Europa Distribution, the pan-European network of independent distributors, is seeking extra EU funds to forge closer ties with Latin America.

The network, which was launched in 2006, will also use the money to offer direct support to distributors in the region. It already has 70 members in 19 European countries.

The outfit is currently supported by members’ subscriptions distributors pay $1,358 (€1000) each per year in annual fees) and has also received $353,249 (€260,000) in support for 2009 from the EU’s MEDIA Programme. Now, it is looking to access an extra $543,461 (€400,000) in MEDIA backing. The idea is to back both Latin-American distributors handling European movies and Europeans distributing Latin-American fare.

Europa Distribution is increasingly powerful as a lobbyist. It successful persuaded the MEDIA programme to revise its guidelines for distribution support so distributors receive more for handling arthouse films.

One of its current battles is to convince the MEDIA Programme that the Virtual Print Fee (VPF) should be included in distributor costs eligible for MEDIA support. This is a charge that distributors releasing films digitally have to pay exhibitors to get their films on screen. Europa aims for distributors to get half of the VPF paid through MEDIA support.

Meanwhile, Europa is shortly to launch CIDINET, an online database for distributors to share promotional and technical material and distribution data. The database is due to go live in July.

Europa is also organising a number of distribution workshops including one in Annecy in June on the distribution of animated films in Europe and one at Paris Cinema in July.

The outfit’s distributor members include Pyramide, Wild Bunch, Diaphana