Eurimages executive director Roberto Olla has confirmed that the Council of Europe’s film fund is to be expanded beyond Europe.

Speaking at the 25th edition of Ireland’s Galway Film Fleadh (July 9-14), Olla said that the 36 countries that compose the Eurimages Board of Management voted in June to open the fund to non-European countries.The move is subject to approval by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe later this year.

If the decision is approved, territories in which Eurimages members already have bilateral treaties could apply for membership, with producers in non-European territories able to submit projects to Eurimages. These territories include Canada, Israel, Brazil, South Africa and Argentina.

Olla said that non-European countries will have the choice between full membership or associate membership depending on whether they want full or limited co-operation with Eurimages.

Non-European territories would contribute to the fund just like European member territories. Eurimages has an annual budget of $32.6mm (€25m).

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the fund to co-operate with countries with which individual member states of Eurimages have already established strong links,” Olla told ScreenDaily.

“European film-makers want to make films with film professionals wherever they are no matter their nationality. Stories have no boundaries. If the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe approves this change, this will offer great new opportunities to European film professionals to work with fellow professionals from different countries and conquer new markets.”