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Lucía Recalde • Head of Unit Creative Europe MEDIA

"Tallinn is a point of contact between creativity and technology"


- Cineuropa caught up with Lucía Recalde, the head of unit in charge of the Creative Europe MEDIA programme, for a chat in keeping with the philosophy of the European Film Forum Tallinn

Lucía Recalde  • Head of Unit Creative Europe MEDIA

The European Film Forum which was held during the 19th edition of the Black Nights Film Festival in Tallinn with the theme “The Digital Future of Film?” was also an opportunity for Cineuropa to sit down with Lucía Recalde, the head of unit in charge of the European Commission’s Creative Europe MEDIA programme, for a chat in keeping with the philosophy of the European forums organised by the programme at important events.

Cineuropa: Why did you choose Tallinn for the European Film Forum: “Digital future of film?”
Lucía Recalde: For a number of reasons, the first being the exponential development of the festival over recent years as a result of the fantastic work of the Black Nights team. The second reason is the very specific DNA of the festival. It is a point of contact between creativity and technology, which is not very common in the European film festival circuit. This characteristic fits in perfectly with the DSM (Digital Single Market) agenda, allowing us to discuss important issues here such as the problem that technical and artistic industries still work in isolation more often than not, even though each sector would benefit from working with others as part of a more cross-cutting approach. It’s also important that Creative Europe engages in dialogue with all film industries in the north, south, east and west of Europe. Our presence in Tallinn with this Forum allows us to meet industry professionals who work in a region with its own specific characteristics.

These Forums allow Creative Europe to collect information that reflects the market situation. Will this data be used to adapt the programme?
Absolutely. The dialogue we’ve established through the forums allow us to evaluate the existing programme to a certain degree. It allows us to get a better idea of the industry’s expectations and is an opportunity for Creative Europe to explain and debate its own ideas on the ground in a very transparent way. We draw conclusions from this dialogue, which is sometimes very lively, that are obviously invaluable for recasting Creative Europe after 2020, but can also be used to adapt the existing programme by interim key dates before that. For example, at Cannes, we discussed how we could improve the circulation of European films and subtitling was mentioned as a crucial way of facilitating the distribution of pieces across borders. The European Commission is now engaged in talks with the subtitling industry to find ways of maximising the potential of subtitles, seeing as funding of subtitles makes it easier to circulate the film. Another example concerns the value of short films and films made on a low budget, which are widely recognised as a way of discovering new talent. These films are economically and artistically important, as they allow us to help artists reach their potential. We don’t yet have a miracle solution, but we’re going to reflect on how we could establish a relationship with new talented filmmakers who represent the creative future of European film. 

Let’s talk about the budget cuts announced for the Creative Europe budget in 2016. Are you going to review the priority of projects in light of these budget cuts?
We’ve tried our best to limit the cuts as much as possible. We’ve just had a new budget agreement and it swings in our favour. On the whole, we’ve managed to keep the budget at a satisfactory level. With regard to our priorities, it’s about adopting a more balanced approach between ensuring the continuity of initiatives currently being supported which work well and experimenting with new projects. I come from the innovation sector and I’ve noticed that we haven’t yet achieved this balance between continuity and experimentation at Creative Europe, but we’re doing the best we can within the limits of the legal basis we have to work with between now and 2020. How far can we go in taking risks in terms of innovation when good governance of public power rests on principles like security and predictability? This is a fundamental question, not only for Creative Europe, but for other programmes managed by the European Commission as well, like the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. That’s why we have to find a way of better linking the Horizon 2020 programme, with its emphasis on technical research and development, with Creative Europe and its emphasis on content. Synergies are possible.

At the moment, Creative Europe doesn’t get involved with innovative projects aimed at new platforms like Virtual Reality or transmedia creation. Is this something you will be addressing in the future?
Obviously we would like to and the issue was discussed at Tallinn. Our main constraint is our limited budget and the number of professionals in the industry that we have to support with the funds we have available. I still don’t know if we’ll manage to integrate these new ways of creating and distributing new content before 2020, but I can assure you that we’re working on it and that this is an opportunity that ties in nicely with the economic and artistic shift that Creative Europe is trying to enact.

(Translated from French)


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