Further details about Media Invest, the European Commission’s new equity fund, designed to help fund the post-pandemic recovery of Europe’s audiovisual industry, emerged at the European Film Forum, held at the San Sebastian International Film Festival on Monday (September 20).
“We know that public money alone will not suffice to address the transformation of the industry,” said Lucía Recalde, head of unit audiovisual industry and media support programmes at the European Commission. “We have not only proposed, but we are on track to launch an innovative new investment equity platform by the end of the year named Media Invest.
“The principal is very simple,” she continued. “We’d like to use public funds to leverage private equity investment in audiovisual and reduce the risk associated in investment in film production and distribution. With an estimated budget of €400m over seven years, we hope to incentivise private investment in production and distribution companies that want to escalate their activities at European and global level.
“Stay tuned – there will be new developments around the end of this year on this.”
Recalde also urged the industry to “think at a continental level” in order to emerge stronger from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. “We need to work together, capitalising on our strengths, notably the diversity of our languages, and taking advantage of the internal market,” she said.
Recalde pointed to several initiatives of the European Commission, which she said have been “significantly revamped” following the pandemic, including the Digital Markets Act which aims to “level the playing field” between traditional content providers in Europe and the global video-on-demand platforms with an emphasis on “fairness”, as well as the creation of a cross-Europe augmented-and-virtual reality coalition to stimulate creative collaboration.
Recalde also discussed the creation of a media data space, to be funded under the Digital Europe Programme, to enable the collaboration and sharing of audience’s content data and meta data. “The data economy is key,” she flagged.
Followig Recalde’s opening speech, the European Film Forum hosted a discussion on the need for the film and TV industries to align with the EU’s green agenda, in which producer Álvaro Longoria, vice president of the European Producers Club and producer and partner of Morena Films in Spain criticised the weighting of responsibility for making TV and film productions green.
“The focus is being put on the wrong place,” said Longoria. “The client and the platforms haven’t set shooting green films as a standard. There’s a lot of discussion, but there’s a simple solution – make it mandatory.
“It has to come top to bottom rather than bottom up,” he added.
Longoria was joined on the panel by Zsofia Szemeredy, a sustainability consultant and development executive and co-founder at Green Eyes Production, Hungary, who impressed the need to have green consultants on sets to avoid “green-washing”, while Paloma Andrés Urrutia, co-founder of Fiction Changing the World and Mrs. Greenfilm, Spain, acknowledged that sustainability should not be the responsibility of the marketing department on film and TV production companies.
“People who green-wash get busted,” she concluded.