The Danish Film Institute is behind a big think tank meeting this week at Eigtveds Pakhus in Copenhagen on the future of European film, drawing 150 participants from 34 countries.
The strong growth of its national cinema in recent years has made Denmark a role model to many: there is an urge to understand and replicate the "Danish model." Henning Camre, CEO of the DFI, in turn felt compelled to raise a number of critical issues that later led to the establishment of an advisory group of about 25 key people from all corners of the European film industry. The group has been meeting on and off since October 2005, whenever the international film festival schedule brought them together. In a continuous exchange of ideas and thoughts, the group has discussed and defined the project’s outlines and objectives.
Now, those thoughts and ideas will be tested in a larger forum at the first Copenhagen ThinkTank, bringing together 150 international and Danish film industry professionals under the motto, "We need to concentrate on subjects we can influence and do something to change."
The real work of a think tank takes place in the meeting of participants. Meanwhile, the event is grounded in painstaking preparation: extensive research into the subsidy systems of European countries has been conducted and, in partnership with the European Audiovisual Observatory, a large volume of documentation has been procured for use in the efforts. The main ThinkTank subjects have been organized into 5 working groups supplemented by keynote talks by the legendary British producer David Puttnam and Sundance festival manager Geoff Gilmore, who will discuss how American independents relate to European film.
"Public subsidy systems are obviously important to keep the production system going, but just as important is examining whether the systems are working as well as they could. Money will always be a scarce resource and there will always be a risk of the funds going elsewhere, if they are poorly used and results are not forthcoming," Henning Camre says. "Knowing that Europe has spent 7 billion euros over the past 5 years to subsidize film production, that an average of 700 films are produced each year, that only a small minority of these films are ever seen outside their country of origin, that combined they represent just 7% of the European market outside their home countries – compared with the fact that American movies represent an average 72% of the market – doesn’t it seem obvious to ask what can be done to change that situation a bit?"
Live reporting from the meeting will not be possible.