More than 300 European filmmakers including Wim Wenders and Mike Leigh sign the petition.
Wim Wenders [pictured], Cristian Mungiu, Catherine Breillat, Fatih Akin, Rebecca O’Brien, Jean-Jacques Beineix, Mike Leigh, and Ole Christian Madsen are among more than 300 European filmmakers and producers who are the first signatories of a petition to support the future of the European Union’s MEDIA Programme after 2013.
In the petition declaration, the signatories said that they “deplore the fact that the European Commission, rather than allocating the necessary resources for the renewal of the programme and considering with the member states how they could find ways of financing the programme other than through contributions from member states (via an additional European taxation system), has confined itself to abolishing the benefits, reducing credit and ending the specifics of the MEDIA Programme.”
“We refuse, purely and simply, to allow the Media Programme to be abolished, or even to see it merged within another, more extensive programme,” the signatories stressed, calling on Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, “to receive a delegation of European film-makers and to do so as quickly as possible.”
The petition has been coordinated by France’s authors, directors and producers association L’ARP after consultation with the European national film agencies gathered within the EFADs network who had issued its own declaration on MEDIA at the Berlinale last week .
Professionals can add their name to the filmmakers’ petition by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, the European Film Academy, European Producers Club, FIAPF and UNIC are among 12 European networks and international producer, distributor and exhibitor organizations who have banded together to send a joint letter to Barroso to express their concern about the “very existence” of a programme “which has been a lifesaver for the industry over the last 20 years.”
“All professionals agree today on how important, effective and efficient the MEDIA budget has been on the audiovisual industry,” the letter said. “If it was not for MEDIA, we would not be able today to even talk about a European audiovisual industry because this industry would not have been able to offer the non-national European cinema and TV contents in the various audiovisual market places of the European Union and associated countries.”
“We now ask the European Commission to at least maintain in the future the MEDIA Programme on the European audiovisual industry as it exists,” the letter’s authors continued. “We believe that the suppression or even any cuts to this programme’s budget will most certainly lead to a dismantling of the European audiovisual industry with related immediate and significant impact on economic growth and jobs and inevitably weakening Europe’s cultural diversity. Without cultural diversity and circulation of European works, the EU will lose one of the foundations of its identity. In the end the European viewers would be the real people to lose from this withdrawal of commitment.”
The letter pointed out that “films and audiovisual works are probably the best artistic way of expression to improve the knowledge among European citizens about the cultures of the European countries and the value of democracies they convey. The images, either telling a story or presenting facts through a documentary, are easily accessible by men and women of Europe and outside Europe, whatever their age or level of education and without the issue of the ‘language barrier’. It is also the best advertisement for our way of life, technologies and European products that are seen through the world.”
This letter concluded with the signatories requesting a meeting with Barroso to discuss this issue further.