Industry Report: Film Literacy
Eight grants assigned to film literacy projects by the European Commission
by Simone Moraldi
“European Films for Innovative Audience Development” (applicant: Festival Kinimatografou Thessalonikis Astiki Etairia, Greece)
“Les Petites leçons de cinéma” (applicant: La Lanterne Magique, France)
“The Film Corner. New On and Off Activities for Film Literacy” (applicant: Fondazione Cineteca Italiana, Italy)
“Action!Research: a new European Methodology for Film Literacy” (applicant: Milano Film Network, Italy)
“Moving Cinema. Methodologies, Strategies and Tools for Children and Young People to Appreciate European Films and Become an Active Audience” (applicant: A Bao A Qu Associació, Spain)
“Wrap! Must see European cinema for Young People. YEAR 3 2016-2017” (applicant: Stichting Cinekid Amsterdam, Netherlands)
“CinEd, European Cinema Education for Youth-Step 2” (applicant: Institut Français Epic, France)
“European Film Clubs and Schools Licensing” (applicant: Film Literacy Europe Limited, United Kingdom)
Five of these are new editions of previously financed projects and three of them are new entries. A total funding amount of €1.1 million has been assigned.
Notes on film literacy
Film literacy is generally meant as part of the wider set of audience development that is an increasingly important matter in cultural policies worldwide and shapes to be a wide field of action. It goes from communication and dissemination techniques and strategies for reaching new audiences, to policies and actions aimed at consolidating audiences around a cultural proposal. National and European networks for culture currently reflect hugely on the role and value of audience development, such as The Audience Agency, The Arts Council of England and Fitzcarraldo Foundation, which have been recently charged by the European Commission with drawing a European-scale study on audience development. Audience development appears as a “strategic and dynamic process for widening and diversifying audiences and for a general improvement of the conditions for enjoying culture”, as explained in the guidelines of the culture sub-programme in the European Union’s Creative Europe Programme, in which audience development has become a strategic cross-cutting pillar since its beginning.
Audience development in film is emerging as a crucial matter: is accessibility and availability of film through multiple channels sufficient for letting people reach film? How is the relationship people establish with film changing? How can stakeholders play a role in this process and foster people’s full access to film? And what does it mean to have a full access to film? Since 2014, the Creative Europe Programme supports audience development with a strand funded for €1.9 million. Film literacy, as the headline of action 1 of the call, has been acknowledged as strategic for improving access to film as a part of a wider strategy for media literacy that the European Commission has pursued since the early 2000s. Film literacy can be defined as “The level of understanding of a film, the ability to be conscious and curious in the choice of films; the competence to critically watch a film and to analyse its content, cinematography and technical aspects; and the ability to manipulate its language and technical resources in creative moving image production” as reported by Screening Literacy, the first EU report on film literacy edited by a group of institutions from the 28 EU countries, coordinated by the British Film Institute (BFI) and released in 2013 by the European Commission.
2014-2016: A little bit of history
In the past three years, 12 film literacy projects from nine EU countries have been supported, six of which were supported for for more than one edition. Among them are the ABCinema project, coordinated by Cineteca di Bologna aimed at collecting a library of Europe-wide best practices in film literacy; The European Film Academy’s project Young Audience Award, a youth audience prize for European cinema; Doc Alliance Academy project, coordinated by Czech VoD portal, Doc Alliance, aimed at improving circulation and education on documentary film.
Several conferences on film literacy have been held: the Film and Media Education in Poland and in the world conference, hosted by the University of Warsaw and Polish Film Institute from 6 to 7 May; the Media Meets Literacy Conference hosted by the Evens Foundation from 21 to 22 May in Warsaw; the international conference held on 19 June at the Cinémathèque Française in Paris as part of the A Framework for Film Education in Europe project coordinated by the BFI; the Children’s Film First conference held by the European Children’s Film Association in Brussels from 23 to 24 September. Furthermore, the European Media and Information Literacy Forum, hosted by UNESCO, constantly looks at film literacy.