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Shah Rukh Khan mobbed by fans at the Berlinale Film Festival in February 2008
© Berlinale
EU seeks to boost film cooperation with India

June 11, 2008

India is among a group of countries with which the European Union (EU) would like to expand cooperation in the film industry. The 27-member European bloc seeks more co-production, joint training programmes and film market participation with these countries.

The market share of EU films in third countries across the world is only between two and five percent. As a comparison, the market share of American films in the EU accounts for 63.6 percent, Martin Selmayr, European Commission (EC) spokesperson for information society and media told a news conference here on Tuesday, 10th June 2008.

He noted that the film market share of other third countries, besides the US, in the EU at the moment is 3.3 percent. "We are interested in cooperating stronger with countries from where these 3.3. percent come,'' he said. The leading third countries of film production which are shown in the EU are Canada, Australia, Japan, India and China. India has 0.25 percent of film market share in the EU.

Selmayr said public consultation has been launched by the EC on a possible Media Mundus programme, following the model of the student exchange programme, Erasmus Mundus, which is an exchange between European universities and universities in third countries.

The Media Mundus programme seeks feedback from stakeholders on the idea of complementing the existing MEDIA programme, created in 1991, for the promotion, development and distribution of European films. An annual budget of around 100 million euros will be allocated for the new international programme.

"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.

A public online consultation on the main features and priorities of a possible Media Mundus programme is open until 15th June and a public hearing will be held in Brussels on 25th June. The Media Mundus programme seeks to strengthen cultural and commercial relations between Europe's film industry and film-makers of third countries.

The EC wants to make sure that European films are successful also in third countries, stressed the spokesman. In December 2007, the EC, with the support of the European Parliament and EU Culture Ministers, launched the preparatory action for Media International. With a budget of 2 million euros for 2008, Media International has set out to strengthen exchanges between audiovisual professionals in the EU and third countries.

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.

Europe’s MEDIA programme already helps film-makers from 32 countries to access financing for the distribution of their audiovisual works worldwide. 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). These films were amongst the 14 screened at the Festival that had been developed or distributed with the support of more than 900,000 euros from the European Union's MEDIA programme. MEDIA-supported films have also 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).

© EuAsiaNews, German Information Centre New Delhi
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