EU film-makers can keep rolling on public funds

To promote European productions and counter the flood of US-made films, the European Commission has extended rules allowing member states to give film-makers public money.


AFP - The European Commission extended on Wednesday rules allowing member states to support film-makers with public money.

With current arrangements due to expire at the end of the year, the European Union's executive arm decided to extend the rules until the end of 2012.

"For European creators to express themselves, they need a stable environment for the film industry," EU Media Commissioner Viviane Reding said in a statement.

"This is why we are reconfirming today the commission's current approach to national aid to cinema for another three years," she added.

Led by France, many member states have long sought to hold back a flood of mostly US-made films, which are often highly popular with the European public, by promoting European productions with subsidies.

The commission said that across the 27-nation European Union, member states spend about 1.6 billion euros (2.1 billion dollars) in support of films each year.

Under rules dating from 2001, member states can finance up to 50 percent of a film's budget as long as the production is deemed to be a "cultural product".

More money can be provided if the film is considered "difficult" or is made on a low budget.

A member state can also require a film company to spend 80 percent of a movie's budget in its territory if the enterprise wants to receive public subsidies.

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