The European Commission would have stood tall at the Locarno Film Festival this August, when nine films supported by its much lauded MEDIA programme were screened at the prestigious International festival. This may not have been a new feeling for those on board the MEDIA programme, after all 13 of its films were screened at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year!
Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and the person responsible for the MEDIA programme was elated at the occasion. “The MEDIA programme is once again in the spotlight at Locarno, which has always been a fantastic platform for European films,” said Commissioner Vassiliou.
“MEDIA stands for a strong European film industry and for cultural diversity. I am delighted that MEDIA will continue to support our most talented film-makers as part of the new Creative Europe programme from next year,” says Commissioner Vassiliou.
Creative Europe is the new avatar of the European Commissions and plans to support films, amongst other cultural industries of Europe. From 2014 onwards, the MEDIA and MEDIA Mundus programmes will become a part of the Creative Europe, a new €1.3 billion programme that will continue to provide grants to support film development, training and distribution to film collaborations and innovations across Europe. The programme will also launch a new loan guarantee fund aimed at making it easier for the cultural and creative sectors to access loans.
According to Commisioner Vassiliou, “The cultural and creative sectors offer great potential to boost jobs and growth in Europe. EU funding also helps thousands of artists and cultural professionals to reach new audiences. Without this support, it would be difficult or impossible for them to break into new markets.”
In terrible economic times, Creative Europe comes as a ray of hope for the artists in the region. The programme is the foresight of European planners who believe that Europe needs to invest more in its cultural and creative sector because it significantly contributes to economic growth, employment, innovation and social cohesion. Creative Europe will safeguard and promote cultural and linguistic diversity and strengthen the competitiveness of the cultural and creative sectors. The programme promises over 300 000 artists and cultural professionals and their work to receive funding to reach new audiences beyond their home countries. More than 1000 European films would get support for distribution, enabling them to be seen by audiences throughout Europe and beyond. Thousands of cultural organizations and professionals from Europe would benefit from training to gain new skills and to strengthen their capacity to operate internationally. 2500 European cinemas would receive support enabling them to ensure that at least 50 percent of the films they show are European.
Earlier in July 2013, the Committee of the Permanent Representatives (COREPER I) agreed on the compromise text of the Regulation establishing the Creative Europe Programme with a view to allowing the Presidency to finalize agreement with the European Parliament on this programme. The Chairman of COREPER I ambassador Arūnas Vinčiūnas underlined the importance of allowing the Commission to proceed with its preparations for the implementation of the Creative Europe which is of the vital importance for the creative sectors across EU. According to the MEDIA website, the formal process of Creative Europe will continue with an approval of the Cultural Committee of the Parliament, the Parliament itself and the Council to follow. An optimistic scenario is that the entire process will be finalised by October 2013. Currently, the work programme for 2014 is being developed. The work programme will define the main parameters for all the Creative Europe actions; the number of calls, the allocation of the budget and the selection criteria. This work programme will be discussed with representatives from each participating countries in the autumn.
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