The President of the European Council of Audiovisual Ministers, Richard Miller, announced at the Strasbourg Forum of European Cinema in the European Parliament that he had personally earmarked funds for a feasibility study on the creation of a 'Eurocinema' television channel. The pan-European channel would feature European films, film education programming and experimental work as well as generic 'Euromovie' magazine programmes.
While the example of commercially-run Euronews was given as a potential model for the channel, no indication was given as to the proposed funding of Eurocinema, leading to speculation that this could become the first EU-funded broadcasting project.
Other issues to emerge from the forum included evidence from the European Audiovisual Observatory demonstrating the dramatic imbalance between last year's 500 million-strong audience for US films in Europe compared to the 60 million tickets sold during 2000 for European films outside their own territories.
Meanwhile, first-time Spanish filmmaker Achero Manas' El Bola (Pellet) was awarded the Euros 20,000 European Union Prize at the Forum of European Cinema to support its theatrical distribution in Europe, while the shorts competition was won by Julien Leloup's Des Anges.
The International Federation of Film Societies' Euros 1,000 Don Quixote Prize went to Norwegian Petter Naess' box-office success Elling, with a Special Mention being made of Arpad Sopsits' Torzok (Abandoned) from Hungary.
In addition, this year's Forum honoured three great European professionals by awarding a Prix Europe to veteran Spanish director Carlos Saura, Swedish actress Bibi Andersson, whose credits include The Seventh Seal, Persona and Babette's Feast, and the France-based UK actress Charlotte Rampling.