Official | Update : 13.02.18 . 10:56 AM

Europe Day


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On May 24, the European Commission adopted a new law on broadcasting which will extend the advantages of the "Television without Borders" directive to video on demand. In connection with that, the Cannes Festival is welcoming EU Ministers of Culture for the fifth annual Europe Day. Invited by Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for the Information Society and Media, and Festival President Gilles Jacob, the European Ministers of Culture and Broadcasting, including the newly-appointed French minister Christine Albanel, met for a morning symposium on the theme "Creative Filmmaking in Europe: The New Rules of the Game." The minutes of the opening encounter held May 16, "Cinema: Towards the Audience of Tomorrow," enabled the Ministers to discuss the political aspects of the subject. With Brazilian director Walter Salles, the sponsor of the event, the Ministers were able, in Ms. Reding's words, "to discuss the changes new distribution platforms will bring to film creation and economics with leading ambassadors from the profession."

Ms. Reding went on to point out that "European cinema is diverse and on the move," and that "the Television without Borders directive will provide the foundation enabling the artistic industries to make progress and find positive solutions." As for the meeting, Ms. Reding stated that it had led to "an intense and interesting discussion on the broadcast sector and new technologies." The arrival of new broadcast platforms is "positive, and will stimulate the production of short films, as well as providing an incentive to digitize and distribute backlisted films and rediscover a film heritage." Viviane Reding went on to note, with satisfaction, that the market share claimed by European films was increasing: "25 % in 2005 compared to 28% today," she pointed out. She also commented that the sponsorship of filmmaker Walter Salles was symbolic of the determination of the European motion-picture industry to work in phase with the whole world, rather than simply covering Europe. Lastly, she expressed her gratitude to Ms. Christine Albanel: the fact that she is a member of the committee shows France's support for motion-picture production elsewhere in Europe. Moreover, Ms. Reding insisted on the need for an open dialogue between politicians, filmmakers, and producers on the issue of new technologies, noting in passing that one thing that must be safeguarded is the emotion which emanates from a movie theatre when a film is being screened.

Called upon to speak next, Ms. Christine Albanel, the new French Minister of Culture, acknowledged that it was "a great opportunity" and "a great responsibility" for her "to assume [her] duties with this stirring 60th anniversary celebration." She went on to say that the anniversary film, To Each His Own Cinema, in bringing so many different filmmaking talents together and in bringing alive, for three minutes, "different worlds and projects," was a perfect symbol for the value of "cultural diversity." "The adoption of the new directive will make it possible for us to take concrete action to support film artists and approach the question of new technologies in the best possible way," Albanel continued. "I shall work on behalf of cinema, artists, and European culture," she concluded.

Viviane Reding issued a communiqué listing the measures which should be implemented "to revive television's love for film, and give a boost to European filmmaking." These are the measures she defined:
- Increase network television revenues by granting them greater freedom as to when to insert commercial breaks, without abolishing the limit of 12 minutes of commercials per hour of programming.
- Increase revenues from filmmaking by permitting television to broadcast films and series featuring a certain brand in exchange for the brand's contribution to the financing of the film.
- Advertise films on on-demand video sites.
- Meet the challenge of the fight against priracy.

The professionals attending the conference noted the EU's commitment and expressed their satisfaction with the new measures.

At the opening of the session, Festival President Gilles Jacob had alerted the ministers there that it was necessary to amend the legislation regarding the right to quote other filmmakers' work in films. The fees are currently so high that they hinder the historical documentary work needed for film history education. Citing the making of the 60th-anniversary film To Each His Own Cinema, for which certain directors, like Andreï Konchalovsky, had to "cheat" by showing only the credits of the films they wanted to use, he asked that the subject be reconsidered, with all due respect to intellectual property.

Photo Copyright AFP

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