Magazine article Variety

Program Helps Euro Pix Dance on Wider Stage

Magazine article Variety

Program Helps Euro Pix Dance on Wider Stage

Article excerpt

ROME

U Pi ina," Wim Wenders' touching and technically innovative 3D tribute to late great dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch, is a noteworthy success story for European auteur cinema, earning more than $16 million worldwide - a stellar total for a docu.

But such success for the well-reviewed film wasn't always a certainty - until funding to support the film's distribution model came from the Media Program, Europe's biggest source of soft money, which supports mainly distribution and exhibition.

Producers wanted auds to see the film in 3D, which is such an integral part of the film's performance-heavy aesthetic. "(But) most of the movie theaters that usually play Wim's films were not equipped for 3D," notes "Pina" producer Gian-Piero Ringel.

The film received euro550,000 ($725,000) in distribution support from Media, which helped distribs in a dozen European territories secure appropriate screens and market the film.

"While having Media funding has always been important, these days it has become crucial," says Antonio Medici, general director of Italy's BIM Distribuzione, which earned a strong $1.7 million from "Pina" in Italy.

The question at last year's Berlin Film Festival was whether the Media program would continue, amid cuts to a swathe of arts-related funding across the continent. That possibility prompted a collective uproar by Europe's film industry honchos. The program is now being revamped and reorganized by EU pois, likely under an umbrella arts-funding model called Creative Europe, in an effort to maximize transnational circulation of European movies and expand the industry's horizons. More details are expected to surface on May 22 in Cannes when the EU's culture czars hit the Croisette.

Also in Cannes, in a clear sign that Media wants to broaden its sphere of influence, it will award its first prize ever to Iranian heuner Asghar Farhadi ("A Separation"), whose next film will be shot in French in Paris this fall, produced by Gaul's Memento Films. …

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