The European Parliament has called for more balanced funding for European cinema in order to reach wider audiences within Europe and beyond.

In a draft report on European Film in the Digital Era unveiled at the end of last year, Polish MEP Bogdan Wenta argued that “in order to improve the circulation of European films on both European and international markets, public funding for production and distribution needs to better balanced with a view to increasing support for development, promotion and international distribution.”

He explained that, with the process of cinema digitisation in Europe now almost complete “the next challenge faced by the audiovisual sector is the need to ensure a genuine and efficient distribution of European films that ensures their visibility and reaches wider audiences.”

In his opinion, another “important consideration” would be the need for “flexibility and further experimentation” in the light of an increasing number of VOD services as well as online files available for download.

At the same time, Wenta suggested that new methods of distribution and business models “may herald the arrival of innovative funding sources”, arguing that “cinema screenings, DVD releases and new forms of access, such as streaming or VOD services, are not mutually exclusive, as their sphere of influence is diversified without any losses incurred.”

“Everyone who benefits from the film industry, including VOD services, should be encouraged to support film production as a fair requirement. A clear political signal should be sent in that regard,” he said.

According to Wenta, supporting more subtitling and dubbing could increase the circulation of European films, and he suggested that a pilot project could be undertaken “to investigate the possibility of an online platform where subtitle translations are crowd-sourced.”

The report was prepared by Wenta for the EP’s Committee on Culture and Education in response to the EC’s communication on European Film in the Digital Era from last May.

Wenta’s fellow Committee members now have an opportunity to submit their own contributions to the report before its final reading this spring at sittings of the Committee and the EP plenum.