The present Eurozone economic crisís has prompted the European Commission (EC) to propose that planned expenditure on MEDIA Mundus projects to be capped at € 4.5m in its draft budget for 2013.

In the current year’s budget, an additional € 425,000, which had originally been intended for administrative funding linked to the programme such as hiring experts and IT support, had been channelled into supporting projects and thus boosted MEDIA Mundus’ budget to € 4.925m.

According to Dennis Abbott, spokesman for EC Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou, “in 2013, the Commission aims to finance the same number of new projects [as in 2012, i.e. 35], but to reduce individual project funding.”

The planned funding cut has drawn the attention of the MEPs in Strasbourg who declared in a budgetary procedure working document that they would “carefully analyse the reasons for cutting appropriations for (…) Media Mundus.”, although they appreciated the increases in commitments - compared to the 2012 Budget - for the Culture Programme (+1.4%) and MEDIA 2007 (+1.1%).

While the Culture Programme’s proposed budget is set to climb from € 58.503m to €59.356m, the final year of the MEDIA 2007 support programme for the European audiovisual sector is due to receive € 108.109m in 2013, up from this year’s € 106.752m .

Nevertheless, one has to keep in perspective that the Culture and MEDIA programmes come under heading 3b of the EC’s budget for Citizenship, Freedom, Security and Justice, which has the smallest financial allocation of only 1.4% of the overall budget.

Meanwhile, Screen Daily has obtained a copy of the evaluation drawn up by the Paris-based consultancies Euréval and Media Consulting Group of the MEDIA International preparatory action, the predecessor to MEDIA Mundus, which ran from 2008-2010 with a budget of Euros 8m.

The 71 projects funded in three calls for proposals over these three years included Cartoon Connection, Ventana Sur, Operation Kino, Europa Cinemas International, Ties That Bind, and Producers Lab Toronto.

According to the study’s findings, the beneficiaries of MEDIA International came from 48 countries, of which 31 were third countries and 17 European countries. In Europe, France had the most beneficiaries, followed by Germany, Spain and Italy. The UK and northern European countries were represented far less.

The 63 partners from the third countries came from across the globe, but mainly from Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia and the Mediterranean basin. “It was often countries with specific cultural and linguistic ties (e.g. Spain with Latin America) that served as bridges between Europe and third countries,“ the researchers observed.

“As regards the effects on the beneficiaries, the preparatory action enabled them to increase the range or volume of their activities, or to make them more attractive by adding an international dimension,” the study suggested.

“It is also probable that the action had effects on them in terms of improvement of competencies and the acquisition of new knowledge (implementation of new actions, exploration of new geographical zones), as well as the development of new networks.”

Turning to the effects on the end beneficiaries, the researchers argued that “the participants to the training and promotion actions did certainly acquire certain generic knowledge and competencies (related for example to the production phase as well as to communication, sales, networking, etc.), as well as specific knowledge of foreign markets and contacts in those markets.“

The findings were also based on consultations with such industry experts as Claude-Eric Poiroux (Europa Cinemas), Philipp Kreuzer (Bavaria Media), Jerome Paillard (Ventana Sur), Carl Clifton (K5 International), Adeline Monzier (Europa Distribution), Jovan Marjanovic (Obala Film Center Sarajevo) and Erik Gonzalez (Festival de Valdivia).