Country Focus: France
France, Germany and Italy call the Council of the European Union's attention to the cinematic arts
- On the occasion of the European conference entitled "Audiovisual Market and Regulation: An Industry at Crossroads" held under the Italian presidency of the Council of the European Union, Peter Dinges, executive director of the German FFA Filmförderungsanstalt, Roberto Cicutto, director of the Italian Istituto Luce - Cinecittà, and Jean-Paul Salomé, president of UniFrance Films, raised a number of crucial question concerning the future of European cinema, and offered their response to these questions.
What will the European film industry be like in ten years' time? Faced with the power of the Hollywood film industry, will European producers and filmmakers still be able to make and promote their films? Will there still be films that can tackle all the new challenges that the film industry is facing?
"Since we are responsible for promoting our own national film industries, we would like to demonstrate our desire to think together to support our production, reinforce our co-productions, and encourage the distribution of our films in Europe and the rest of the world. Every day, we work for our own films and on promoting our talent on an international level. We are also concerned with the existence and influence of our respective films. We believe that the strength of each country's film industry can benefit film industries in other countries and that it will be a win-win situation for all of us if each one of our filmmakers builds their strength not only in their own country, but also in neighbouring countries.
Germany, Italy and France are major filmmaking countries, where the market share for our respective films is among the highest in Europe. We share a common history of cooperation and co-production. We want to assert our solidarity in defence of our films.
While the number of films produced has never been so high, we regret that they are not more visible beyond their borders. Their presence is all too clearly lacking in cinemas, especially multiplexes, on publicly owned television networks, and digital screens and platforms outside their borders. We have to reverse this trend. This is why encouraging more people to watch European films is one of our major priorities.
We have to organise better access to European films and implement this at a time when film consumption habits are evolving. We have to act before it is too late. With a new commission being set up, we believe it is urgent and necessary to reassert the quality, value, appeal and originality of European cinema because we refuse to see it being undermined by Hollywood productions.
Following on from Costa Gavras's statements on cultural exception, we currently wish to:
1. Re-establish a constructive dialogue with European elected members and leaders
2. Reinforce European collaboration in the writing, development, production, and distribution of our films
3. Work with the EU so that publicly-owned television networks, in particular, assume their responsibility to broadcast European films from countries other than their own
4. Adapt rules and regulations to digital media by ensuring copyright is maintained and protected, which does not prevent the distribution of works, whatever their media type
5. Apply control mechanisms to the new digital operators who take advantage of their transnational aspect in order to escape their appropriate participation in European audiovisual production
6. Set up a common policy to combat audiovisual piracy"
(Peter Dinges, Roberto Cicutto and Jean-Paul Salomé)