Euro biz fuels Beaune forum

Talk centers on industry's condition with globalization, technical innovation

BEAUNE, France — The 11th annual Beaune Film Forum, presided over by “Amelie” helmer Jean-Pierre Jeunet, closed Sunday.

Event united 500 international film biz execs, French ministry reps and EU officials for a weekend of discussion about the industry’s current condition in a climate of globalization and technical innovation.

In the past few years, with equivocal European and international trade regulations seen by many as a threat to cultural diversity, the forum, organized by the French association of writers, directors and producers the ARP, has become a meeting ground where filmmakers and execs devise strategies to protect their industry. It is also an opportunity to discreetly lobby government officials.

“The turnout at Beaune shows the world the solidarity of a very little industry that represents a small economic force but a large cultural one,” agent Jean-Francois Pignard de Marthod of JFPM & Associates told Daily Variety.

At a candlelight dinner Saturday in a 15th century stone cellar, Antoine de Clermont-Tonnerre, president of the French producers guild and producer of the Oscar-nominated “Central Station,” told Daily Variety, “The forum is an important annual rendezvous because of the extremely high level of participants and debates.”

Those attending the forum included Canal Plus president Pierre Lescure; director Claude Lelouch; French Culture Minister Catherine Tasca; EU culture and education commish Viviane Reding; French Secretary of Commerce Francois Huwart and MPAA chairman Jack Valenti.

Valenti said his presence at the forum over the past six years has “allayed French suspicion of the U.S.” France is waiting to see how the U.S plays its hand in the Nov. 9-13 World Trade Organization service sector debates and ongoing UNESCO cultural diversity discussions.

After Reding spoke on a panel entitled “Can European film and television policy withstand globalization?,” French independent producers union prexy Marie Masmonteil was optimistic.

“We’re at the end of the cycle,” she told Daily Variety, referring to the heated debates of last year’s forum which led to an EU communication strengthening the legal security of state aid to film and audiovisual production. “I think we can now look forward to greater European collaboration.”

Jeunet was presented with the Etienne-Jules Marey award, joining a list of winners that includes Costa-Gavras, Roman Polanski, Claude Chabrol and John Frankenheimer.

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