Edith sepp

Source: Tallinn Black Nights

Edith Sepp

The European Film Agency Directors (EFADs) has concluded an 18-month deliberation on the future of film and its audiences.

In a keynote presentation at Estonia’s EU Presidency Conference at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, EFADs board member and head of the Estonian Film Institute Edith Sepp presented the association’s ’Vision’ report, which outlines a roadmap for film to be “globally competitive, culturally flourishing and connecting with wide and varied audiences across multiple platforms by 2030”.

EFADs, which consists of directors from the leading film agencies from 31 European countries including the UK, France, Germany and Italy, grouped its roadmap under a ten-point call to action:


  1. A supportive political, financial and regulatory environment in Europe

To achieve the common vision, all key stakeholders including EFADs, Europe’s film professionals, national, regional and local governments, film agencies and the European institutions need to collaborate to help put in place a coherent and supportive legislative, regulatory and business environment.

Support programmes such as EURIMAGES and MEDIA should be strengthened to foster artistic collaborations and the promotion of European works in all parts of the world. Regulations should be smartly designed to enable the sector to adapt while respecting its basic principles: freedom of creation, cultural diversity, the rights of all creators, and access to culture for all.

  1. Embrace technological change

Today, digital technologies are critical to the entire film value chain. We expect most answers to industry challenges, whether in communication, business models or audience insight to be driven by technological solutions. One key goal will be identifying how to effectively disseminate best practice broadly into the industry. Digital distribution channels of all kinds need to find their place in the filmmaking landscape. We would like to see newer stakeholders partner with the film industry just as traditional broadcasting has been, contributing financially, creatively, and socially. It is probable that public film funding, as a result of the fast changing landscape, will be required to initiate a process of rethinking of the fundamentals of the entire film financing system.

  1. Make available comprehensive and transparent data

EFADs will work strategically to ensure transparent access to film and audience data across the whole value chain. Two core principles are: First, authors and right holders should always have access to the quantitative data on the full exploitation of their work and data on all publicly funded works must be made available to the funds, through legal mandates if necessary. Second, film agencies will increase their collaboration to share quantitative and qualitative data, analysis on audiences and initiate new studies, for example within the EFARN network.

  1. Promote European film locally and globally

Promoting European film across the world is crucial both to cultural diplomacy which helps us share our values, as well as helping the European film industry to enter new markets. The European film industry needs a new strategic mindset when it comes to film promotion on all levels. Just as the promotion of film domestically must change when there is a greater variety of content than ever before, the international promotion of European film must be rethought. Distribution should be valued as highly by the film funds as production.

  1. Create the conditions for high-quality European film which connects with its intended audience.

Publicly funded film is a space for artistic risk-taking, which is also necessary for cutting-edge approach. There is a need to invest more in the development stage of projects, to support story-telling skills across formats and to support collaborative creation and dissemination. The film agencies need to continue supporting many different types of content; at the heart of this will always be good stories that connect with and enrich audiences. To ensure a wide range of stories and access to the best talent, we will work systematically to raise awareness of the importance of diversity both on screen and at all levels of the workforce.

  1. Enhance co-production mechanisms

Co-production makes films stronger, circulation easier, and is financially necessary for both niche films in small languages and for the expensive mainstream films. The rules for co-production across Europe need to be streamlined, compatible and more flexible so that they facilitate the development of artistic collaboration. EFADs will also explore new forms of collaboration in other parts of film, especially in distribution and will work strategically to achieve greater collaboration around co-productions.

  1. Educate film professionals in a changing world

Very high-quality film schools and lifelong learning are at the heart of a sustainable European film. We need training and professional development that takes into account both artistic needs and continuing technological developments. The importance of new skills – notably technological ones – not previously exploited in filmmaking are rapidly growing. There is a continuing need for practical training programmes and coordinated research in these new areas.

  1. Film in education

Film represents a very significant part of the 20th century’s cultural legacy and is the 21st century’s main form of communication via the internet and social media. Exploring the richness of our film heritage and understanding the “alphabet of film” – the narrative, the shooting, the editing – is key for children and young people to engage with digital media as a mean for expression and storytelling.

To that end, film literacy is a core element within the 21st century learning curriculum, especially within the areas of creative and collaborative learning, critical thinking and cultural openness.

Film can be deployed in language courses, history, the arts and many other subjects while introducing young people to viewpoints and life experiences they might not otherwise encounter.

Effective film education requires teachers to have clarity regarding the possibilities they have to show audiovisual material in its entirety or as part of other kind of learning material. The combination of copyright exceptions and adequate remuneration through educational licensing schemes across Europe should create a framework in which teachers and learners do not have to worry about seeking permission every time they want to use a copyright work for educational purposes, and rights holders are fairly remunerated for the use of their work.

  1. Protect and share the European film heritage

European countries need to continue their urgent efforts to digitize our cinematic heritage and making it easily accessible to the wider public all across Europe. Innovative solutions need to be developed in order to maximise the use of film heritage in education and as an inspiration for new stories.

  1. Better collaboration within the film sector

The EFADs commit to increasing co-operation between themselves. We call upon all stakeholders to work more closely in developing a supportive eco-system for European film, to share best practice and fulfil a common vision for developing a strong, sustainable and dynamic film sector which connects with wide and varied audiences across Europe and around the world.