Euro official prods producers

BRUSSELS — Europeans will have to take a more commercial approach to making movies if they want to compete with Hollywood, a European Union official said on Thursday.

“European film producers seem to find it difficult to reconcile ‘art’ and ‘money,’ ” Audiovisual Commissioner Joao de Deus Pinheiro said in a speech prepared for a film conference.

Deus Pinheiro helped guide the EU’s negotiating strategy in the recent battle with the United States over cinema and television in the Uruguay Round world trade talks. He said the outcome of those talks, which left the audiovisual industry outside the new trade liberalization pact, gave Europe’s film industry a brief respite.

“Either we use this respite to create efficient industries that match our ambitions or we give up and take the economical and cultural consequences that lack of action would entail,” he said.

European filmmakers saw the U.S. effort to curtail European subsidies and TV programming quotas as a bid by Hollywood to expand its domination and kill off their industry.

But Deus Pinheiro said the weakness of Europe’s cinema industry was partly due to bad business practices. Europe needs to produce more movies for a worldwide public and to tap international financing, he added.

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