New EU initiatives for European cinema such as the Prix MEDIA and the proposed Creative Europe programme are at the focus of the 10th  edition of the European Rendezvous in Cannes from May 20-22.

“The film project put forward by Asghar andMemento Films Production received a glowing assessment for its artistic content as well as for its development, production and distribution strategies,” said EC Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou about the winners of the first Prix MEDIA in an exclusive interview with Screen Daily.

She explained that the scope of the previous European Talent Prize had been “broadened to recognise the best European film project, rather than identifying European talent which we already support through funding for the ‘Shooting Stars’ initiative. We believe that by opening up the prize, we will have more impact in raising awareness of the MEDIA Programme.”

On Monday morning, Vassiliou and Cannes festival president Gilles Jacob will meet with a group of European filmmakers in a closed event  to discuss Creative Europe and other EU cinema initiatives. “Their feedback is important as we are currently fine tuning the programme which will succeed the current MEDIA programme,” she noted.

This will be followed in the afternoon by a public conference with 250 film professionals to discuss „our proposed new loan guarantee facility for SMEs, new financing models such as crowd funding, audience development, and film distribution in the digital era,“ Vassiliou said.

“The vast majority of Member States acknowledge the need to improve access to finance for SMEs in the sector and are supportive of the loan guarantee facility. We had a lively debate on this,“ Vassiliou declared, underlining the fact that this new financial instrument „will be complementary to the grants that the EU offers: we have no intention to replace grants.”

The Rendezvous will be rounded off on May 22 (tomorrow) with the third “MEDIA meets the Film Funds” forum with international funding policy-makers. “The previous events highlighted some specific needs such as European-wide training for film funds and policy makers, which led to the launch of two specific training programmes: MEDICI and workshops on international co-production,” Vassiliou noted. “At the meeting on May 22, together with the European  Fund, we will give a presentation on how [Creative Europe’s] new financial instrument will work. Other important issues to be discussed include the European Cinema Communication and State aid.”