Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A new cinema Communication

There are straws in the wind about possible changes to the framework for cinema support within the European Union. If past experience is anything to go by I imagine that any proposed changes will favour producers, sellers and businesses in the film industry rather than the makers of films and their audiences.

The European Audiovisual Observatory (part of the Council of Europe) is hosting discussion on the proposed changes during the Cannes festival in a few weeks time.

Towards New European Rules for Film Funding
Saturday 19th May, 11:00 - 13:00,
Salon des Ambassadeurs, Palais des festivals

This year the Observatory is looking at the new rules for film funding in Europe currently under discussion. As Brussels overhauls the current rules, a major public consultation is underway on these changes. We’ve invited the European Commission, film funders and key industry players to ask if these new rules can:
-Reduce the obligations to spend funding in any one country
-Control the subsidy race between countries
-Improve audiences for European films

In addition, the Observatory will be presenting its latest intelligence:
-Key developments on the European film market in 2011
-Latest facts and figures on public funding in Europe
-Introduction to the current debate on the new funding rules: the European Commission’s proposal for a new Cinema Communication


irishproducer said...

"I imagine that any proposed changes will favour producers, sellers and businesses in the film industry rather than the makers of films and their audiences."

So producers are not "makers of films"? Interesting position, if a bit difficult to defend.

irish film portal said...

Up to a point - A film can be made without a producer, but it cannot be made without a director, a writer, a DP... etc. Making films and producing films are quite different activities. Producers make deals. Look at producer credits these days - many of the people thus credited have never been on a set.

Directors at one time were also producers, and still occasionally are, but by an large the roles are now separated. Producers run companies and the companies make films from time to time. Between times these companies run up a fair bit of overhead and this becomes a cost on the films they do get to produce. They also use up a lot of development resources and avail of MEDIA and other public agency supports and subsidies which they very much depend upon. These are significant resources which go into the industry but do not appear on the screen.

irishproducer said...

"A film can be made without a producer, but it cannot be made without a director, a writer, a DP... etc."

I'm struggling to think of a film (beyond the lower reaches of avant garde cinema) that has been made without a producer. However documentaries are regularly made without writers, animated films are made without DoPs. Without a producer to handle the various accounting/taxation/contractual problems faced by any film, no matter how arthouse, not to mention putting together the funds to make the film happen in the first place, most directors would spend most of their time sitting on their hands.

Anonymous said...

I think the general 'celebration' of certain "above the line" individuals (directors, stars, producers, DPs etc etc etc) is part of celebrity culture and the star system generally. This kind of fetishisation understates hugely the fact that filmmaking (whether drama, animation or documentary) is a collective and highly labour intensive activity. Some films can be made without producers, DoPs, actors, even directors. But all are made by filmmakers. Some producers are highly creative, some directors are lumpen assemblers of staged action stunts. Producers and directors like to think of themselves in certain ways, but the fact is that they are different types of manager (some focus on managing resources, other focus on managing people). At the end of the day, Irish filmmakers need each other more than the audience does.

irish film portal said...

From the official European 'Communication', reprinted in my post last November:
The MEDIA Strand will increase resources for distribution, including increased and more focused funding for sales agents to allow for the emergence of stronger sales agents with higher buying and selling power on the international market.
Strengthening support to Europe-based international co-production funds will boost co-production between European and non-European producers, increasing the number and improving the quality of the works, and thereby contributing to further opening international markets.
Independent video games developers will benefit from new growth markets through facilitated access to funding. The result would be increased competitiveness of SMES, increased revenues, bigger market share, and widening the audience.
As well as increasing the global competitiveness of the European cultural and creative sectors and their scale, the Culture and MEDIA Strands will improve the offer of content available for consumers, with positive impacts on cultural diversity and European cultural identity.
New direct and focused support to audience-building measures is expected to generate new audiences and thereby increase consumer demand, although the scale of this effect is uncertain and will require a long-term approach. By reaching previously excluded social groups, this could also have benefits for social cohesion. The benefits of increased demand would flow through the value chain to stimulate increased circulation of works, new revenue streams and to improve the competitiveness of the sectors.
By improving access to finance for the cultural and creative sectors through improved investment and investor readiness, the new financial Facility will increase the capacity of these sectors to attract private finance, strengthen their financial capacity and the commercial potential of works, thereby strengthening their competitiveness and opening up new opportunities for growth and employment. It will also lessen SMEs' dependence on public subsidies in some cases, while opening up new revenue streams in others.
The support for transnational policy cooperation will help to increase the availability of comparable data which will facilitate more effective evidence-based policy-making. This can strengthen national policy environments for the cultural and creative sectors and contribute to systemic change. The possibility to test and share experience and knowledge on new business models will contribute to helping the sectors adapt to the digital shift, bringing new employment and growth opportunities.