Council of Europe’s co-production fund is looking at how to admit non-European countries to its ranks.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Eurimages (the Council of Europe’s co-production fund) is edging ever closer to admitting non-European countries to its ranks.

Here in Cannes, the organisation will be holding a special meeting to discuss how this goal might be achieved.

“We do not know if this meeting will be final and we will report back to the plenary with all the member states in June or if we still need time to discuss but we are advancing on this,” commented Roberto Olla [pictured], executive director of Eurimages.

Olla said that expansion of Eurimages (which currently has 36 members) was “unavoidable and actually necessary”.

Canada is likely to be the first non-European country to join the organisation. No official negotiations have been undertaken but Olla confirmed that unofficial talks about potential Canadian membership are underway.

Olla again confirmed that the UK has shown no signs of wanting to re-join Eurimages, after leaving the organisation in 1996.

“Nothing happened from their side. They [the British] didn’t contact me,” Olla said. “We didn’t even discuss it internally in the Board of Management.” He added that he didn’t sense any evidence of any “political will” from the Brits to rejoin. 

Political upheaval is affecting the membership prospects of one country keen to join the Eurimages club. Ukraine’s application is pending but, as Olla noted, they currently have “other priorities”.

Armenia is also in the frame to join Eurimages. The organisation was originally created for 12 countries but has trebled in size. Olla expressed confidence that Eurimages can maintain its quality standards even as it grows ever larger.

Eurimages has supported seven films in official selection in Cannes. Olla expressed his satisfaction with the number of films chosen but expressed some regret that “we have no first-time directors”.

The organisation’s 25th anniversary is being celebrated with a cocktail party on Saturday evening.