European subsidy shift

Programs may merge but funding won't be cut

Change is coming to Europe’s film subsidy system, but reports of its imminent demise turn out to be exaggerated.

Producers, writers and directors were concerned following rumors at last month’s Berlin Film Festival that the deep-pocketed Media Program, which has €755 million ($1.06 billion) to spend between 2007-13, faced budget cuts or a merger with other European Union initiatives.

The program hands out coin for film development and distribution, plus aid for other audiovisual product. It also trains professionals in the sector and supports cinemas showing Euro movies.

The fear was in part a reaction to comments that the budget beyond 2013 was not yet secure.

The European Commission will propose a budget for the next phase of the program at the end of 2011. It will then be debated by EU governments and the European Parliament, who have the final say.

Industry campaigning prompted EC topper Jose Manuel Barroso to release a statement on March 7 saying that reports of a budget cut were “completely inaccurate.”

Popular on Variety

While the industry campaign may have misfired on this count, it may still help persuade governments not to shave points off the Media Program budget later in the negotiations.

Merger fears were closer to the mark, since the EC wants to incorporate the Media Program into a broader framework of support for the cultural and creative industries. This “creative Europe” program will also be outlined at the end of 2011.

Jan Truszczynski, who heads the EC department in charge of the Media Program, told a Brussels hearing Friday that he acknowledged the film industry’s concerns that this would weaken the program.

“I’m 100% confident that if we move further towards the creation of a large creative Europe program, the Media part of it — a distinct strand within the program as we see it — will not suffer at all. On the contrary it is bound to obtain greater benefits,” he said.

Synergies with other EU cultural programs would be one advantage, particularly around digital technologies. There would also be a stronger connection with EU policy on economic growth and job creation, which would help protect the budget if negotiations get tough.

French filmmakers association ARP, a prime mover in the industry campaign, said that it understood the potential benefits but remained concerned about the Media Program’s freedom to act.”Cinema is a very complex and competitive business compared to the other arts, which is why we want complete autonomy,” said ARP topper Radu Mihaileanu, attending the hearing. He also wanted assurances that officials handling Media would be industry savvy.

More Film

  • Fernando Szew and Tomas Yankelevich

    Particular Crowd, MarVista Set 10-Plus Movies a Year Partnership (EXCLUSIVE)

    MIAMI — Particular Crowd, the big new film banner of Warner Media’s Turner Latin America, and MarVista Entertainment, one of the world’s biggest and ambitious of independent entertainment studios, have announced a multi-year production slate deal. As part of the deal, Particular Crowd and MarVista will target production of 10-plus films per year, focusing on elevated [...]

  • Andy Serkis

    BAFTA to Honor Andy Serkis

    The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is presenting Andy Serkis with its Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award at the 73rd EE British Academy Film Awards ceremony on Feb. 2 in London. The organization said Thursday that it was honoring the British actor, producer and director for his pioneering work on performance [...]

  • The Olympic Rings adorn an event

    Tokyo Olympics Brings Upheaval to Japan's Summer Events Schedule

    The Tokyo Olympics, to be held from July 24 to Aug. 9, and Paralympics, scheduled for Aug. 25 to Sept. 9, are affecting Japan’s big summer events. Everything from fireworks displays to music festivals have chosen to shift dates or even cancel altogether. The only film festival so far to announce a change in dates [...]

  • The Rescue

    Overseas Releases of Chinese Films to be Cancelled Following Virus Outbreak

    The overseas release of Chinese films in the next weeks is certain to be affected by the cancellation of theatrical outings in mainland China as a response to the rampant spread of the coronavirus. On Thursday, movie companies in China announced they would not go ahead with the release of seven major films at Chinese [...]

  • Boris JohnsonConservative Party rally on eve

    U.K. Parliament Passes Brexit Law, Leaving Film, TV Incentives Unaffected

    The U.K. Parliament on Wednesday evening passed legislation paving the way for the country to leave the European Union on Jan. 31, 2020. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.K. had “crossed the Brexit finish line” following passage of the Withdrawal Agreement, which will officially become law when it receives royal assent from Queen [...]

  • A security guard wears a mask

    Chinese New Year Film Releases Cancelled in Response to Coronavirus

    The deadly coronavirus outbreak has dealt a fatal blow to China’s biggest movie-going weekend of the year, as all new releases were cancelled to prevent further spread of the disease. Seven major films were expected to have been released over the coming weekend, with the likelihood that together they would have earned more than $1 [...]

  • The Turning

    Film Review: ‘The Turning’

    Director Floria Sigismondi’s “The Turning” is like the alt-rock cousin of author Henry James’ novella “The Turn of the Screw.” From its grunge-infused soundtrack and period setting to its fiery feminist overtones, this is an ambitious contemporary take on the iconic, claustrophobic thriller. Concerning two young orphans who psychologically torment their caretaker in a spooky, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content