Brussels, 17 March 2008
Today a Memorandum of Understanding making Croatia the first candidate country to join the MEDIA 2007 programme was signed by Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media, and Ambassador Branko Baričević, Head of the Croatian Mission to the EU. Croatia is the 32nd country to join the MEDIA programme for the competitiveness of the European audiovisual industry, and the distribution and exhibition of audiovisual works (following the EU27, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). The total budget for MEDIA 2007 is € 755 million for 2007 to 2013.
“I warmly welcome the entry of Croatia in the MEDIA 2007 programme which confirms its willingness to actively participate in the promotion of Europe's audiovisual industry and of Europe's cultural diversity. I am convinced that Croatia's participation will give a push for a more active cooperation between the film industries of EU countries and the Croatian film industry," said EU Media Commissioner Reding. "MEDIA 2007 will help Croatia promote Croatian films and distribute them more widely across borders and allow more audiovisual works from the rest of Europe to find an audience in Croatia."
MEDIA 2007 will strengthen the competitiveness of the Croatian audiovisual sector by facilitating access to financing and supporting the transition towards digital technology in the development, distribution and promotion of audiovisual works, and by helping the training of Croatian film people and the cooperation between film schools. Croatia's participation in MEDIA 2007 is a result of its progress in complying with EU audiovisual rules and acquis, in particular the Television without Frontiers Directive. Croatia will, as all non-EU participating countries do, contribute to the budget of MEDIA 2007 (contribution will be of 127 333 euros in 2008 and increase to 139 546 euros in 2013).
Croatia has a vibrant film industry with spectacular, unspoilt locations and exceptional local talent, both in front of the cameras and behind the scenes. Croatian films have already received international recognition: Ta divna splitska noć (That Wonderful Night in Split) by Arsen A. Ostojić nominated for the European Discovery EFA award in 2004; Tu (Here) by Zrinko Ogresta which won the Special Prize of the Jury of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival; Oprosti za kung Fu (Sorry for Kung fu) and Armin by Ognjen Sviličić both premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2005 and 2006.
The new MEDIA 2007 programme is the 4th multi-annual Programme of its kind since 1991. It will provide € 755 million to Europe's film industry from 2007 to 2013 (see IP/07/169). A clear priority (almost 65% of the total budget) is the distribution and promotion of European films beyond their country of origin. Under MEDIA Plus and MEDIA Training (2001-2006), more than half a billion Euro were injected into 8000 projects from over 30 countries.
300 new European film projects are supported by MEDIA 2007 every year, and
2.5 million cinema-goers watch over 15,000 European screenings in more than 100
festivals funded by MEDIA 2007. Last month, EU-funded The Counterfeiters
(Austria/Germany) won the Oscar for best foreign language film (see IP/08/298).