Berlinale: Creative Europe information day

Alexia Muiños Ruiz
Alexia Muiños Ruiz

Creative Europe-MEDIA information day at the 2014 Berlinale

Joining forces to strengthen competitiveness and cultural diversity in the European film sector

European culture, cinema, television, music, literature, performing arts, heritage and related areas will benefit from increased support under the European Commission’s new Creative Europe programme, which was approved by the European Parliament on 19 November and by the Council of the EU on 5 December 2013. With a budget of €1.46 billion over the next seven years – 9% more than current levels – the programme will provide a boost for the cultural and creative sectors, which are a major source of jobs and growth.

The MEDIA sub-programme of Creative Europe supports the EU film and audiovisual industries financially in the development, distribution and promotion of their work. It helps to launch projects with a European dimension; it enables European films and audiovisual works to find markets beyond national and European, borders; it funds training and development schemes.

On Monday 10 February the presentation was opened by Michel Magnier, Director of Culture at the European Commission, who summarized that the new Creative EUROPE merges the 3 existing programs (Cultural, MEDIA and MEDIA-Mundus) and was born to promote cross-sectoral co-operation.

The achievement of its objectives of both promoting cultural heritage + linguistic diversity and enhancing the competitiveness of the European film industry require that there be a complementarity between European and Member States funding strategies, as well as continuous exchanges on and a joint understanding of the underlying policy objectives.

The European Audiovisual Network in the context of this meeting, represented by the Executive Director, Francine Raveney, alongside President Isabel de Ocampo and Deputy and Web Editor Alexia Muiños Ruiz,called on those responsible for the Creative Europe programme to ensure the necessary strategy for equality be put on the agenda and that provisions be set in place so that gender statistics on equality be monitored, evaluated and crucially disseminated. Following this a further meeting has been held between the EWA Network and Xavier Troussard, the head of unit, media programme, Creative Europe which was very positive. 

At the Creative Europe day, Xavier Troussard, was the keynote speaker and the moderator of the event was Norman Jardine, also from the European Commission; the participants in the debate were: Fred Breinersdorfer (writer / producer/ director), Gabrielle Guallar (CNC), Claus Hjorth (DFI), Hrvoje Hribar (Croatian Audiovisual Centre) and Kirsten Niehus (Medienboard Berlin-Brandeburg). These representatives, were invited to discuss how best to increase the competitiveness of the European film industry while preserving its cultural diversity in the context of an era of convergence.

The key questions of the debate were the challenge of promoting and distributing European films; Innovative forms of distribution; Increasing the exportation of European films beyond the current level of 10%.

The panel confirmed that Europeans are strongly attached to the cultural and linguistic diversity displayed in European cinema, but that adaptations must be made to keep pace with the global audiovisual sector.

A common challenge expressed by film funds was how to involve global Internet players in the promotion of European films, either through investment in productions or contributions to public funding.

Fred Breinersdorfer, scriptwriter of the Oscar nominated film "Sophie Scholl", expressed a particular concern over the relatively weak availability of European films online, stating the need for "more innovative online offers for films that can be an attractive alternative to piracy".

Key conclusions from the discussion include:

  • how to foster better exchanges between member states and the EU in order to share best practices, encourage experimentation and adapt film policies to better respond to the market development.
  • working at national level to follow-up on reporting exercises in the cinema sector (i.e. France’s ’Bonnel report’ and the report on digital challenges and possibilities for Danish film in Denmark).
  • Finding ways to counter the inadequate availability of European films on legal online platforms.
  • Developing innovative distribution methods to safeguard cultural diversity in European cinema.
  • Identifying the most effective funding mechanisms to boost creativity.

"The Commission will pick up the ball and contribute to better dialogue with the national and regional funding institutions. Creative Europe will only be a success if we all join forces and work together for the benefit of the European film industry and of the European audience," said Michel Magnier. In the context of this, EWA will, on an ongoing basis, do its best to ensure that gender equality and cultural diversity are firmly on the agenda.