European film dreams

EDITORIAL. This year, as every year, a wide assortment of European film industry players – merchants, artists, media and public funders – will be descending on Cannes. All arrive at the notorious gathering hole, now celebrating its 65th anniversary, full of dreams and aspirations – of golden palms, successful negotiations, glowing reviews, new partnerships, of wrapping up the financing on their next film. The stakes are high and, as always in the wonderful and gnarly world of film, there are more losers than winners.

This year, many of us should pack a few extra concerns, considering that 2012 is an important year in determining a new framework for European film production. Not only is the MEDIA programme, so crucial to cross-border film partnerships, up for renewal, the EU Commission is also preparing its final proposal for a new cinema communication that will set the conditions for public film funding in Europe for years to come.

The so-called 'Draft Communication on state aid for films and other audiovisual works' not only establishes a framework for member countries' funding of individual film projects and regional fund initiatives, it is also very important in determining the scope of future audiovisual policies.

With so much at stake, the European film agencies have long worked to secure a strong and flexible framework capable of embracing the development potentials and the challenges faced by the film industry.

This is especially true in terms of maintaining the EU member states' commitment to the European audiovisual culture, but also in terms of the continued possibility of supporting the whole food chain – from conception through development, production and marketing, until the film meets its audience right where they are, in front of the TV, laptop or at the cinema.

Another issue is the inclusiveness with which the actual concept of 'audiovisual' is defined. What is an 'audiovisual work' in the year 2012 and in the future?

The world over, filmmakers are dedicating themselves to creating stories that can unfold in many ways, in many media and on many different platforms – all at once. One and the same universal tale of love and longing may have been developed on Facebook and take the form of webisodes, a TV series, a computer game, a feature and an App. Supporting these open and refreshing agendas takes a broad framework, not restricting definitions.

These issues will define our common future. Indeed, there will be plenty to dream, talk and worry about under the swaying palms in Cannes.

Henrik Bo Nielsen, CEO