Over 400 figures from the European film industry, including Carey Mulligan [pictured], put their name to European Film Promotion’s communication to the European Parliament and European Commission.

UK actors Jamie Sives and Carey Mulligan, filmmakers Barbara Albert and Geoffrey Enthoven, Berlinale chief Dieter Kosslick and producers Ed Guiney and Andrzej Jakimowski are among over 400 figures from the European film industry who have put their name to a communication sent by European Film Promotion (EFP) to the European Parliament (EP) and the European Commission (EC).

The letter, with the aim to draw attention to the achievements of EFP’s work for cinema, was sent to Doris Pack, chairperson of the EP’s Committee on Culture and Education, ahead of today’s (Oct 23) deadline for amendments and comments on MEP Silvia Costa’s draft report on the EC’s proposed Creative Europe programme. In addition, EFP had sent the missive to Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and MEDIA unit chief Aviva Silver, among others.

In the letter, EFP President Christian Juhl Lemche pointed to Creative Europe’s general objectives of being “(i) to safeguard and promote the European cultural and linguistic diversity and (ii) to strengthen the competitiveness of the sector,” and argued that “European Film Promotion and its unique membership of national promotional institutes has played a crucial role in contributing to the fulfilment of these objectives over the period of now almost 16 years.”

“Pulling together the different strengths, we have scored on the field of networking, establishing and maintaining business relationships and bringing to the fore new acting and artistic talent,” he continued. “With its activities, designed to achieve long-term results, EFP has always sought to support and complement Europe’s national film industries to the advantage of our 34 member countries, in particular those with a smaller audiovisual industry.

“EFP thus represents a true network of industry professionals whose goal it is to increase the circulation and exploitation of European films in Europe and around the world. The organisation, which is highly tuned into market realities, is able to effectively adjust to the evolution and changes of the film industry and the ever-changing world of technology.”

Lemche concluded by stating that EFP was “therefore looking very much forward to building on and maintaining our activities which have been financially supported and made possible by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union over the course of almost 16 years. We truly believe that what has been created through MEDIA must find its resonance in the Creative Europe Programme (2014-2020) and we hope that we will be able to carry on and strengthen our work.”

The list of signatories includes many former Shooting Stars such as Moritz Bleibtreu, Labina Mitevska, Thure Lindhardt and Vicky Volioti, past Producers on The Move such as Bettina Brokemper, Daniel Burlac, San Fu Maltha and Ankica Juric Tilic, as well as film directors Barbara Albert, Geoffrey Enthoven, Andreas Dresen and Ole Christian Madsen whose films had been promoted in the past by EFP.

Solidarity with EFP’s record over the past 16 years has also been shown by the likes of Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick, producers Cedomir Kolar and Vibeke Windelov and – from further afield – the directors of the festivals in Sundance, Busan, Toronto, Guadalajara and Karlovy Vary as well as talent agents and casting directors from around the globe.

Meanwhile, in another development concerning Creative Europe, Ann Branch, Head of the Culture Programme and Actions Unit at the European Commission, has urged the cultural and creative sectors to lobby their national politicians ahead of the European Council’s extraordinary summit which will be held on Nov 22/23 to reach a decision on the EU budget for 2014-2020.

Speaking about the proposals for Creative Europe at last week’s Culture in Motion conference in Brussels, Branch explained: “The key dates will be 22 and 23 November when the decision on the overall EU budget will hopefully be made. It seem that the Member States will not be allowed to leave the meeting until they have made a decision because in December they need to talk about the Eurozone crisis.

“Please pass the message to your governments if you think that this is a programme that deserves an increased budget. It’s a very small amount in overall terms, so we don’t think it is unrealistic - and you need to do it now, and very fast.”

Branch pointed out that the Council members had now been discussing the loan guarantee facility and the bulk of the EC’s proposal had been confirmed at a meeting of the Education and Culture Ministers in May, so it was realistic to expect a consolidated text by November.

Turning to the procedure in the EP, she told delegates that there will be voting in committee at the end of December [on Dec 18], “but they will only vote in plenary [on this] once we have the overall budget.”

“So, we hope that they will vote in February and, after that, that the Council and Parliament will reach a first reading agreement. From our point of view, there is so much common ground that there is no reason why they can’t reach a first reading agreement,” Branch suggested.

She explained that calls for proposals for the new Creative Europe framework programme until a legal base is in place. However, she added that the Commission is “working on all of this in parallel and want to be ready to publish the calls with a legal base and would ideally do this towards the middle of next year.”