Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism, and Youth, has outlined key elements of her agenda for the European audiovisual industry in 2014.

Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily in Berlin on the eve of this year’s European Film Awards, Vassiliou explained that, following the adoption of the Creative Europe programme, next year will be occupied with its implementation.

“There are several changes compared to the existing programmes and this is why we will be having several information events in all of the member states to inform the stakeholders about the changes and how they can benefit,” she said.

Euro audience study

Audience development, one of Creative Europe’s key areas of focus, will be the subject of a presentation during next month’s Rotterdam International Film Festival.

UK media consultant David Graham of Attentional will be unveiling findings of the “Reaching European Film Audiences” study, ordered by the EC last year to gather “data and knowledge on European, national and international level on audience preferences and ways of marketing and consumption, in particular with young audiences”.

“We wanted to see how the attitudes of the public have changed towards accessing films and television programmes in the digital era,“ Vassiliou explained.

Graham and his team had launched an online questionnaire in 10 European countries to 4,500 respondents to find out, among other things:

  • what do EU film consumers really like/want;
  • which films satisfied their needs;
  • what are the best ways to promote and distribute EU films;
  • and with special emphasis on younger audiences and their use of social networks.

“I will propose a Council recommendation and communication based on this study to the Commission, the member states and stakeholders on how one can meet the challenges of the digital era,” Vassiliou said.

“The recommendations would also include seeing how one can safeguard and promote the diversity, visibility and accessibility of the sector.”

Media literacy

Another of the Commission’s objectives will be to “continue and develop media literacy”.

She had attended the CineKid festival in Amsterdam this year and learnt about the UK’s Filmclub initiative, co-founded by journalist/film critic Lindsay Mackie and film-maker Beeban Kidron.

“This is the type of cooperation we want to encourage among member states so that they learn from one another to develop media literacy initiatives within school hours and as a extra-curricular acitivity,” she suggested.

In this context, Vassiliou will be meeting with Kidron this week in Brussels to discuss initiatives for media literacy.

Greek priorities

Looking to the priorities for the audiovisual sector as set out by the Greek government for its six-month EU presidency from Jan 1, Vassiliou said that she had had a bi-lateral meeting with Greece’s Minister of Culture during the last Council of Culture Ministers in November.

“He is interested in looking at ways of financing cultural creativity in the light of the economic crisis, the new challenges of the digital era and of how to preserve cultural heritage,” she said.

To this end, the Greek EU Presidency will host two international conferences in Athens, one in February entitled “Financing Creativity” and the second in March on “Heritage: Towards a common cultural heritage approach for a sustainable Europe”.

Meanwhile, Vassiliou, whose term of office as a European Commissioner will come to an end next year, revealed that she is considering visiting the Sarajevo Film Festival for the first time.

Bosnia-Herzegovina established full participation in the current MEDIA 2007 programme last July after signing a Memorandum of Understanding.

Although Bosnia and Herzegovina is not an EU member state, it is able to participate in EU programmes on an equal footing with Member States as a part of the pre-accession strategy for countries seeking to join the EU.