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Money For Euro Films Under review

  • June 28th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

film-gamin.jpgThe money supply for European films is getting a fresh review.

PUTTING THE QUESTIONS

A public consultation by the European Commission has been set up to review the criteria used to apply EU state aid rules to Member States’ financial support for making and distributing films.

It has targeted the practice of using public funds in competition to get major film productions, often American; suggesting the ten year-old funding system should take in new ways of delivering support.

That might signal a shift from aid with production costs, towards such activity as film distribution and digital projection.

It is also questioning restrictions on the location of films (“territorial spending obligations imposed in film support schemes”), and asking whether the rules on state aid can or should be adapted for “new technologies, new creative concepts and changing consumer behaviour”.

“Does a subsidy race to attract major US productions undermine the effectiveness of aid to support smaller European films?”, said the Competition Commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, 20.6.11.

“Does the scope of our rules need to go beyond encouraging the production of more films? And is support needed to encourage filmmakers to explore the possibilities of the digital revolution? Only when we have a clearer picture of issues like these can we begin to develop appropriate state aid rules.”

FUNDING THE CULTURE WARS

EU Member States provide some €2.3-billion (A$3.14-billion, xe.com, 28.6.11) p.a. in film support, as soft loans and tax incentives; 80% of it for film production, mostly in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Sometimes seen as vital support for European culture against commercial pressure from the United States, it has contributed at least one more competitive zone of activity, among smaller film industries around the globe.

At the 2011 Cannes Film festival last month, 22.5.11, helping to make the Commissioner’s point, it was an American film, Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life, that won the main prize, the Palme d’Or.

Winner of a Grand Prix Ex-aequo, the category privileging art and research, was  the Belgian film, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s Le Gamin au Velo, (in the way of multi-national European “puddings” accessing grants, it was listed as Belgian, French and Italian).

European films have won seven of the 11 Grand Prix awards since 2001.

Submissions are being taken in the consultation on film funding  until the end of September.

Reference

Cannes Film Festival, Cannes, (home), List of films awarded prizes at the Closing Award ceremony 22.5.11.

EC, Brussels, State aid: Commission consults on support to film sector,  IP/11/757, 20.6.11. http://www.festival-cannes.com/en/archives/awardCompetition.html, (28.6.11)

Picture

Still from Le Gamin au Velo (Kid with a Bike).

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