Some industry observers are worried that with the current economic climate, MEDIA after 2013 will be severely curtailed or phased out.

A damper has been put on tomorrow’s 20th birthday celebrations for the European Union’s MEDIA Programme as many industry experts fear that the current MEDIA 2007 could be the last edition of the programme, when it runs out in 2013.

Leading German producer Regina Ziegler told Screen that she had heard “from good authority” that the MEDIA Programme, is to be “completely phased out.”

Many others in the industry are worried that with the current economic climate, MEDIA after 2013 will be severely curtailed.  

According to a source close to the MEDIA Programme, it is still very much up in the air as to how the level of the overall EU budget will pan out from 2013. However, without wishing to scaremonger, the source pointed out that there is clearly a real danger to the programme.

On her visit to Berlin Thursday, EU Culture Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou stressed that she was “committed to pushing for a well-funded programme to continue to the end of this decade and beyond.”

MEDIA 2007 has had a budget of € 755m over seven years from 2007 to 2013.

Ziegler said that if MEDIA was in jeopardy, European co-productions would be seriously hurt. “In addition, the politicians are sending a fatal sign to all European producers. A piece of European cultural heritage would disappear here.”

Meanwhile, Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick paid tribute to the importance of the MEDIA Programme for the growth of the European cinema in the last 20 years.

Kosslick told Screen: “[MEDIA] has brought totally different people with totally different languages from totally different countries together in the audiovisual sector so that today one can rightly say that there is a lively European film culture and a prospering European film industry. That was inconceivable 20 years ago. Today, it is regarded as taken for granted.”

The German Film Academy has added the future of the MEDIA Programme on the agenda for its members assembly in Berlin today.

The European Film Agency Directors (EFADs) will be also discussing this issue at their meeting in Berlin today.