lux film prizeGiornate degli Autori - Venice Days

01 November, 2010

27 Times Cinema at the European Parliament

Last Wednesday, myself and Thomas from the 27 were taken to Brussels to sit in on a public hearing on Cinema and European Identities. The guest of honour was Wim Wenders, who gave a presentation on the importance of educating young people in cinema literacy.

Mr Wenders kicked things off in the palatial European Parliament buildings with a plea for a cinema-lierate population. He hoped that by raising future European generations to value their cinema as much they value television or games, then we may become more protective, and more nurturing of our our home-grown product. In short, creating more demand with a view to 'auteured' cinema ultimately taking the place of Hollywood output in our multiplexes.

He iterated the importance of digitalisation of cinema theatres in furthering a sense of 'Europeanness'. Films in foreign languages are now able to be screened in many different languages because with digital, our subtitles exist as meta-data, erasing the old problem of having to physically move prints around the continent. Wim said that pre-digital, if 10 prints of his film were made, 5 would be subtitled and 5 would be without. Think of how much more difficult this makes print traffic from a distribution point of view. Compared to a secure ftp transfer to a cinema, the projectionist able to choose between 15 different languages, and then project in crystal-clear digital or even 3D!

Of course, technology - as with anything new - creates its own problems. The idea of brand new, pre-release date films whizzing through the airwaves must make intellectual property lawyers break out in a cold sweat. Piracy is a real threat, however WW appealed to the lawyers to allow more filmmakers tro quote each other more liberally, and to classify more film footage as 'copyleft', specifically culturally significant documentary films.

Ann Jackel, a visiting research fellow of the UWE, then gave a very valuable overview of the co-production industry across Europe. On the subject of co-productions, may I please give a quick plug for "The Hunter" by Rafi Pitts, a German-Iranian co-production on release through Artificial Eye right now.

Roman Gutek, a Polish distributor of European and US films, gave an interesting alternative vision of the future of European film. He saw Europe as having to break down its culture of elitism and embrace newer business models to increase income. He sees US imports as being important 'tentpoles' for European distributors, allowing us to be flexible enough to showcase our own world-renowned cinema.

Finally, one Giorgio Gosetti gave an impassioned plea to remember that film festivals as still the only place that many auteured films may be seen in their natural home, the big screen. A successful festival appearance is the catalyst for a filmmaker's career, just as much as a profit-making film. He asked us to not overestimate the importance of the red carpet at major festivals, and to always remember that they are foremost a place of discovery and passion.