Creating a Strong, Sustainable and Dynamic European Film Industry and Culture in 2030
Updated version of the EFADs Vision Paper - February 2019
EFADs’ OPTIMISTIC VISION FOR EUROPEAN FILM IN 2030
By 2030, European film will be globally competitive and flourishing culturally and connecting with wide and varied audiences across Europe and the globe, on every conceivable platform. Film will be an engine for all the creative industries, representing the values, cultures and identities of Europe.
Everyone living and working in Europe, whether in small in countries or large ones, will be able to access, enjoy and celebrate Europe’s rich diversity of films. The creators of film works as well as those working throughout the film sector will enjoy freedom of expression, guaranteed by film agencies, which remain strongly committed to cultural diversity. All those working in the industry – whatever their role, whatever their background – will always be fairly and proportionately rewarded for their creativity.
European film will be acknowledged by audiences and the industry itself as artistically ambitious, incisive, and bursting with ideas. The revenues of European film will have grown in all windows and across all formats. Windows will reflect how audiences access films while maximising the value of each window to the long-term benefit of all participants.
Film agencies will guarantee artistic freedom, a wide variety of different visions, and the right to freedom of expression whatever the broader political situation. They will have stable and sustainable funding. They will have a role as enablers of risk-taking, experimentation and creative innovation. European film will continue to receive public support but the importance of entrepreneurial skills to tap private financing sources will grow.
European film will take far greater advantage of evolving new technologies, seizing their potential to broaden the audience for our films. They will use the new distribution and promotion tools far more effectively to support each film, including auteur film and small local stories, to connect with their audiences at home, in Europe and across the world. Similarly, Europe’s cinematic heritage will be available to the biggest possible audience.
European films will have improved their performance in the world market. Smart promotion efforts will enable compelling European films to perform strongly in the global market. All companies in Europe distributing and exploiting European works – exhibitors, telecom/cable operators, VoD services and broadcasters – will contribute to the film industry, especially to the production and promotion of European films.
The European industry and the films it makes will far better reflect the diversity of our societies – by gender, but also by language, ethnic group, age, disability, sexual orientation, social background, geographic location and size of country. Films will reflect the rich variety of European lives, enabling people from all backgrounds to see themselves, their heritage and their values reflected on screen.
The EFADs stand for:
1. A supportive political, financial and regulatory environment in Europe
To achieve this vision, all key stakeholders including EFADs, Europe’s film professionals, national, regional and local governments, film agencies and European institutions must collaborate to create a coherent and supportive legislative, regulatory, and business environment.
European support schemes 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. There needs to be a better balance between support for production scriptwriting, development and marketing/distribution with the aim of greatly strengthening connections with audiences. Regulations must be 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
2. A Rethinking of the Fundamentals of Film Financing
Because of the fast-changing landscape of business and technology, public film funders need to rethink the fundamentals of the film financing system. This must take into account the changing political landscape and societal ideal, while respecting creative freedom. Funds need to represent democratic values and the integrity and independence of culture.
Film funds must stand by filmmakers throughout the entire process as a partner and collaborator, not simply as a financier and controller. They should support creators directly, not always via production companies. A commitment to the environmental sustainability of the industry will also be crucial.
3. Positively embracing technological change
Digital technologies are critical to the entire film business. Most answers to industry challenges, whether in communication, business models or audience insight will be technological. We must effectively disseminate best practice across 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. Transparent access to film and audience data across the industry, including via blockchain, is also essential. This will provide invaluable information which helps films reach their target audience. Authors and right holders must always have access to the quantitative data on the full exploitation of their work, and data on all publicly funded works must be available to the funds, through legal mandates if necessary; film agencies must share this data.
4. Promoting European film effectively – locally and globally
Promoting European film across the world is crucial to cultural diplomacy. It enables us to share our values and identities. It helps the European film industry to enter new markets. There is a greater variety of competing content than ever before; the industry needs a fresh approach to film promotion in Europe and far beyond.
Distribution should be valued as highly by the film funds as production. Policy should focus as much on connecting with audiences and their shifting tastes and behaviour as on supporting creators, including producers. This will help ensure that the cultural impact of film on audiences is maximised.
5. Creating the conditions for high-quality European films which connect with their intended audience
Publicly funded film is a space for artistic risk-taking and cutting-edge approaches. More must be invested in the development of projects, to support storytelling skills across formats and collaborative creation and distribution. Film agencies must continue supporting many different forms of work; compelling stories that connect with and enrich audiences will always be at the heart of our mission. To ensure a wide range of stories and access to the best talent, we will work systematically to deliver increased diversity both on screen and across at all levels of the workforce.
6. Strengthening co-production and creative partnerships
Co-production makes films stronger, circulation easier, and is financially essential for both niche films in small languages and for some expensive mainstream films. The rules for co-production across Europe need to be streamlined, made compatible and more transparent so they facilitate the development of artistic collaboration and creative partnerships. We must also explore new forms of collaboration elsewhere in other parts of film, especially in distribution and will work to achieve greater partnerships for co-production.
There is increasing competition between European countries to attract incoming productions to help grow their indigenous industries. We should encourage greater collaboration to benefit local talent and local film, rather than a tax incentives race.
7. Investing in training film professionals in a changing world
High-quality film schools and lifelong learning are at the heart of a sustainable European film sector. We need training and professional development that addresses both creative needs and technological developments. There is a need for practical training programmes and coordinated research of training needs.
8. Strengthening Film Education
Exploring the richness of our film heritage and understanding the “alphabet of film” is key for children and young people so they can use moving images as a means of expression and storytelling.
Activities such as watching, debating, analysing and creating films, can be used in all aspects of formal education, especially native and foreign language courses, social studies, history and the arts. Film introduces young people to viewpoints and life experiences they might not otherwise encounter. Film literacy is a core element in the 21st Century curriculum, especially for collaborative learning, critical thinking and cultural openness.
Effective film education requires teachers to understand the potential of audiovisual materials for learning. Copyright exceptions and educational licensing schemes with remuneration exist across Europe. They should create a framework in which teachers and learners can easily seek permission when they want to use a copyright work for educational purposes, with rights holders fairly remunerated for use of their work.
9. Protecting and sharing the Europe’s film heritage
European countries must continue their efforts to digitize our cinematic heritage and make it easily accessible to the wider public across Europe. Innovative solutions are needed, including collaboration with the private sector, to maximise the use of film heritage in education and as an inspiration for new stories. Many countries need to establish film preservation facilities to preserve their collections, as well as sound procedures for legal deposit and preservation of digital assets. Good film archival practice will maximise access. For film heritage to be truly re-kindled, it is important that the historical films are preserved, identified, and transferred at the highest possible quality. Metadata must be authoritative, especially concerning rights.
10. Improving collaboration within the film sector
The EFADs commit to increasing co-operation among 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.