At a time when co-productionregulations across Europe are coming under close scrutiny, it was suggestedthis weekend that France should loosen its requirements on shooting in theFrench language,

The proposal, made only daysafter Jean-Pierre Jeunet's A Very Long Engagement was disbarred fromqualifying for French subsidies and French prizes, was made at the high-levelFranco-German Film Meeting in Lyon.

Kirsten Niehuus,co-executive director of German regional public funder MedienboardBerlin-Brandenburg, explained that "the last few years has seen a verygood cooperation between Germany and France in the field of co-production, butit appears that among those projects supported within the"mini-treaty" co-production agreement there has been a dominance ofmajority French ones".

Since the signing of the"mini-treaty" at Cannes in May 2001, which created a co-productionfund with an annual budget of Euros 3m,funding of between Euros 150,000 and Euros 500,000 per film has been granted to15 majority French productions but only four majority German productions.

"When one asks thereasons for this, one sees that the French regulations concerning funding andtelevision privilege films shot in the French language", Niehuus said,"Thus, if one is looking for a more equal relationship, we have to call onthe French colleagues to change the rules regarding funding and TV sales forGerman-French co-productions - and especially those supported within the minitreaty - and to treat them as equal to the French productions. In Germany, thatis already the case: when one receives support from the mini-treaty there is norestriction if the film is shot in French. So, it would be good if theseconditions also existed in France."

The two-day meeting ofrepresentatives from the two countries' film industries also discussed suchissues as film education, strategies to combat the illegal copying anddownloading of feature films, and the situation of arthouse distribution andexhibition.