Next week's promotional launch of his new novel has forced the UK Film Council's chairman Sir Alan Parker to decline the invitation to participate in the European Film Summit at the Munich Media Days on October 22, but he has nevertheless taken the time to issue a personal view on the present situation of the European film industry .
While one of the Film Council's main roles is to attract production to the UK, Parker suggested in his statement that "producers will come to the UK and work with UK talent and skills only if this is what is best for their films. In many cases, what is best for the films - including for British films - is to go and shoot in Prague, or in Romania (as in the case of Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain), or in Malta, or in India or China, for that matter. Best for the films is the best talent, no matter what its nationality. Therefore my vision for British cinema - and I would humbly suggest for European cinema - is one that fosters the skills, creativity and resources that we are best at providing, and which is open to and works with the skills, creativity and resources from all across the world."
To achieve this, he argued, would necessitate closer collaboration between Europe's national film agencies and also with the European Commission, "Working together means that our national support systems have to fit together well. It needs to be easier for film-makers to work all across Europe. The current rules - notably on co-production - need to be modernised in response both to evolving market conditions and the growing political imperative to make sure that our films really do travel around Europe (and beyond)."
He continued: "Looking to the global context, I am very wary of approaches that seek to pitch 'Europe' against 'America'. Such approaches betray a lack of understanding of how the film industry works - and should work - and condemn us, I believe, to waste and failure. It is a fact that the centre of the global industry is in Los Angeles, and we have constantly to come to terms with this reality. Likewise, there is a pressing urgency for us to engage with emerging centres and markets, the chief of which is in China."
Next week's Munich Media Days will be opened on October 22 with a keynote speech by Haim Saban, Chairman and CEO of the Saban Capital Group.
Oscar-winning director Caroline Link (Nowhere In Africa), producers Thilo Kleine, Cedomir Kolar, Dunja Klemenc and Riccardo Tozzi are among the speakers confirmed for the European Film Summit.