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EC's Cinema Communication debate dominates Rendez-Vous in Berlin

CNC president Eric Garandeau and the German Federal Film Board board member Peter Dinges are criticial of EC’s plan.

The European Commission’s (EC) proposed Cinema Communication dominated debate at the 10th German-French Film Rendez-Vous held in Berlin this week and attended by some 300 representatives of the two nations’ film industries.

In an opening discussion, CNC president Eric Garandeau and the German Federal Film Board (FFA) board member Peter Dinges were highly critical of the EC’s plans to curb the territoriality clauses which would see a film support scheme not being able to go beyond the obligation to spend more than 100% of the aid amount locally.

“It is immensely important to adapt the competition rules to the needs of the film industry and not the other way round,” Garandeau and Dinges said. They offered their support in a swift drafting of a solution that would not result in any fear of negative repercussions to the European film industry.

“For example, a restriction and harmonisation of the funding instruments by the EU would not promote cultural diversity, but rather call the national and European funding objectives into question. This ultimately endangers the existence of many national and regional film funds. The consequence of this is an increasing insecurity among the producers as well as an endangering of jobs and a threat to the quality and diversity of European film production.”

Germany’s State Minister for Culture Bernd Neumann and the French Minister of Culture Aurélie Filippetti continued in the same tenor at a gala evening in Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie to celebrate the 10th edition of the Rendez-Vous, which is organised by Unifrance and German Films.

“It’s not right that the flourishing film industry in our two nations should be put into jeopardy and we will do everything in our power to prevent this,” Neumann declared, while Filipetti welcomed the common line shown by her German colleague on the question of defending the principle of territoriality and noted that it would be “necessary for us to use all of our powers of persuasion to present the various points of view in order to reach a unanimous solution” with Commissioner Almunia by January.

Meanwhile, Almunia’s proposal for the Cinema Communication - and Commissioner Neelie Kroes’ views on release windows also came in for criticism from Germany’s Association of Film Distributors (VdF) at their annual assembly in Berlin on Thursday (Nov 29).

VdF managing director Johannes Klingsporn also announced that 2012 was likely to see a record market share for European films in German cinemas thanks in no small part to the latest James Bond extravaganza Skyfall (6m admissions) and the French comedy Intouchable with almost 9m admissions since its release at the beginning of the year. Moreover, he forecast that the market share for local German films would pan out at around 20% and the German box-office’s overall takings might possibly pass the €1bn mark for the first time this year.

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