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Brussels, 17 March 2011

EU funding for cinema: Barroso and Vassiliou pledge on future MEDIA programme

Brussels, 17 March - European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou reiterated their strong support for the European Union's MEDIA fund for cinema at the start of a meeting with film directors who had voiced fears about its future.

The film-makers, representing the association of authors, directors and producers, included three winners of the Cannes Palme d'Or: Cristian Mungiu (for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, 2007), Théo Angelopoulos (Eternity and a Day, 1998) and Costa Gavras (Missing, 1982). They presented a 1800-signature petition calling for the MEDIA programme to be maintained in the EU's financial framework after 2013.

President Barroso said: "The MEDIA programme has played an invaluable role in supporting the European film industry for 20 years. Rumours that we intend to abolish it or reduce its funding are completely unfounded. On the contrary, our plan is to strengthen the programme in future."

Commissioner Vassiliou added: "Our support for film distribution, development and digitisation fills a funding gap – and it's good for cultural diversity, competitiveness and jobs. Without it, audiences would see fewer European films."

MEDIA is providing €755 million in support of Europe's film industry in 2007-2013 (€1.7 billion since the programme's launch in 1991). Nearly half of the funding is allocated to distributors who screen films made outside their home market. Around 20% of the total is for development - turning a film project into reality.

Tomorrow (18 March) more than 300 representatives of the cinema industry, including Cristian Mungiu and fellow Romanian director Radu Milhaileanu, will take part in a public consultation (Brussels Charlemagne building 09:00-16:00) on how the MEDIA programme can best respond to current and future challenges.

Programme for public consultation on future of MEDIA (18 March)

President Barroso's website

Commissioner Vassiliou's website

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