European body representing independent distributors requests meeting with European Commission to discuss the future of MEDIA programme.

In light of recent industry speculation that the MEDIA fund could be curtailed or abolished, Europa Distribution, the network of independent European distributors, has written a letter to Jose Manual Barroso, requesting a meeting with the President of the European Commission to discuss the matter.

The letter begins by voicing the body’s concerns about the latest rumours:

 “We have just learnt that the very existence of the MEDIA Programme has been questioned and in this context, the members of Europa Distribution would like to underline their commitment to MEDIA, which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary. The impressive achievements of the Programme over the last 20 years, which has enabled to build a strong and competitive European film industry with large cultural influence, show how important, efficient and direct purpose linked the MEDIA spending has been on audiovisual.”

The letter goes on to warn that cuts to the MEDIA budget could result in a market even more dominated by US titles, the loss of jobs and the death of distribution, production and exhibition companies across Europe: “If the MEDIA Programme were to disappear or merge with other Community Programmes with inevitable budget cuts, it would most certainly lead to a dismantling of the European audiovisual industry with related immediate and significant impact on different fields/levels.”

The outfit also stresses the importance of MEDIA in providing support and funding for European distributors:”The MEDIA Programme has always encouraged the emergence of European networks which are today a reality of the market and embody the very idea of Europe. In this period full of challenges with the digital switchover, the exchange of competences, experiences, information at European level is more important than ever.

The letter is signed by “Régine Vial (Les Films du Losange, France), Co-President of Europa Distribution, Antonio Medici (Bim Distribuzione, Italy), Co-President of Europa Distribution, On behalf of the 100 distributors members of Europa Distribution.”

The letter comes after growing speculation at the EFM that MEDIA faces cuts and even abolition.

MEDIA 2007 has had a budget of €755m over seven years from 2007 to 2013.

Europa Distribution represents 100 independent distributors from 25 countries.