Brussels, 11 May 2005
Opportunities and challenges for European films in the information society at Cannes 2005 Europe Day
The Cannes International Film festival opens today with the screening of a European film, “Lemming” by Dominik Moll, which received support from the MEDIA programme of the European Union. On 17 May, the Festival will welcome the third Europe Day the topic of which is "Europe’s cinema and the Information Society". The EU Culture and Audiovisual Ministers will discuss the effects of new means of distribution for audiovisual works, such as film online and video on demand, together with directors, economic operators – producers, channel owners, studio heads - and the new ones –– telecoms businesses. The renowned filmmaker Michael Winterbottom (“In this World”, “Welcome to Sarajevo”, “Code 46”) has agreed to be the guest of honour at this Day.
“Watch a Hungarian film in Liverpool that cannot be seen at the cinema? See your favourite films when you want to on television, your computer or mobile telephone? Offer the last Haneke or the first film by a young European director to the Internet users of other continents? Distribute works that are too different to fit into current commercial outlets? Get to see new films even in the most isolated regions of our continent? All this will be possible with the cinema over the Internet and video-on-demand” commented Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media, on the theme for discussion of the 2005 Europe Day. She added: “New technologies enable European films to conquer new film markets outside Europe. We must seize these opportunities!”
Film on-line services are becoming a commercial reality in Europe. Seeing a film in a cinema is and will remain an irreplaceable cultural activity and cinemas are making enormous efforts to enhance this "live" experience. Film on-line is an additional way of accessing culture, as television and video were during the last century. What policy should the European Union put in place vis-à-vis this additional market for films on-line? Which good practices have been identified in this field? How can cooperation between the creative industries and the access suppliers be improved? How can on-line films be used as tools for promoting cultural diversity? These are just a few of the questions to which Europe Day 2005 will try to reply.
After the morning discussion between politicians, artists and professionals, the afternoon of Europe Day 2005 will be dedicated to the inaugural meeting of the "Leadership Summit on film on-line". Under the presidency of the European Commissioner Viviane Reding, fifteen CEOs from the worlds of telecommunications, the Internet and audiovisual creation (Jean-Bernard Lévy, CEO Vivendi Universal, Ruud Huisman, CEO Tiscali, Jeff Bewkes, Chairman Entertainment and Networks of Time Warner, Riccardo Perissich, CEO Telecom Italia Media, Didier Bellens, CEO Belgacom, Andy Birchall, CEO On-demand Group, Pascal Rogard, Chairman of SACD, Catherine Colonna, Chairperson of the French CNC, Mark Thompson, Chairman of the BBC, Fred Kogel, CEO of Constantin Film, John Woodward, Chairman of the UK Film Council, Peter Aalbaek Jensen, CEO of the Zentropa studios, Jean-Charles Hourcade, Vice President of Thomson, Raj Raithatha, CEO Versatel Telecom, Nicolas Seydoux, CEO Gaumont) will open a dialogue with a view to reaching agreement at European level on the development conditions needed for film on-line in Europe.
MEDIA films at Cannes 2005: IP/05/481 of 26 April 2005