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EUROPE Funding

Costa Gavras calls Barroso 'a dangerous man'

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- European filmmakers are very disappointed following a meeting with the president of the European Commission

Costa Gavras calls Barroso 'a dangerous man'

Before the Council of EU Trade, ministers will decide on Friday, June 14, if culture will be excluded from the negotiating mandate that the European Commission will receive for the talks with the US on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a delegation of European film-makers that have submitted a petition with 6,200 signatures to the European Parliament went to Strasbourg to defend the exclusion of culture in the EU-US trade agreement.

The film-maker delegation included award-winning French actress Bérenice Bejo (The Past [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, The Artist
 [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Michel Hazanavicius
film profile
]
), Academy-Award winning writer, director and producer Costa Gavras, Belgian actor and director Lucas Belvaux (After Life, Rapt [+see also:
trailer
interview: Lucas Belvaux
film profile
]
),
Italian actor and director Daniele Luchetti (Domani Accadrá), Romanian Palme d'Or winner Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks, And 2 Days [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Cristian Mungiu
interview: Oleg Mutu
film profile
]
), Cesar-winning writer/director Radu Mihaileanu (Va, vis et deviens [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Denis Carot
interview: Didar Domehri
interview: Radu Mihaileanu
film profile
]
, Le Concert
 [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Radu Mihaileanu
film profile
]
) as well as Polish director and film producer Dariusz Jablonski (Land of Oblivion [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
).

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"After our meeting with Barroso, I just can say that he is a dangerous man, who will flatten European culture: he says cultural exception is not negotiable, but he accepts audiovisual to be negotiable," stressed Costa Gavras. "So Google and others will be entering in your TV. You will have your TV filled with US productions and then your creators will not be there to tell the real story of your country.“

French actress Bérénice Bejo read a text from German filmmaker Wim Wenders on the dangers of abandoning the cultural exception. Some American directors said they would have loved to make such a film like The Artist, but it would have been impossible, as nobody would have financed it. Bejo is concerned that small film productions will disappear if the cultural exception will be sacrificed.

"We have fought for cultural exception, not only for France or for Europe, but at a global scale," said Henri Weber, French Socialist MEP. "We have tried to explain this around the word because the peoples and the nations have all their right to subsidize their creators, and this cannot be traded."

"We know that the MEPs are backing us," emphasized Radu Mihaileanu who is worried about the fact that Mr Barroso won't listen to them when they say that cultural products cannot be treated equally as other kind of goods. "Ideas and wit cannot be part of a negotiation deal if we risk of loosing them, because we could loose our identity, our freedom of expression," concluded the filmmaker. "We love a Europe of diversity, that's our treasure, and we will fight until the end for it."

In case the cultural exception is not preserved, France has already threatened to block any talks on the TTIP. The members of the French authors, directors and producers guild ARP do not understand why Barroso changed his mind. After his passionate statement "on a scale of values, culture comes before the economy" in 2005, he is now seemingly deaf to the position of the European Parliament that voted in favor to exclude culture from the trade talks.

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