The Commission is currently exploring the benefits of adding to the EU's MEDIA programme – created in 1991 to promote the development and the distribution of European films across borders – a new MEDIA MUNDUS programme to strengthen cultural and commercial relations between Europe's film industry and film-makers of third countries. This could help audiovisual professionals from Europe and equivalent film makers outside the EU to reciprocally improve their competitiveness by better exploiting the potential for joint projects such as the development, distribution and promotion of audiovisual works. Such a MEDIA MUNDUS programme would follow the model of the student exchange programme ERASMUS MUNDUS that had been added in 2001 to the already existing ERASMUS programme in order to make an exchange between European universities and universities in third countries possible. A public-online consultation on the main features and priorities of a possible MEDIA MUNDUS programme is open until 15 June 2008 and a public hearing will be held in Brussels on 25 June.
"The cultural diversity of Europe's cinema and the attractiveness of our MEDIA programme have led to repeated requests from film-makers from South America, Asia, Russia and other continents to build bridges with Europe's audiovisual markets in order to mutually boost their potentials. In the same way that MEDIA pushes for fully exploiting the opportunity of Europe's single market, a MEDIA MUNDUS programme would facilitate the circulation of our films worldwide and vice versa, the distribution in Europe of films from partner countries all over the world. This means more choice for citizens and more culturally diverse films – all this in the spirit of the UNESCO Convention on cultural diversity," said EU Media Commissioner Viviane Reding.
Already in December 2007, the Commission, with the support of the European Parliament and the Council of Culture Ministers, launched the preparatory action "MEDIA International." With a budget of € 2 million in 2008, "MEDIA International" aims to strengthen exchanges between audiovisual professionals in the EU and third countries sharing the same priority for cultural diversity. It will run for up to three years and test ways of facilitating deals and widening networks between EU and third countries' professionals, to a mutual benefit. Actions supported in 2008 include continuous joint training (to be extended to film schools cooperation in the next years); joint promotional campaigns for the commercial distribution of cinematographic works; and support of projects between cinema networks – all of which will encourage film-goers in third countries to enjoy watching more European films in their own cinemas and vice-versa.
The public consultation now launched by the Commission on a possible MEDIA MUNDUS programme seeks feedback from stakeholders on the idea of complementing the MEDIA programme for the promotion, development and distribution of European films (annual budget: around €100 million) with a new international programme. Stakeholders are consulted on specific issues such as:
* conclusion of agreements between distributors/exporters/rights-holders of EU and third countries (notably via events, for example co-production markets), to promote the exclusive first release of their respective films on the territory/territories of their partner(s);
* screening of European and third-country films in respective cinema networks and ways to raise public awareness about the release of films from European and third countries covered by mutual distribution agreements
* organisation of joint training sessions between European and third countries film training facilities;
On the basis of the contributions received from the public debate, the Commission will decide before the end of 2008 about a proposal for a possible MEDIA MUNDUS programme. This idea has already found strong support among the Culture ministers participating in Europe Day 2008 at the Cannes Film Festival on 19 May.
Europe’s MEDIA programme already helps film-makers from 32 countries to access financing for the distribution of their audiovisual works worldwide. It is providing €755 million to Europe's audiovisual industry from 2007-2013 (IP/07/169).
Last month four MEDIA-funded films won prestigious awards at the Cannes Film Festival, including the Palme d'Or (Entre Les Murs) and the Grand Prix du Jury (Gomorra) (IP/08/800). These films were amongst the 14 screened at the Festival that had been developed or distributed with the support of more than €900 000 from the European Union's MEDIA programme (IP/08/741). MEDIA-supported films have already triumphed at the Oscars ceremony, with this year Oscars going to The Counterfeiters (Die Fälscher/Austria-Germany) and to La Vie en Rose (La Môme/France) (IP/08/298).
- More info on the Public online consultation:
- More info on the Public hearing:
- Further info on MEDIA International:
- Further info on the MEDIA programme and Cannes 2008 awards: