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"We have to accept that people are different"

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Jobst Plog • President of Eurimages

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- With the new online application system, a paperless era begins at the European Cinema Support Fund for Co-Productions

Jobst Plog • President of Eurimages

With the new online application system, a paperless era begins at Eurimages. The European Cinema Support Fund for Co-Productions will no longer accept paper applications – the new system will be available on the Eurimages web site from 3 April 2013. Eurimages will also be launching a new support programme for distribution and marketing – President Jobst Plog explains why he believes that it will not work in Europe to set only one standard.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Cineuropa: What are Eurimages‘ budget sources?
Jobst Plog
: Our total budget of €25 million consists of contributions of the countries amounting to € 23 m. The other €2m comes from interest income as well as revenue from successful films. 

Do wealthy member states receive more funding?
There is no direct connection between payment and demand for funding. The allocation follows artistic criterias because the goal of Eurimages is to support the film d‘auteur. The contribution depends on the economic power of members and the range of the co-production activity in the respective country. If these both parameters will change, we are going to adjust the amount of contribution. But when we discuss the projects it is never an issue how much a country has paid.

Is the crisis reflected in lower contributions?
There are complaints in various European countries that are affected because they have trouble keeping up with their contributions. But neither Portugal nor Spain has yet requested a reduction.

What new experiences are new member states gaining?
What is so intriguing about Eurimages is that the more we enlarge the group, the more different are the narrative styles and approaches to how projects are conceived. The idea of how a film d‘auteur looks like in France, Italy or Germany is not necessarily the benchmark for other members. The eastern European film that recently enjoyed success at the Berlin film festival is characterised by various narrative styles and different kinds of humor. I see this as real enrichment.

The distribution support was put on hold at the end of 2011 because some distributors couldn‘t afford an equity ratio of 50 percent. How is it possible to check the appropriation of the funds?
This is a general problem in ‚young‘ countries where is no basis yet to guarantee the theatrical exploitation. If that is not working it is better to check the whole system. We have audit firms onsite that control the criteria and processes. It is a mission impossible to create a system that works in all these countries. In Sweden, things are handled in a different way from Albania. We have to accept that people are different. This is one of the basic rules for an institution that is European because it doesn‘t work to set only one standard.

How will Eurimages‘ new distribution support work?
We want to set priorities on marketing. The countries that benefit from that will be the same but Georgia and Russia will be added. The new system is based on two principles. This includes distribution support for the exploitation of several films. Furthermore we want to promote festivals and certain cinemas that have committed themselves to European films.  It is a big adventure for me to actually experience Europe. This continent is awesome. Europe stands for variety, diversity and tolerance to be different in the tradition of enlightment. Where else do we have this, but sometimes we forget it.

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