Brussels, 15 May 2014
New European film strategy aims to boost cultural diversity and competitiveness in digital era
European films represent nearly two thirds of releases in the EU but account for only one third of ticket sales. While the number of films produced in Europe increased from around 1100 in 2008 to 1300 in 2012, most European films are shown only in the country where they were made and are rarely distributed across borders. A new EU strategy on 'European film in the digital era', launched by the European Commission today, seeks to address this challenge by highlighting the need to make the most of new methods of distribution to enhance cultural diversity and competitiveness.
"Improving the international distribution of European films is crucial, not just economically but also in terms of diversity," said Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Multilingualism. "This is one of the objectives of our Creative Europe MEDIA programme and an area where we add real value at European level. But it is clear that more needs to be done to increase the audience for European-made films and to improve cross-border cooperation. I look forward to discussing this new strategy for the first time with industry representatives during the coming days at the Cannes Film Festival."
The Commission's strategy paper suggests that public funding should focus more on expanding the audience for European films and increasing support for development, promotion and international distribution. At present nearly 70% of national public funding is devoted to producing films rather than maximising audience potential. More flexibility and experimentation regarding how and when films are screened is also recommended, given the increasing popularity of video-on-demand and downloading.
The strategy will encourage a new process of dialogue – the so-called European Film Forum – to encourage an exchange of ideas on how national, regional and EU audiovisual policies can better complement each other and respond to challenges such as digitisation and the difficulties many film companies face in trying to obtain funding.
Starting with a conference today at the film festival in Cannes, the Forum will bring together experts from the European Commission, Member States, national and regional film funds, and other industry representatives. It will benefit from support through the Creative Europe programme for seminars, data collection and transnational exchange.
Creative Europe is the fifth generation of EU funding programmes supporting the cultural and creative sectors. It was launched on 1 January, with a budget of nearly €1.5 billion for 2014-2020. The programme will allocate at least 56% of its budget for its MEDIA sub-programme.
Since 1991, MEDIA (acronym for 'Mesures pour encourager le développement de l'industrie audiovisuelle' – measures to encourage the development of the audiovisual industry) has invested €1.7 billion in film development, distribution, training and innovation with the aim of enhancing the diversity and international competitiveness of the European film and audiovisual industry. In addition to its support for film-makers, MEDIA fund will support more than 2 000 European cinemas where at least 50% of the films they screen are European.
Today the Commission has adopted a Communication on European film in the digital era. It will complement the programme by a policy debate between the Commission and interested parties in the Member States, the film funds and other policy makers and the film professionals. The aim is to increase the complementarity between the support activities carried out at EU and national levels and to maximise their overall added value for the European films and for their public.
For more information
European Commission: Creative Europe
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