Magazine article Screen International

European Parliament Calls for More Flexibility

Magazine article Screen International

European Parliament Calls for More Flexibility

Article excerpt

Changes to release windows could bring larger audiences to European Parliament says EP deputy Bogdan Wenta [pictured].

Flexibility to release windows and more focus on distribution and promotion could bring larger audiences to European films, according to the Polish European Parliament (EP) deputy Bogdan Wenta in a first "exchange of views" on the European Commission's Communication on European film in the digital era.

Wenta, who has been appointed as rapporteur to draft a written response to the Communication, explained that his "main challenge" in this report would be "to offer solutions to allow viewers optimum access to European films".

"Cinema will always be in the first place [of the media chronology], but some European Commission studies indicate that 70% of European viewers watch films on the Internet, either streaming or downloading, legally or illegally, and 40% of smartphone users and over 60% of tablet users atch films on both devices."

"The European film sector could increase its revenues by using different online platforms to increase he availability of films," Wenta argued, noting that the growing popularity of VoD and downloading meant that that EP "should look at increased flexibility in how, when and where films are made available."

He added that "an important part" of his report would also be focused on media education from the earliest years at school "to allow people to consume media critically".

"Public funding should concentrate more on increasing the number of viewers for European films and for supporting distribution and promotion," Wenta suggested, drawing attention to the Communication's statistics that European public film funding bodies spent on average 69% of their budgets on the creation of work, but only 8.4% was spent on distribution and 3.6% on promotion.

"MEDIA has a crucial role to play here as it will support 800 European films over the coming seven years. The majority of that funding will go in supporting the distribution of these films outside of the countries where they were made," he said.

In the EP's previous legislatory term, there had only been one report prepared on cinema - by fellow Ple Piotr Borys - on the transition to digital cinema.

Italian MEP Silvia Costa, chair of the EP's Committee for Culture and Education, explained that the parliamentarians could make submissions to Wenta's report by next January and he would unveil his finished report in March 2015.

An MEP since this present legislatory period, 52-year-old Wenta is one of the leading handball players to come from Poland and has served as the coach for the Polish national team since his retirement from the game.LUX Film Days go USA

The EP's LUX Film Days may be "exported" to the USA for its third edition with screenings of the three finalists - Ida, Class Enemy and Girlhood - planned for a cinema in New York.

Marisella Rossetti of the LUX Film Prize unit told Screen that they are still awaiting confirmation from the EP's office in Washington for screenings to be held in New York's Westend Cinema.

Meanwhile, screenings of 2014's finalists are already planned and taking place through November and into December at such festivals as Thessaloniki, Santiago di Compostela, Cartagena, Seville, Vienna, Bratislava and Stockholm, as well as cinemas in places like Edinburgh, Munich, Skopje, Helsinki, Lisbon, Barcelona, Valletta, Nicosia and Luxembourg. …

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