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INDUSTRY France

Dijon Film Meetings take close look at Europe

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During the debate "Analysis and perspectives of European audiovisual, film and cultural policy" held on Friday at the Dijon Film Meetings organised by the ARP (Civil Society of Writers-Directors-Producers), the issue of piracy was a central theme.

Just as the French "Creation and Internet" bill is about to be examined in parliament, Spanish European deputy Ignasi Guardans Cambo maintained that its graduated response system (email warnings followed by possible suspension of Internet subscription) does not violate the notion of fundamental freedom recently included in an amendment by the European Parliament. He also stated that the debate was distorted because "Internet access is not a fundamental right". By way of explanation, he said: "Stop paying your bill and you’ll see whether or not your connection is cut".

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Besides this hotly-debated issue, the European deputy commented that "the Media Programme is working reasonably well and is protected, but the market share for European film in theatres is not increasing." He believes that "above all, a change of mentality is necessary. For instance, the Goya for Best European Film has been discontinued because winning directors haven’t come to receive their awards for five years in a row. Then there is the serious concern about movie theatres’ transition to digital, for if the process doesn’t go well, this will destroy the distribution window for European films, which are shown in small independent theatres. The latter should be supported by European and domestic programmes."

This view was backed up by Eurimages president, Jacques Toubon, who considers that European consensus on the importance of Culture remains greater than the sector’s significance in economic terms, but it has nonetheless suffered blows. These include the widespread belief in Eastern European countries in the superiority of free trade, and the significant disparities on the issue of intellectual property brought about by the development of new technology.

As for State funds, Anne Durupty (assistant director general of the National Film Centre (CNC)) re-asserted France’s opposition to the standardisation in 2011 of cultural tests and specified that this position was the subject of rapprochements within the EFAD (European Film Agency Directors).

Finally, producer Antoine de Clermont-Tonnerre (Mact Productions) sounded the alarm regarding the current number of illegal film downloads in France (435,000 per day, including 87,000 French films). He believes that the impact on audience figures in theatres, on the DVD market (which has declined by a third in four years) and the VoD market (which is advancing too slowly) will at this rate lead to the disappearance of 20% of film investment in two years’ time and 50% in five years’ time. This alarmist position was echoed by filmmaker and ARP president Jean-Paul Salomé who believes that "the house is burning down but the firemen aren’t responding".

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(Translated from French)

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