On June 10, 2008, the European Commission announced that it was currently exploring the benefits of expanding the EU’s MEDIA program—which was created in 1991 to promote the development and the distribution of European films across borders—with a new MEDIA MUNDUS program to strengthen cultural and commercial relations between Europe’s film industry and film-makers of non-European countries. According to the press release, this could help audiovisual professionals from Europe and equivalent film-makers outside the EU to reciprocally improve their competitiveness by better exploiting the potential for joint projects such as the development, distribution, and promotion of audiovisual works. The Commission indicates that such a MEDIA MUNDUS program would follow the model of the ERASMUS MUNDUS student exchange program that had been added in 2001 to the existing ERASMUS program in order to make exchanges between European universities and universities in non-European countries possible.
An online public consultation on the main features and priorities of a possible MEDIA MUNDUS program is open until June 15, 2008, and a public hearing will be held in Brussels on June 25.
“The cultural diversity of Europe’s cinema and the attractiveness of our MEDIA program have led to repeated requests from film-makers from South America, Asia, Russia and other continents to build bridges with Europe’s audiovisual markets in order to mutually boost their potential. In the same way that MEDIA pushes for fully exploiting the opportunity of Europe’s single market, a MEDIA MUNDUS program would facilitate the circulation of our films worldwide and vice versa the distribution in Europe of films from partner countries all over the world. This means more choice for citizens and more culturally diverse films—all in the spirit of the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity,” said EU Media Commissioner Viviane Reding.
The public consultation now launched by the Commission on a possible MEDIA MUNDUS program seeks feedback from stakeholders on the idea of complementing the MEDIA program for the promotion, development, and distribution of European films (annual budget around €100 million) with a new international program. Stakeholders are being consulted on specific issues, including
On the basis of public input, the Commission will decide before the end of 2008 about a possible MEDIA MUNDUS program proposal. The Commission press release states that this idea found strong support among the culture ministers attending Europe Day 2008 during the Cannes Film Festival on May 19.
For more information, please consult the relevant pages on the MEDIA program website.