Michael Weber [pictured] of The Match Factory is the founding president of the group, which also includes representatives from HanWay, TrustNordisk and Fortissimo, among others.

A group of European sales agents have banded together to establish the new association Europa International to represent and defend the interests of film exporters who are key players involved in the financing and distribution of European cinema.

The board of the Brussels-based association had its inaugural meeting under founding president Michael Weber on March 18, the same day as the public hearing about the MEDIA Programme.

Weber is joined on the board by vice-presidents Frederik Stege (TrustNordisk), Thorsten Schumacher (HanWay Films) and Daniela Elstner (Doc & Film International), with Nelleke Driessen (Fortissimo), François Yon (Films Distribution) and Sascha Wieser (EastWest Filmdistribution) serving as their deputies. Jean-Paul Commin was appointed treasurer, while Daphné Kapfer will be responsible for managing the organisation.

According to an official statement, Europa International has been established “to face the important challenges of the current market, in particular the transition to the digital world and the emergence of new media and business models.”

“Thanks to its key position in relation with producers, distributors, exhibitors and festivals, Europa International intends to share its broad experience in order to prepare efficiently the future of the MEDIA programme,” the statement added.

The creation of a lobbying interest group by Europe’s film exporters is not a new development.

Under the first MEDIA Programme (1991-1995), a lobby group called Association of European Film Exporters e.V. (EFEX) was founded in 1994 with Dieter Menz of Munich-based Atlas International Film as its first president.

In November 2003, the European Film Export Association (EFEA) was then established with headquarters in Paris.

To date, EFEA has 16 member companies, including Bavaria Film International, Atlas International Film, Intramovies, Les Films du Losange, Visual Factory, Nonstop Sales and Wild Bunch.

EFEA has Jacques Eric Strauss of France’s Plaza Production as its president.