More than 20 films directed by some of the biggest names in European cinema and supported by the EU’s Creative Europe MEDIA programme will be screened at the 67th Cannes International Film Festival (14-25 May), including seven films in competition for the top prize, the Palme d’Or.
Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for culture, will be at the festival to present the third annual European Union ‘Prix MEDIA’ to the director and producer of the best new film project supported by Creative Europe. The winners will be unveiled at a ceremony in the Palais des Festivals on 17 May. The Commissioner will also hold meetings with young film-makers and industry figures to discuss the new Creative Europe programme, launched in January with a budget of nearly €1.5 billion over the next seven years – 9% higher than previous levels. In addition, she will address a debate organised by the Commission on expanding the audience for European films and the Commissioner will be a special guest at the opening of the ‘Directors’ Fortnight’ (La Quinzaine des Réalisateurs) selection on 15 May.
Among the MEDIA-supported films selected is the movie chosen to open the festival, Grace de Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman as the Hollywood heroine who married a prince. The others (see full list below) feature new releases by leading European directors such as Michel Hazanavicius (winner of five Oscars in 2012 for The Artist), Mike Leigh (winner of the 1996 Palme d’Or for Secrets & Lies), Ken Loach (2006 Palme d’Or for The Wind That Shakes The Barley), the legendary Jean-Luc Godard and Belgium’s Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (winners of the 1999 Palme d’Or for Rosetta and 2011 Grand Prix for Le Gamin au Vélo). Wim Wenders (winner of the 1984 Palme d’Or for Paris, Texas) is represented in the section ‘Un Certain Regard’.
The 21 EU-funded films to be screened at Cannes represent a variety of European countries, languages, genres and talents. To date, they have received a total of more than €1.3 million in funding from MEDIA – but this figure is likely to increase substantially due to their exposure at the festival and take-up by distributors.
Creative Europe is the fifth generation of EU funding programmes supporting the cultural and creative sectors. It combines the EU’s MEDIA and Culture programmes. The programme will allocate at least 56% of its budget for the MEDIA sub-programme. MEDIA supports the development, distribution and promotion of content produced by the EU film and audiovisual industries. One of its chief aims is to help European film-makers to reach markets beyond national and European borders.
Creative Europe will provide funding for at least 250 000 artists and cultural professionals, 2 000 cinemas, 800 films and 4 500 book translations. It will also launch a new financial guarantee facility enabling small cultural and creative businesses to access up to €750 million in bank loans.
Since 1991, MEDIA (acronym for ‘Mesures pour encourager le développement de l’industrie audiovisuelle’ – Measures to encourage the development of the audiovisual industry) has invested €1.7 billion in film development, distribution, training and innovation with the aim of enhancing the diversity and international competitiveness of the European film and audiovisual industry.