CINEREGIO/An Umbrella for cultural diversity

di Charlotte Appelgren*

Policy making at a European level (European Commission) can certainly have a big influence on the future of the European film sector. Two topics in particular are currently challenging the right of European regions to contribute to Europe’s cultural diversity
Digital Single Market Strategy
On the subject of the Digital Single Market strategy (DSM), CineRegio welcomes the European Commission’s objective to improve the online distribution and access of EU works in order to promote access to culture and cultural diversity in the European regions.
However, CineRegio expresses some concern about parts of the Digital Single Market strategy which, if implemented, would have the opposite effect than the intention of the Commission.
Indeed the DSM plans should not be implemented at the expense of the sustainability of the film sector. Hence CineRegio welcomes the Commission’s approach describing the DSM Strategy document as “the starting point, not the finishing line”.
We strongly recommend that the Commission, as a neutral party, lead the initiative and include all the pros & cons in order to preserve a unique diversified European culture.

TTIP : European Parliament Resolution
At CineRegio we are closely following the EU-US trade negations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Why?
Although audiovisuals/films are not part of the European Commission’s negotiation mandate, we at CineRegio are concerned about any last minute changes/surprises (as should the rest of the film sector be). CineRegio would like to remind the film sector that it is only because of one Member State – namely France – that film & AV services are not part of the EU negotiation mandate. So we sincerely thank you, France.
From our side the message is clear: without the cultural exception there would be no European film sector.
Hence the European Commission needs to be reminded about its promise to exclude cultural and film/audiovisual services (incl. online) from the EU-US trade agreement.

We certainly do not want to experience any last minute surprises.
For this reason, the film sector also has to continue lobbying national politicians and MEPs (at the European Parliament) who, in the end, have to accept the agreement presented by the European Commission.

A TTIP deal, once drawn up by EU and US negotiators, would need the backing of the European Parliament and the EU Council to be able to come into force.
In July the European Parliament approved its recommendations to the European Commission’s TTIP negotiators by 436 votes to 241, with 32 abstentions. It is, therefore, very good news that the European Parliament included the following points in their recommendations/resolution to the European Commission:

(…….) to ensure via a legally binding general clause applicable to the entire agreement, in full compliance with the UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions, that the parties reserve their right to adopt or maintain any measure (in particular those of a regulatory and/or financial nature) with respect to the protection or promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity, in line with the relevant Articles as established in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, as well as media freedom and media pluralism, irrespective of the technology or distribution platform used and keeping in mind that the mandate given to the European Commission by the Member States explicitly excludes audiovisual services;
(…..) to specify that nothing in the agreement shall affect the ability of the EU or EU Member States to subsidize and provide financial support to cultural industries and cultural, educational, audiovisual and press services;
Our thanks go to the members of the European Parliament’s CULT Committee and its rapporteur Mrs. Helga Trüpel (Germany /Greens). They have all worked hard to get the above listed points included.
New subgroup: Big Littles
The Basque Government/Ministry of Culture, member of CineRegio, is organizing the first working meeting of the Big Littles project, which will be held during the next San Sebastian Film Festival, on September 21st.
The aim of the work group is to gain more visibility and sustainability for filmographies in non-hegemonic languages and, for this purpose, the participating film funds will map their contexts, situations and tools, as well as explore ways of exchange, circulation and collaboration.
The regions and members of CineRegio participating in the project include: Film3 (NO), NordNorsk Filmsenter (NO), FVG (IT), Sardegna Film Foundation (IT), Krakow Film Fund (PL), Zürich Film Fund (CH), and Aquitaine (FR). In addition, Estonia, Latvia, Iceland and Slovenia will also be represented.
Future Meetings. Hamburg 2-day platform
Our next CineRegio meeting is the annual regional meeting (which takes place in a new region every year).
This year we will be in Hamburg (30th September-2nd Oct.).
This is a platform for knowledge-sharing for CineRegio members.
A board meeting & subgroup meetings will take place on 30th September, on 1st October there will be the big Cineregio meeting all day and, in the evening, the opening of the Hamburg film festival. On 2nd October we will meet Hamburg-based producers at a brunch-networking session.

Topics to be discussed at the CineRegio meeting include among others: Presentation of members’ funding schemes; the Digital Single Market / Copyright reform – voice of the European regions; State aid: General Block Exemption Regulations & experiences by members so far; experiences and new initiatives on co-development funds between two or more regions; presentation of a new approach to identifying the potential value of projects early on in the process; How do Completion bonds work? And many other topics of relevance to members.


New CineRegio board elected

At the CineRegio General Assembly held in May 2015, three board members were elected to its six-person board.
One of the newcomers is Nevina Satta, CEO of the Sardegna Film Foundation.
In addition, Gerlinde Seitner, Vienna Film Fund and Katarina Krave, Film I Väst were re-elected for another two-year period until May 2017. The Chairperson is Philippe Reynaert, CEO of Wallimage.
This means a new CineRegio board based on continuity and experience for the next 24 months.
Charlotte Appelgren is General Secretary of Cine-Regio. CineRegio is a non-profit association of regional European film funds. The network includes 43 regional film funds from 14 European countries and together the members represent a total funding capital of €168 million.

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