The European Film Forum celebrates MEDIA's 25th anniversary by “commemorating diversity”
by Fran Royo
- Yesterday, the European Film Forum began in Brussels’ Bozar, and looked to the future of European cinema by focusing on innovation and diversity
The first day of the European Film Forum, held at the Brussels Cinema Days in the BOZAR cultural centre in the Belgian capital, hinged on a retrospective examining innovation in terms of the format, the content and the distribution of European cinema.
The event was introduced by Giuseppe Abbamonte and Commissioner Günther H Oettinger, who highlighted that an exchange of ideas between the film industry and policy makers was a key feature of the EFF. After this, the first conference, entitled "Looking to the Future: Adaptation or Revolution?", took place, featuring panellists Peter Aalbaek Jensen, producer and co-founder of Zentropa, Ilion Animation Studios founder and chief creative officer Ignacio Perez Dolset, and Ron Sterk, CEO of Vue Netherlands. Moderated by Domenico La Porta, of Cineuropa, the panel delved into the relevance of “having both the creativity and the industry of animation in Europe, not in Hollywood”, as Perez Dolset said.
Topics related to new distribution phenomena like Netflix and YouTube, as well as opportunities for funding, such as crowdfunding, were examined during this first discussion, and were dealt with in more depth during the conversation between director Thomas Vinterberg, deputy managing director of UniFrance Frédéric Bereyziat, general and artistic director of the Rotterdam International Film Festival Bero Beyer and Trust Nordisk CEO Rikke Ennis, entitled "Putting European Works in the Spotlight", which also discussed the role of festivals in the European film market.
Another discussion named "Women on the Move – Towards a More Diverse Film Industry", featuring producer Rebecca O’Brien and distributor Régine Vial, highlighted the fact that in the UK alone, less than 13.6% of filmmakers are women, but stressed the joy that programmes like MEDIA create by “commemorating diversity”, as O’Brien remarked. This was followed by the second panel, bearing the title "Innovation in Formats: Content Has No Borders", with panellists Sten Saluveer, director of industry at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, ARTE France president Véronique Cayla, Mikros Image CEO Gilles Gaillard, and Ivar Kohn of NRK Norway. At this second conference, also moderated by La Porta, the importance of investing in innovation was brought to everyone's attention, especially when it comes to virtual- and augmented-reality experiences. Cayla believes that “support for national broadcasters in their experiments with new formats is essential”, as is support for innovative platforms such as the Digital Single Market, which Saluveer defined as a “trend-setters' gathering”, as “engagement and relevance are what the European film industry needs to set its sights on”.