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Euro Media aid near law

Scheme will have $948 million to spend on film and TV

The European Parliament approved on Tuesday the latest edition of the Media aid program in the penultimate vote by an EU institution before it becomes law.

The seven-year package, which will be worth E755 million ($948 million) when it takes effect Jan. 1, goes before the Council of Ministers in mid-November.

“Previous Media programs have made a major contribution to Europe’s audiovisual sector and delivered good value in doing so,” the Parliament said.

It noted every euro spent by the previous Media Plus program, which ran 2001-06, generated $7.22 in follow-up investment, $3.50 in education, $9 in distribution and $5.20 in development.

“The Council of Ministers vote is basically a formality,” said Media spokesman Nils Koch.

He also noted the agreed budget of $843 million was based on 2004 figures and would be adjusted up to $948 million to account for inflation.

The sum still falls short of the $1.32 billion originally requested by the program but is nearly double the 2001-06 budget of $502 million.

First launched in 1991, the program focuses on training, development, distribution, promotion and support for fests in the European film and TV worlds.

Program estimates it has helped 90% of European pics distributed outside their country of origin.

Separately, European Film Promotion has launched a screening series designed to take local hits from EFP’s 28 member countries to a wider European audience.

“Picture This! The Best of European Cinema” will see local pics that have had some measure of success on home turf screen in three European capitals over a week next spring.

Each EFP member org will put forward a selection of local faves to be considered for inclusion in the weeklong showcase. The three partner cinemas will select 10-15 pics suitable for their territory; this list could vary from country to country. “This program is to be seen as a long-term initiative to acquire and educate additional audiences for European cinema,” said Christian Dorsch, managing director of German Films and a member of the EFP board of directors. “With our marketing concept and the idea of highlighting national box office hits, we are convinced that we will attract a new audience right here in Europe.”

(Archie Thomas contributed to this report.)

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