EuropeanUnion media commissioner Viviane Reding has said she wants European film-makersto be able to use technology to boost the circulation of their films within theEU.

Reding, who oversees theEuros 513m Media Programme, was speaking to Screen ahead of a Europe Dayconference she is hosting here on May 17.

18 of the 25 cultureministers from the EU member states will attend as well as senior figures fromthe world of media and technology, including Time Warner's Jeff Bewkes, BBCdirector general Mark Thompson, Vivendi Universal chief operating officerJean-Bernard Levy, UK Film Council chief executive John Woodward and CNC chairCatherine Colonna.

Discussions will coverissues such as aiding the circulation of films via digital cinema and mobiletechnology as well as ways of tackling piracy.

"I see myself as someone whogives impetus and gives co-ordination. Then the professionals have tocontribute in their way and the national ministers do the things on theirterritory. But we have to do this in a co-ordinated, logical way."

She added that the emphasison working with technology to help European films was 'a new aspect of the samevision' of the Media Programme - "to have a maximum number of good Europeanfilms reaching a maximum number of audiences."

Recent figures show that European films continue to struggle to attractaudiences outside their national borders. Some 750 theatrical features wereproduced in Europe in 2003. While they enjoyed a healthy 21% share of theirlocal box office, those same mostly foreign-language films accounted for only7.5% of the continent's total box office outside their countries of origin. (, February 15)

Digital cinema, in particular, has been championed as a way of improvingthe circulation of European films around the continent, largely because itreduces the cost of distribution.

Reding commented: "Let's hope that after this first meeting between twovery different parts of the business - the artists and the engineers as it were- that they will speak the same language in the end and will understand eachother. Let's seize this opportunity.That is the message I want to give."