New EU strategy for European films in the digital era
by Birgit Heidsiek
- CANNES 2014: The European Commission has adopted a Communication on European film that will be discussed at the Cannes Festival
The European Commission has launched a new EU strategy on European film in the digital era, which suggests that public funding should focus more on expanding the audience for European films, and increasing support for development, promotion and international distribution.
European films represent nearly two-thirds of releases in the EU but account for only one-third of ticket sales. While the number of films produced in Europe increased from around 1,100 in 2008 to 1,300 in 2012, most European films are shown only in the country where they were made and are rarely distributed across borders.
“Improving the international distribution of European films is crucial, not just economically but also in terms of diversity,” states Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Multilingualism. “I look forward to discussing this new strategy for the first time with industry representatives during the coming days at the Cannes Film Festival.”
At present, nearly 70% of national public funding is devoted to producing films, rather than maximising audience potential. More flexibility and experimentation regarding how and when films are screened are also recommended, given the increasing popularity of VoD and downloading. These issues will be discussed at the European Film Forum, which brings together experts from the European Commission, member states, national and regional film funds, and other industry representatives at the Cannes Festival.