Silvia Costa • Chair of the European Parliament's Culture Committee
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Chair of the European Parliament's Culture Committee Silvia Costa lists the successes of the first 25 years of the MEDIA programme, which saw almost three billion euros earmarked for cinema and the audiovisual field.
Silvia Costa: The 25 years of MEDIA are a success story. I believe, along with Erasmus, that it is one of the best-known European initiatives among its target public - stakeholders and professionals and also those like me, who are simply spectators or lovers of film. I am always very proud, as an MEP, when I see the brand MEDIA or EuropaCinema in the cinemas which promote european works. I think that it has been a success story because of almost 3 billion euros being invested into the film and audiovisual sector in recent years. This contributed, above all, in creating an awareness of belonging to an independant and high quality european cinematic industry. It made the industry bigger, and perhaps even discovered new talent, as well as developing a lot of the cinema and audiovisual professions. All things considered, this has proved relevant today, even if we are considered almost as a “sub-programme” of Creative Europe. From the outset, I think it has set itself the goal of supporting the entire chain of producing cinema, from the script and the planning, to the distribution, cinemas and export abroad and also, the training and all of the stages of putting together a network of professionals. But, above all, I also think about collaboration, which does not only amount to 28 countries, as there are now 41 countries involved with MEDIA. I put a lot of pressure on the European commission because it will trigger more bilateral relationships in the southern mediterranean, because today we know how cultural diplomacy is the point of reference on which we can rethink relations with other countries. Today the European challenge is a cultural challenge, a challenge of understanding and mutual understanding in the diversity of cultures, at home and abroad, and this also means to refine the methods for the “interpretation of reality.” It seems important to me to also say that in the new edition of the MEDIA programme, we have added “audience development”, which is becoming a training ground for shared planning, as well as digital platforms and the possibility of supporting creations on the internet and in new styles.
This year we are also celebrating a wonderful anniversary, ten years of the LUX Prize. This award, as we all know, annually selects 10 european or co-produced films. These are often first or second works but still belong to the young european independent film industry. In these years, 100 films have been selected and have had more opportunity for circulation in Europe. The three finalists, as you know, have in fact, been awarded the opportunity for their work to be translated in 24 official european languages. After the independent juries decide on the finalists,the European parliament have the final decision. The winner this year will be revealed in November, in an important announcement at the plenary session in Strasbourg. This remains the only prize created by a parliament in the world and I am very enthusiastic about this concept - especially giving the opportunity to lesser known industries and creatives to make themselves known - not only in Europe, maintaining linguistic diversity, but also to end up outside of Europe. It is important to remember that in the last four years, the candidates for the Best Foreign-language Film Oscar, winning or nominated, were films that have won the LUX Prize. This year, on 10 October, the European Parliament will start an initiative. There will also be an exhibition at the Parlamentarium about these last ten years. Speakers include many of the creatives and notable people from this period, allowing us to understand how to revive this initiative, knowing that the commission will continue to support it. Interestingly, however, this does not stop in Parliament or in the host cities of Venice and Karlovy Vary. Now there are more than 60 cities in Europe which organise initiatives during the famous LUX Film Days, which starts this year on 10 October and continues until the announcement of the three finalists. This also represents a great opportunity to debate the issues that these films raise, which are also pertinent in our conscience and across european culture today.