Taking the right approach to culture and cinema at the European Film Forum
by Birgit Heidsiek
- VENICE 2016: UNIC and CICAE presented a common catalogue of demands to the European institutions
During the European Film Forum on cinema that was held at the Venice International Film Festival, the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) and the International Confederation of Art Cinemas (CICAE) expressed in a common statement the challenges that the cinema sector is facing. “At a time when European Union leaders are required to navigate a political landscape that is increasingly Euro-sceptic and influenced by major international and institutional challenges, it is essential that Europe take the right approach to culture and cinema,” emphasised Phil Clapp, president of UNIC, and Detlef Rossmann, president of CICAE.
The cinema organisations are calling on the European institutions to strengthen support for the European cinema exhibition and distribution sectors in order to raise audience awareness and generate more excitement around film releases. Their catalogue of demands includes “stopping ill-advised support projects for synchronous theatrical and video-on-demand releases, not least given the weak evidence that such projects yield any positive results for the wider industry, and in return recognise the value of exclusive release periods in cinemas”.
Another key issue is to ensure that member states can request a levy from international VoD platforms to support their local cinema ecosystem. Fairly recently, the European Commission decided that VoD services abroad are also obliged to contribute to film funding, as are all other parties. This decision will have an impact on the new German film law, which comes into effect on 1 January 2017.
Further points included the fact that audiovisual services will be excluded from the TTIP negotiations, there is a need to fight commercial-scale copyright infringement through the increased co-ordination of member states’ activities, as well as a need to prevent the application of the country of origin principle enshrined in the Satellite and Cable Directive to online services.
“We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the European Commission, the European Parliament and all EU member states to ensure that the European strategy for film and cinema is of the greatest benefit for European audiences and the European cinema sector,” concluded Clapp and Rossmann.