Forget co-production. The hottest topic at the Euroaim stand – host to 100 European indies from 19 countries – was the resignation of prexy Karol Kulik.
Kulik, with Euroaim general secretary Rudy Barnet, founded the Euroaim project in 1988 and helped take it from a struggling pilot program of the European Community’s Media 92 to an organization with strong financial backing.
“It was a crisis of growth. The Euroaim organization was growing too fast. It has really taken off as a program. When that happens, some of the people involved have different ideas about how it should be run,” explained Barnet.
Euroaim is one of the largest of the 12 projects run by Media 92, an EC-sponsored program to boost European film and tv production and distribution. It was created to aid European indie producers by offering such services as low-cost space at markets.
Indeed, Euroaim had the largest stand at MIP, a three-level, green-carpeted expanse complete with a private terrace bar.
Euroaim’s very success has made it ripe for the ills that plague every large organization. When Media 92 received about $250 million in funding last December (to be divided among 12 projects over the next five years), Euroaim toppers suddenly found their program’s budget had nearly doubled. The staff increased from four to 15. And the trouble began.
Insiders suggest that Kulik’s resignation was prompted by a power struggle over a restructuring plan that would have put Barnet in control of a department overseeing new projects and development, leaving Kulik to oversee organization of stands at the markets in which Euroaim already has a presence.
Assistant market coordinator Jane Busfield also resigned.
Kulik, who declined to be interviewed by VARIETY, was working on several projects that would have expanded Euroaim’s international presence, among them a showcase for independent European producers in Canada and the upcoming Grand Cafe, a three-day co-production market for indie producers scheduled being held in Seville in mid-December. Euroaim is continuing with plans for the new projects despite Kulik’s resignation.