Foreword by Doris Pack
I am very honoured to be asked, once again, to write the preface for this year’s edition of the European Cinema Yearbook. As the Chairwoman of the Committee on Education and Culture of the European Parliament, I am acutely aware that as we reach the midpoint of our legislature, the audiovisual sector, and more particularly cinema, is facing some significant new challenges.
The audiovisual landscape is being transformed; new devices and services are changing the way media is consumed. Through convergence and cross-platform devices such as smart televisions, viewing is becoming more personalised and more interactive than ever before and geographical limitations are rapidly becoming meaningless.
This transformation also impacts on content creation, an issue at the heart of the Commission’s Creative Europe programme, the new generations of programmes in the field of culture and media for the period 2014-2020.
The proposal aims to bring together the current Culture, MEDIA and MEDIA Mundus programmes in a common framework to support the cultural and creative sectors with an estimated budget of €1.8 billion.
My Committee, on behalf of the European Parliament will shortly be considering the Commission’s proposal along with Council of the European Union, its co-legislator.
The individual programmes that this new proposal seeks to merge have been extremely successful for both European cinema and for European cultural and creative industries generally. The MEDIA programme celebrated its 20th anniversary during the Cannes Film Festival. During its lifetime, it has helped promote European films and provide invaluable support to the European audiovisual industry. For instance, MEDIA supported 20 films at the 2011 Cannes Festival, including eight that competed for the Festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or, including La Piel Que Habito by Pedro Almodóvar, Melancholia by Lars von Trier and Le Havre by Aki Kaurismäki. It has played a huge part in both nurturing and showcasing the richness, dynamism and creativity of European cinema.
Despite these difficult economic times, European cinema is stronger and more varied than ever, exemplified by the French black-and-white silent film, The Artist, by Michel Hazanavicius winning 3 Golden Globes, 7 BAFTAs and sweeping the board at the Oscar ceremony.
The European Parliament, through its LUX Prize, is committed to playing its part in ensuring European citizens are not restricted by linguistic barriers from accessing the rich cultural diversity provided by European cinema.
Inaugurated in 2007, the LUX Prize has gained increasing recognition and enables European citizens to discover, appreciate and better understand each other’s lives, hopes, dreams and fears.
This year the prize has been awarded to Les neiges du Kilimandjaro by Robert Guédiguian, about a couple who ends up looking after the family of a man who attacked them after learning why he did so.
In 2012, the LUX prize will move a step closer to European citizens: for the first time the three films shortlisted for the Prize will be screened in all 27 Member States and subtitled in each of the EU’s 23 official languages.
To conclude, I reiterate the fact that this will be a challenging year. Nevertheless I am confident that it is a challenge that can be met. Even in these economically challenging times, European cinema has kept on expanding and developing. With the proper support I have no doubt that our citizens will continue to enjoy and benefit from everything that the European audiovisual sector has to offer.