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BERLINALE 2020 EFM

Le 1er Séminaire European Film Politics cherche à préserver la production indépendante

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- BERLINALE 2020 : L'événement a également exploré les menaces posées par les nouveaux acteurs de l'industrie ainsi que les avantages qu'ils peuvent avoir pour le marché européen

Le 1er Séminaire European Film Politics cherche à préserver la production indépendante
Matthijs Wouter Knol, le directeur de l'EFM, lors de l'ouverture du Séminaire European Film Politics (© EFM/Lia Darjes)

Cet article est disponible en anglais.

The large-scale opening event of the 2020 European Film Market (EFM) was the first European Film Politics Seminar, which was held on 20 February, inviting 50 experts from the industry and public funding bodies from across Europe. This EFM initiative aims to help create an annual political agenda to address the most important issues in the film industry and, hopefully, to prompt a European-wide synchronisation in policies.

The session, which was opened by EFM director Matthijs Wouter Knol and was moderated by Steven Gaydos, EVP of content for Variety, ran for over three hours, and during that time, the participants had a chance to discuss and discover how independent producers can actually promote and deliver culturally diverse, high-quality content for the audience. Furthermore, the new European legislative frameworks now allow global players to be more actively involved in the continent’s ecosystem. During the brainstorming session, the top priorities for both European and national frameworks were defined – in particular, their focus on the rapidly evolving landscape.

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Some of the key issues that were addressed included the need to redefine and adapt the meaning of “independent” producers and productions, especially when the former’s main objective is to create IP and exploit it, whereas co-productions should ideally reach a worldwide audience and build international collaborations. It was also agreed that the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) is having a positive impact, as it creates a level playing field for both linear and non-linear services; in this way, the same obligations can be imposed upon both traditional broadcasters and SVoD services, hence reinforcing the role of independent producers. However, at the same time, theatrical distribution should also be emphasised.

The threat of independent entrepreneurs disappearing is real, and this will jeopardise the European ecosystem that has been developed over many decades. This is also a result of new players entering the market. Their impact is not only negative, of course, as thanks to these platforms, European content is more readily available to new markets like the USA, although the streaming platforms still offer local prices in order to secure global rights, and this is still an issue. For that reason, European financing bodies, such as Creative Europe – MEDIA or Eurimages, should support independent producers alongside the national funds, and this will be easier once clear guidelines are available for the coherent implementation of the 30% minimum quota for European content on streaming services. Finally, there is a need to formulate a compatible plan involving national support schemes across Europe that will also increase distribution across borders.

After a vote was held among the participants, three (out of the six proposed) calls to action were identified and debated during the seminar. They are:

  1. Force all linear and non-linear services to be transparent with consumption data for European works and revenues in different territories;
  2. Ensure that financial investment obligations are directly communicated to independent productions or producers, and that levies are redistributed into the independent sector; and
  3. Prevent linear and non-linear services from taking away all IP from independent producers via buyouts, and enable independent producers to recover distribution rights for their films/series after a certain number of years.

After Berlin, once the priorities have been set, the first draft strategy will be presented at Cannes’ Marché du Film, while an overview of the measures achieved or still needing to be addressed will be spotlighted at the upcoming edition of the Venice Production Bridge. Three informal groups of experts will work on these priorities in order to determine which specific actions need to be taken over the coming year. The second European Film Politics Seminar will be organised on the first day of the 2021 EFM.

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(Traduit de l'anglais)

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