Commission Staff Working Paper says bigger countries could see more slate funding; Europa Cinemas could get almost €100m.

Speaking in Berlin last weekend, the MEDIA Programme’s unit head chief Aviva Silver called on the film community to step up its lobbying of Europe’s politicians to secure the content and budget of the EU’s audiovisual programme from 2014.

“Thanks to a lot of pressure from the industry, we actually have an increased budget for MEDIA,” Silver said. “But now it is up to you, along with us, to convince the member states and the MEPS over the next 18 months that is worth putting money into cinema and to say that it is not just glamour but also has an importance for the economy and the image of Europe to the outside world.“

She told ScreenDaily that a more detailed presentation of the future MEDIA strand within the proposed Creative Europe programme would be made during the MEDIA Information Day at the Berlinale in February. “We will be wanting to explain where we are in our thinking about the mechanisms such as the financial instrument, and we will be outlining the institutional timetable for decisions by the Council and Parliament.“

So far, the European Commission has only referred in its communications to the global budget of €900m for the next generation of MEDIA, but a possible scenario for the financial breakdown of the strand’s various action lines is given in its own Commission Staff Working Paper on Impact Assessment.

According to the 170-page document, which, as a disclaimer notes, “does not prejudge the final form of any decision to be taken by the Commission,” 12% of the total MEDIA budget (€253.1m) could be dedicated to project development for cinema films.

However, the paper observes that “the support to single projects will be partially phased out for countries of high production capacity, to be targeted at players that most need it (especially in smaller countries, where evaluations have demonstrated that MEDIA support has bigger impact on the market). It will be partially replaced in bigger countries by more slate funding.”

A new proposed action line could be opened under the new MEDIA strand to international co-production funds – such as the Hubert Bals Fund or the Berlinale World Cinema Fund - with €14.3m (1% of the total MEDIA budget) to provide average grants of €300,000.

At the same time, actions in favour of the promotion of European works on international markets could be allocated up to 10% of the MEDIA budget (€87.1m) and would integrate those actions currently covered by MEDIA Mundus for the promotion of European works abroad and non-European works in Europe.

The EC document also mentions an intention to reinforce the support for international sales agents with 4.5% - or €10.8m - of the total budget, but stressing that this would be “concentrated on the few key players of the market with global reach“.

Meanwhile, some of 38% of the total budget could be reserved for the support of theatrical distribution and a cinema network.

With a budget of €318.9m for distribution campaigns of European non-national films, MEDIA support would continue to be based on the current automatic and selective schemes.

“Automatic distribution is expected to support the transnational distribution of around 100 European films per year in an average of 5 different territories at a cost of €40,000 per film and per territory,” the document reads. “Selective distribution could support up to 30 films in an average of 7 territories at a similar cost.“

MEDIA’s “other key pillar” - the Europa Cinemas network – could receive  €97.2m support from 2014 and would be expected to also cover the non-European cinemas currently financed under MEDIA Mundus.

The document argued that a minimum of €13m per year was needed “in order to have sufficient geographical coverage and encourage the screening of European films in the major European cities, provide a broad offer to European citizens and produce an impact on the exhibition sector and on European cultural diversity.”