The main institutions shaping Armenian cinema and filmmaking include the National Cinema Centre of Armenia, the Hayk Documentary Film Studio and the Robert Sahakyants Animation Studio, all three of which are official state institutions funded by the Ministry of Culture. Other key players include the Golden Apricot International Film Festival and over twenty independent production companies.
Armenia ratified the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-productions and also joined Eurimage. At the same time Law on State Support for Cinema is expected to be ratified in the nearest future.
National Cinema Centre of Armenia (NCCA) was established in 2006 and is a legal successor of Armenfilm state film company named after Amo Beknazaryan. NCCA sets state cultural policy in the film sector. It is a legal entity of public law under the Ministry of Culture which provides state support to national cinematography. It is also involved in elaboration and introduction of regulating and promoting cinema related law issues.
Each year the NССA opens a funding call for the following categories: feature films, short films, animation, debut and student films, screenplay development, production and post-production. Because of the existence and remit of the Hayk Documentary Film Studio, documentary films are not normally supported by the NCCA unless they fall into some other category e.g. in the case of a student’s debut film being a documentary.
The NCCA is VAT-exempt which is intended to create a more favourable tax environment for film production. Thus, it sometimes acts as a national production company in cooperation with other producers and production companies. NCCA support is in the form of a grant of up to €100,000 in any one given year for a national production and up to €200,000 for an international co-production. In the case of the latter in exceptional cases it can exceed this. There is no repayment (recoupment) requirement. To be eligible for support a feature film needs to have already secured 30% of the total budget i.e. the maximum level of support is 70% except in very exceptional cases when a film is going to be of considerable national cultural value, the film can receive 100% support. The average production cost for an Armenian feature film is about €150,000. In 2016 NCCA allocated about €552,304 (293,518,700 dram) for production of feature films and €113,082 (60,096,600 dram) for animated films production.
To receive state support documentary filmmakers may also cooperate with Hayk Documentary Film Studio which is funded by the Ministry of Culture – yearly budget approximately €90,000 (50 million dram). The Hayk Studio annually produces 2-3 full-length documentaries and ten shorts. Mainly because of the absence of an appropriate legislative framework related to cinema which constrains certain types of activity, the studio has little experience of international co-productions.