The creation of a European Promotion Fund and the "interconnecting" of existing automatic support funds in European Union member states are among a set of recommendations presented by European Parliament (EP) deputy Luckas Vander Taelen in a report "on achieving better circulation of European films in the internal market and the candidate countries".
Declaring that his report "would rather focus on a number of positive recommendations than a detailed analysis of why things are going wrong", Vander Taelen, who sits on the EP's Committee on Culture, Youth, Education, the Media and Sport, called on the European Commission, among other things, to explore the feasibility of setting up a European Promotion Fund as a complement to MEDIA Plus "to improve the opportunities for marketing European films with a trans-national dimension", possibly in collaboration with the European Film Academy.
Moreover, he suggested that an "interconnection" system be introduced whereby automatic support funds operated by the Member States would be linked in order to give producers access to funds from other Member States as well. "Such interconnection would increase the sources of financing, which is by no means insignificant in view of the gulf between American and European film budgets and would make producers more aware of their films' market potential abroad", Vander Taelen suggested.
Since preparations will be cranking up soon for the debate on the revision of the Television Without Frontiers directive, Vander Taelen argued that the European Commission should "investigate the desirability and feasibility of:
(a) introducing obligations for television broadcasters to devote a minimum proportion of their transmission time to promoting European films;
(b) introducing minimum transmission obligations for non-national European works;
(c) introducing a requirement for television broadcasters to invest the equivalent of at least 3% of their turnover in the European film industry, an approach which is being applied successfully in France".
In addition, Vander Taelen's report argued that the existing MEDIA Plus exhibition support programme Europa Cinemas and European Film Promotion's "Shooting Stars" initiative should be expanded, and that the i2i initiative (launched at the end of last year by the Commission with the European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund) should devote "particular attention" to the financing of trans-national distribution structures and the infrastructure requirements of smaller, independent cinemas which show many European films.