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Vartiainen to head MEDIA unit; Commission launches pilot project

Finland’s Sari Vartiainen has succeeded Constantin Daskalakis as the new head of the MEDIA unit at Brussel’s Education, Audiovisual, and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), with responsibility for the operational management of the EU’s MEDIA Programme.

Vartiainen joined the EACEA when it launched in 2006 and initially worked as assistant to the Agency’s director before being appointed as head of the human resources, comms and admin unit in 2009. Daskalakis will now take over this post vacated by Vartiainen.

Operating under supervision from its three parent Directorates-General (DG) of the European Commission (EC) – Education and Culture, Communication, and EuropeAid Development and Cooperation - the EACEA manages funding and networks in the fields of education and training, citizenship, youth, audiovisual and culture.

Moreover, last year saw the EACEA’s MEDIA unit focus on the introduction of e-form applications and improvements to the evaluation process as well as preparing the transfer of MEDIA Mundus into its sphere of responsibility in 2013.

Trading places

This year also also seen further changes to the personnel overseeing European audiovisual policy in Brussels.

Philippe Brunet, head of cabinet for European commissioner Androulla Vassiliou, has been succeeded by Cypriot Yiannos Asimakis, who had previously been her deputy head of cabinet, while Michel Magnier, director of the Directorate E - Culture and Creativity, has now been appointed as the replacement for Vladimir Sucha as director, DG culture and audiovisual (EAC).

Brian Holmes continues as the interim director for the EACEA following the departure of Gilbert Gascard.

Pilot project on economy of cultural diversity

Meanwhile, the EC has just launched a pilot project on the economy of cultural diversity.

The contract, worth around $935,000 (€700,000), was awarded to London-based Peaceful Fish Productions Ltd. together with MFG Baden Württemberg Public Innovation Agency for ICT and Media, and the Dutch consultancy Kennisland.

According to the DG Education and Culture, the project aims “to highlight and promote between 10 to 15 ideas making an innovative use of information and communication-based (ICT) technologies to finance, produce, make available, disseminate and/or extract value from cultural contents.”

The project’s open laboratory would “test innovative approaches to deal with content for innovation and digital sharing and distribution. It would be therefore a way to explore new business models respecting diversity in the production and distribution chain”.

In addition, the contractor is expected to take into account and develop complementarities with such initiatives as the EC’s “day and date” preparatory action on the circulation of European audiovisual works, which test the impact of a simultaneous or semi-simultaneous release on all available platforms of distribution and in several territories. (ends)

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