Loach, Wenders want Media Program preserved

A contingent of more than 300 European filmmakers, including Ken Loach, Wim Wenders, Bertrand Tavernier and Costa-Gavras, have signed a petition in an attempt to ensure the future independence of the European Union’s Media Program.

Filmmakers reacted to fears expressed by industryites last week at the Berlin Festival that the program, which aids the development and distribution of thousands of films and undertakes training activities, will be completely phased out or folded into another initiative beyond 2013.

Bizzers’ main concern is that the Media Program, with a of budget of e755 million ($1.03 billion) during the 2007-13 period, will be downsized to such an extent that its impact will be diminished, thus justifying its merger into another program.

Moved by L’Arp, a French trade association of filmmakers, the petition is addressed to Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission.

The signatories request a meeting with Barroso, saying, “We deplore the fact that the European Commission, rather than allocating the necessary resources for the renewal of the program and considering with the member states how they could find ways of financing the program other than through contributions from member states (via an additional European taxation system), has confined itself to abolishing the benefits, reducing credit and ending the specifics of the Media Program.”

More than 12 film orgs, notably France’s CNC, the European Film Academy and the European Producers Club, have also protested against suggestions that the Media Program will be phased out.

The future of the institution will be discussed during a public hearing of the program’s execs skedded for March 18 in Brussels.

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