Also freezes distribution support after cases of fraud revealed.

“Modest modifications” have been proposed to the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production by a study commissioned by Strasbourg-based Eurimages from the UK consultancy Olsberg SPI.

Speaking exclusively to Screen, Eurimages executive director Roberto Olla said that the idea for the study originated at a conference in Krakow in 2008.

“One of the conference’s conclusions was the necessity of reviewing the Convention and looking at its performance and examining whether it needed to be adapted in the light of new business models and digital technology,” Olla explained.

In preparing the study, SPI contacted such industry figures as the BFI’s Isabel Davies, Zentropa’s Peter Garde, CNC’s Julien Ezanno and Film Center Serbia’s Miroljub Vuckovic.

The report addressed issues ranging from the minimum financial participation for smaller countries (currently 10%) and the maximum financial participation for non-European countries (currently 30%) to modernising the currents points test and opening the Convention up to third countries

Among its recommendations, SPI suggested that “minimum contributions on a multi-lateral co-production be reduced from 10% to 5% and on bi-laterals from 20% to 10%.”

“As a corollary to this, SPI would also recommend the increase of the maximum contribution in such circumstances to 80% from 70%. This second recommendation also is better supported by the producer community than among other consultees/respondents.”

Olla pointed out, however, than any revisions to the Convention cannot be made now until the Council’s bi-annual work programme and budget for 2014-2015.

Meanwhile, he revealed that Eurimages is planning to launch another study at the end of June about strategies for supporting distribution in those countries that are part of Eurimages, but outside the MEDIA Programme such as Turkey, Russia, and Macedonia.

“We had a distribution scheme which I had to freeze for these countries at the end of last year because of some cases of fraud,” Olla explained. “The ruling of 50% own investment had not been respected by some distributors and they have to reimburse us. If they don’t, we will blacklist them. The study should show the needs regarding intensity of funding and see how far we can use new technologies to reduce the eventualities of fraud.”

A second, larger study will be put out for tender at the beginning of 2013 to give a 360 degree overview of the role Eurimages is playing in the European audiovisual landscape.

“That will be a fantastic opportunity to stop for a second, and look back to see what we have done and then to future to see where we need to adapt,” Olla said.