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ODESA 2020 Film Industry Office

Ucrania se une a Eurimages, preparada para adaptarse

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- Uno de las principales conferencias en el Cinema Backstage de Odesa se centró en el papel del fondo, los próximos cambios y la forma en la que Ucrania puede participar activamente

Ucrania se une a Eurimages, preparada para adaptarse
Los participanes en el debate

Este artículo está disponible en inglés.

One of the pillars of the Odesa International Film Festival’s Film Industry Office, Cinema Backstage is dedicated to the most important trends in the industry, especially in Eastern Partnership countries. The programme is curated by Tamara Tatishvili, former Georgian representative at Eurimages, and at this edition, three major topics were discussed: the participation of Ukraine in Eurimages; creativity and mental stability for producers, artists, directors, actors and other industry professionals in the face of current challenges; and gender stereotypes in storytelling under cultural and historical pressure.

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During the opening panel, Sergio Garcia de Leániz, project manager at Eurimages, and Eurimages national representatives Iole Giannattasio for Italy and producer Vladimir Yatsenko for Ukraine, discussed the role of the organisation, the future of Ukraine as a new member and the evolution of the fund in the coming years.

Leániz offered a general overview of the history and the role of Eurimages, which already has 41 member states and a budget of €26 million going towards various funding schemes. Almost 90% of that budget is dedicated to co-productions, with 80 to 90 film projects receiving funding yearly. Eurimages’ promotional programmes are now under further review, as the €20,000 Co-production Development Awards and the new list of film markets that will host it for the next three years will be announced soon. On the other hand, the €50,000 Lab Project Awards, now handed out in four festival markets, will be on hiatus in 2021 with the hope to be relaunched in 2022 in a different format. Moreover, the distribution support addressed to countries that are not under the Creative Europe MEDIA umbrella is also under review and will have a new form next year.

Giannattasio focused on the role of Eurimages national representatives, and clarified that there is no political decision behind the support given to the projects, since all are under evaluation. As a cultural fund, Eurimages is always adapting to reflect what is currently happening. If a project is not supported by Eurimages but still eligible, this is a proof of quality that can attract different funding bodies, festivals or markets which follow their next steps.

In his turn, Yatsenko, who attended previous Eurimages sessions as an observer, explained that the Ukrainian industry is changing and can adapt to new rules. Understanding how the funding body works, he mentioned that, in the next session, when Ukraine will be a full active member with applying projects, the new rules will be discussed. At the same time, the local market is shrinking with more cinemas closing due to both the ongoing war and now the pandemic. These conditions drive national productions to fight for international markets by providing high quality content, which can initially be offered to European audiences. In the first call of projects, Yatsenko received 13 applications, with only 5 fulfilling Eurimages requests. After further research, 3 projects have been found eligible to be submitted to the board.

The ability to adapt to an ever changing audiovisual industry is a key element for Leániz, who also mentioned that the Eurimages reform will be implemented by the end of 2021 or in early 2022. Among the major changes, the support of a budget up to €150,000 will now become a non-reimbursable subsidy, which will not be linked to the film’s revenues the way it has been until now. Moreover, the number of instalments will be reduced from three, to two – 70% at pre-production stage, and 30% after the release of the film – simplifying the process and increasing the cash flow for producers. In the governance of Eurimages, the evaluation of projects will no longer be conducted by national representatives, but by independent external experts who can apply for the position, while an executive committee will handle all the practical decisions and the board will focus on the policies of the fund.

Regarding the selection, Giannattasio mentioned that no genre is more “favorable” to Eurimages, because selection is not only a matter of content and also depends on the visual language which the project has developed before arriving to the committee. A complete dossier should not be limited to the script, and should give members a sense of what they can see on screen and in coherence with the final result. The better a project speaks to different cultures and languages, the more possibilities it will have.

Regarding the situation in Ukraine, Yatsenko mentioned that with the rapid changes the country is undergoing, producers feel the pressure to prepare and shoot everything very fast, resulting in applications for projects that are undercooked. Professionally translating their projects is another key issue, but in response to the lack of proper development funding schemes, the Ukrainian Institute has just launched a call which received over 400 applications in the first round alone, so this issue should be solved. Moreover, producers are trying to be more open in their subjects and to move away from war-related or post-Maidan events, though this process is still ongoing.

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(Traducción del inglés)

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