Parliament increases support for Creative Europe program
The European Parliament has increased support for culture and creativity by 9% to €1.46 billion (US$2 bil.) over the next seven years. The Creative Europe program will provide funding for at least 250,000 artists and professionals in culture, cinema, television, games, music, literature, performing arts, heritage and related areas. In our segment alone, some 2,000 cinemas and 800 films will benefit, the European Commission noted. It will also launch a new financial guarantee enabling small cultural and creative businesses to access up to €750 million in bank loans ($1.03 mil.).
With no “radical changes” proposed while moving from MEDIA 2007 to Creative Europe, “new actions” for the MEDIA sub-program, which receives 56% of the total approved budget, “include support for international co-production funds, videogames and audience development.” With that, “the main funding priorities continue to be training, development, TV programming, distribution, access to markets and festivals.”
Androulla Vassiliou, European commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth, concluded this “will enable our dynamic cultural sectors to create new jobs and contribute more to the EU economy.”
Saluting European Films
One example of Creative Europe at work was the 26th annual edition of the European Film Awards in Berlin, Germany. While Italy’s submission (co-produced with France) to the Foreign-Language Oscars, La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty) scooped up awards for editor, actor, director and European film, the rest of the best covered a wide range of countries and collaborations. Not to mention films. With the exception of Bellezza, all other nominees, including top contender The Broken Circle Breakdown from Belgium, went home with a single statue.
In his acceptance speech, Ari Folman, director of the best animated feature, pointed out that nine different nations and 270 animators had contributed to The Congress, which officially listed Israel, Germany, Poland, Luxembourg, France and Belgium as its countries of origin. In that same spirit, Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Catherine Deneuve thanked the more than 2,900 members of the European Film Academy (EFA) for allowing her to “feel more European than ever.”
UNIC Questions EU-Supported Day-and-Date
All three European cinema exhibitors organizations expressed their opposition to current EU pilot projects that promote day-and-date releases across the territory, arguing that “these do not reflect the interests of an overwhelming majority of the European film sector.” In their statement, UNIC, CICAE and Europa Cinemas underline “the social, cultural and economic contributions that sustainable and exclusive theatrical release windows make to European cinema.”
So far, three “small” films have been released with significantly altered release patterns, UNIC noted. Phil Clapp, president of the trade group, further opined that these VOD tests “threaten to weaken Europe’s cinema exhibitors and…could have negative implications for the wider European film sector. The meager support of stakeholders from across the value chain for these pilots so far should be taken for what it is: a rejection of the belief that EU officials should intervene when it comes to deciding when and how films should be released in EU member states.”
Volfoni Presents 3D Diamond
At CineAsia in Hong Kong, Volfoni presented what the France-based and globally operating provider of active and passive 3D solutions called “a game-changer.” Their announcement stated that the brightness achieved by their Smart Crystal Diamond polarizer technology “surpasses all other passive 3D systems on the market, with an amazing light efficiency.” Referring to the company’s “triple beam” technology, Thierry Henkinet, founder and CEO of Volfoni, noted, “We have always aimed to deliver the wow factor in 3D, and are committed to building the most perfect 3D solution available—allowing exhibitors to ‘own their light.’”
“Feel better with film.” RealD and MediCinema, the U.K. charity that shows movies to patients in custom-built hospital theatres, opened their sixth location together. Equipped with 37 seats and spaces for five beds and seven wheelchairs, the 3D theatre at Guy’s Hospital in London shows popular movies to patients and their families at no charge. Former Fox International president Stephen Moore heads up MediCinema. Robert Mayson, managing director of RealD Europe, said, “We all share the belief that everyone should have the ability to experience the joy, escapism and healing power of movies.”
Mad About Max!
Throughout December, New York City’s French Institute Alliance Française went “Mad About Max.” Max Linder, that is, the silent film comedian whom none other than Charlie Chaplin called “the great master.” To honor the “lasting legacy that helped shape modern comedic films,” the CinémaTuesdays series brought together some of Linder’s greatest shorts and features, including recent restorations of The Three Must-Get-Theres, Be My Wife and Seven Years Bad Luck, all shown in the U.S. for the first time. Also on the program was The Man in a Silk Hat, a documentary by Linder’s daughter Maud, who was one year old when her father and his wife committed double suicide in 1925 in Hollywood.
Berlin Shorts Long on Success
Hosting 161 screenings at seven cinema locations across Berlin, the 29th International Short Film Festival and sixth annual KUKI Festival drew a record attendance of 19,000 guests. While 80 programs organized by “interfilm" centered on themes such as “Queer Fever,” “Bike Shorts,” “Metropolis Tokyo” David Bowie, Otto Sander, dance films and social media, the 14 shorts packages curated for KUKI’s Children and Youth Shorts Festival brought no less than 5,400 fans to Filmtheater am Friedrichshain and Passage Kino Neukölln. (Both locations participate in the German launch of “We Want Cinema,” highlighted in this issue.)
After curators viewed more than 7,000 entries and culled some 500 films from 67 countries, the industry took note as well. Over 200 German and international filmmakers from as far as Brazil, Taiwan, Iran and Myanmar attended. Not surprisingly, the first-ever “Fringe Programme for Industry Professionals” was “a total buzzing triumph!” Organizers of the “interForum” added, “It’s all about content! Ten years ago, ‘short film’ was still a dirty word. But numerous activities—including those organized by interfilm—have turned things around and given the short film its due place in the film world and increasing public appeal.”