, we gave awayproperty, 37 hectares of it, and we are losing, as people say, the culture heritage of our nation which was supported and financed by the whole society."

Critics say the sale shows a lack of state care and funding for the arts in Serbia.

Some say the country's movie industry is the greatest loser in the privatisation process.

Director of National Film Archive Kinoteka, Radoslav Zelenovic, said:"This is just a confirmation, who knows for how many times, that the film industry is the biggest loser in privatisation. Belgrade cinemas have been also sold for a little bit more money Avala Film , just look around almost ten cinemas were here, today none."

Located on the outskirts of Belgrade, Avala Film was involved in the production of hundreds of movies including the 1967 winner of the Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or "I Even Met Happy Gypsies".

It fell in to disrepair with the collapse of the Yugoslav federation in the 1990s,and bankruptcy proceedings began in 2011.

The new owner of Avala film will inherit over 21,000 square metres of studios and office space, rights to the Film archive, props and a mock Italian city reminiscent of the studio's glory days.