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European Film Forum Analyzes Film Funding Challenges, Opportunities Ahead

Media Program head Lucía Recalde, Fund managers, producers discuss financing criteria, tapping these sources across Europe

San Sebastian European Film Forum Discusses

Focusing on film support funds in Europe and Latin America, a European Film Forum conference was held on Monday at San Sebastian.

After a keynote from E.U.’s Creative Europe Media Program head, Lucía Recalde, the roundtable tok in two panels, moderated by producer Pablo Iraola (Florbela).

Recalde emphasized a current state of flux: “Change is here to stay and it’s accelerating at an unprecedented pace. We have challenges of digital, globalization, reaching audiences who get content from everywhere, but there are opportunities emerging.”

First panel members included Rotterdam’s Hubert Bals fund manager Fay Breeman, the Berlinale’s World Cinema Fund head Vincenzo Bugno, and France’s Aide Aux Cinemas du Monde project manager Nathalie Streiff.

The second panel featured Recalde, Eurimages’ Sergio García de Leániz, and Ibermedia chief Elena Vilardell.

Panelists specified details about philosophy, terms and payment conditions, and requirements of the funds they represented.

Freeman explained Rotterdam has set up a VOD platform and that this year’s Reality Check will focus on fluidity of form during development. She also said that due to its size, the Hubert Bals Fund is not likely to contribute to content developed for digital platforms with extensive financing already available.

Eurimages, a cultural fund, was theatrically-oriented from inception García de Leaniz explained. Now it is undergoing a comprehensive evaluation of both the Fund’s performance and governance with interviews and workshops including all major stakeholders.

“Digital platforms will, needless to say, be an essential part of the debate in light of the recommendations of the evaluators,” he explained.

Of her fund Streiff told Variety: “It’s only open to films with first distribution to theatrical. There is no intent to change this in the short term. Of course in the future we will certainly need to reflect on the issue.”

Both panels were completed with case studies: Marcelo Martinessi’s The Heiresses and Raúl de la Fuente and Damian Nenow’s Another Day Of Life, each featuring at San Sebastian.

Paraguay’s Sebastian Peña glossed the complexity and sweat involved in packaging “The Heiresses – six countries, six currencies, 10 international funds and five years of production for a $730,000-budgeted feature. On “Another Day Of Life,” producer Amaia Ramírez said that 26 financing sources were involved in the feature, whose production took ten years.