EFADs Vision Paper on future of film: Towards a Strong, Sustainable and Dynamic European Film Industry and Culture in 2030
Version of November 2017, draft for comments by stakeholders
Over the last 18 months, the EFADs Think-Tank has been a place for debates about issues that are critical to the future of film and its audiences across Europe and beyond.
The aim is to guarantee that by 2030, European film will be globally competitive, culturally flourishing and connect with wide and varied audiences across Europe, across the globe and across every conceivable platform.
The Think-Tank has been creating a framework to respond positively to the opportunities and challenges arising from the development of the market, regulation and technology. We are crystallizing EFADs ideas and sharing them with all.
The Vision document is a living document that will be updated, as times change and evolve. This first version is open to comments from all interested parties.
European Film Agencies champion European film across formats and platforms. Our mission is to enable local cultures and different language communities to see their lives represented on screen and for powerful, culturally expressive films to deeply affect hearts and minds to the benefit of the well-being of society across Europe.
We promote film literacy and storytelling in support of freedom of expression and film culture to help ensure filmmaking, film heritage and film as art are available and relevant to the many, not the few.
 By “film” we mean anything that tells a story, expresses an idea or evokes an emotion through the art of the moving image, whilst honouring the platform for which the work was intended (BFI).
EFADs’ VISION FOR EUROPEAN FILM IN 2030
- Everyone living and working in Europe will be able to access, enjoy and celebrate Europe’s rich diversity of films, and the creators of film works as well as those working throughout the film industry will be fairly rewarded for their creativity.
- European film will be acknowledged by audiences and the industry itself as artistically ambitious, varied, relevant, and bursting with ideas. The market share of European film will have grown in all windows and across all formats.
- European film will take far greater advantage of new technologies. New distribution and promotion tools will help each film, including auteur film and small local stories, to connect with their audiences at home, in Europe and right across the world. European’s cinematic heritage must be widely digitized and available to the broadest possible audience.
- Smartly coordinated promotion efforts will help the best European films perform in the global market. Entertaining works of European origin will successfully compete in the commercial international market. All those distributing and exploiting European works, – from exhibitors to telecom and cable companies and including all VoD services operating in Europe – will contribute to the film industry, more specifically to the production and promotion of European films.
- Film agencies will be politically independent to guarantee artistic freedom and will have stable and predictable funding. They will continue to have a special role as enablers of risk-taking, experimentation and creative innovation. European film will continue to benefit from public support, but the importance of other financing sources will grow.
- The industry and the films it makes will be a better place for women and gender equality will have made huge progress. The industry and the films it makes will better reflect the diversity of our societies – not only by gender, but also by ethnic group, age, disability, sexual orientation, social background and geographic location. Films will reflect the rich variety of European lives.
CALL FOR ACTION
- A supportive political, financial and regulatory environment in Europe
To achieve the common vision, all key stakeholders including EFADs, Europe’s film professionals, national, regional and local governments, film agencies and the European institutions need to collaborate to help put in place a coherent and supportive legislative, regulatory and business environment.
Support 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. Regulations should be smartly 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.
- Embrace technological change
Today, digital technologies are critical to the entire film value chain. We expect most answers to industry challenges, whether in communication, business models or audience insight to be driven by technological solutions. One key goal will be identifying how to effectively disseminate best practice broadly into 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. It is probable that public film funding, as a result of the fast changing landscape, will be required to initiate a process of rethinking of the fundamentals of the entire film financing system.
- Make available comprehensive and transparent data
EFADs will work strategically to ensure transparent access to film and audience data across the whole value chain. Two core principles are: First, authors and right holders should always have access to the quantitative data on the full exploitation of their work and data on all publicly funded works must be made available to the funds, through legal mandates if necessary. Second, film agencies will increase their collaboration to share quantitative and qualitative data, analysis on audiences and initiate new studies, for example within the EFARN network.
- Promote European film locally and globally
Promoting European film across the world is crucial both to cultural diplomacy which helps us share our values, as well as helping the European film industry to enter new markets. The European film industry needs a new strategic mindset when it comes to film promotion on all levels. Just as the promotion of film domestically must change when there is a greater variety of content than ever before, the international promotion of European film must be rethought. Distribution should be valued as highly by the film funds as production.
- Create the conditions for high-quality European film which connects with its intended audience.
Publicly funded film is a space for artistic risk-taking, which is also necessary for cutting-edge approach. There is a need to invest more in the development stage of projects, to support story-telling skills across formats and to support collaborative creation and dissemination. The film agencies need to continue supporting many different types of content; at the heart of this will always be good stories that connect with and enrich audiences. To ensure a wide range of stories and access to the best talent, we will work systematically to raise awareness of the importance of diversity both on screen and at all levels of the workforce.
- Enhance co-production mechanisms
Co-production makes films stronger, circulation easier, and is financially necessary for both niche films in small languages and for the expensive mainstream films. The rules for co-production across Europe need to be streamlined, compatible and more flexible so that they facilitate the development of artistic collaboration. EFADs will also explore new forms of collaboration in other parts of film, especially in distribution and will work strategically to achieve greater collaboration around co-productions.
- Educate film professionals in a changing world
Very high-quality film schools and lifelong learning are at the heart of a sustainable European film. We need training and professional development that takes into account both artistic needs and continuing technological developments. The importance of new skills – notably technological ones – not previously exploited in filmmaking are rapidly growing. There is a continuing need for practical training programmes and coordinated research in these new areas.
- Film in education
Film represents a very significant part of the 20th century’s cultural legacy and is the 21st century’s main form of communication via the internet and social media. Exploring the richness of our film heritage and understanding the “alphabet of film” – the narrative, the shooting, the editing – is key for children and young people to engage with digital media as a mean for expression and storytelling.
To that end, film literacy is a core element within the 21st century learning curriculum, especially within the areas of creative and collaborative learning, critical thinking and cultural openness.
Film can be deployed in language courses, history, the arts and many other subjects while introducing young people to viewpoints and life experiences they might not otherwise encounter.
Effective film education requires teachers to have clarity regarding the possibilities they have to show audiovisual material in its entirety or as part of other kind of learning material. The combination of copyright exceptions and adequate remuneration through educational licensing schemes across Europe should create a framework in which teachers and learners do not have to worry about seeking permission every time they want to use a copyright work for educational purposes, and rights holders are fairly remunerated for the use of their work.
- Protect and share the European film heritage
European countries need to continue their urgent efforts to digitize our cinematic heritage and making it easily accessible to the wider public all across Europe. Innovative solutions need to be developed in order to maximise the use of film heritage in education and as an inspiration for new stories.
- Better collaboration within the film sector
The EFADs commit to increasing co-operation between 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.