Europe pours $8 bil into local biz

Copenhagen Think Tank unveils stats on film funding

If you think there’s a level playing field for public funding of movies in Europe, think again.

European countries sank a massive E7 billion ($8.4 billion) in subsidies and tax incentives into their local movie industries.

France alone pumped $2.9 billion into the Gallic biz — a figure that reps 34% of the total European public film funding. Germany, a far larger economic power, doled out just 13% of that total to its filmmakers.

Other anomalies: Italy produced far more films than the U.K. — 524 vs 310. But average state funding per Italian film ($1.1 million) was nearly a fifth that of Brit pics ($4.9 million).

Tiny Norway puts up more state coin per film ($3.7 million) than France ($3.5 million).

These stats, unveiled at Berlin Tuesday, are first findings from the Copenhagen Think Tank on European Film Policy, which will take place in the Danish capital June 21-24 and is organized by the Danish Film Institute.

Though state coin is vital for the very existence of national film industries in Europe, this looks like the first rigorous public attempt to debate how effective public funding is in stimulating moviemaking in Europe, as DFI director Henning Camre explained at the Think Tank’s presentation Tuesday.

Calibre of background research and producers and public film agency supporting the event is high.

Industry figures who presented the Think Tank at Berlin included Nik Powell of the National Film and Television School, Zentropa’s Peter Aalbaek Jensen and Film Fund Luxembourg’s Guy Deleiden.

Veronique Cayla, head of France’s CNC film fund, has joined the Think Tank’s advisory board.

The Think Tank looks like the first step toward formulating a pan-European funding policy for the digital age, without abandoning, however, the distribution of state coin.

“I don’t believe in harmonizing funding across Europe. But I doubt there are 25 best practices,” Camre said.

Some 150 industry pros will participate in the Think Tank. Discussions will largely turn on case studies.

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