Europe celebrated 20 years of the Media programme at Cannes. Since 1981, the Media programme has invested over €1.78 billion in the European media, including support for the funding of 12 Palmes d’or. The European Commissioner for Culture, Androulla Vassiliou, yesterday walked up the red carpet for The Artist by Michel Hazanavicius, accompanied by the French Minister for Culture and Communication, Frédéric Mitterrand, and 20 European directors, including Theo Angelopoulos, Jaco Van Dormael, Costa-Gavras, Michael Radford, Radu Mihaileanu and Paolo Sorrentino. The “Artist”,is a black-and-white film by French director Michel Hazanavicius set in 1920s Hollywood. It tells the story of the contrasting fortunes of a young actress (Bérénice Bejo) and a silent movie star (Jean Dujardin). The advent of the ‘talkies’ spells stardom for her – and the death knell for his career. Commissioner Vassiliou presented the 2011 MEDIA European Talent Prize for the best film project to female scriptwriters Virág Zomborácz and Hanna Sköld. She also meet the team behind “17 filles” by Delphine and Muriel Coulin, which is showing as part of the “Semaine de la Critique” (critics’ week) selection. Based on a true story, the film is about a group of high school girls who decide to get pregnant at the same time. These same directors took part in a meeting to outline the future of the Media programme. At a conference this afternoon, it will be the turn of industry professionals to have their say on the programme’s future, with a panel discussion on the question of “How to involve the public and grow demand?” The Commission organised a debate with national and regional film funds on new financial instruments to support the film industry Media was created in January 1991, at a time when European cinema was losing market share. The clearly stated aim was to encourage the development of a European media sector. In 2000, the programme, which began exclusively as an EU project, was opened up to non-member countries (Switzerland, Iceland Liechtenstein, Norway and Croatia) and now covers 32 countries. Since its creation, the Media programme has invested €1.78 billion in the European cinema and broadcasting industry.. The Media programme includes a series of schemes to encourage the production, distribution and promotion of European works. For example, it supports schools with a European or international dimension and encourages projects linking several European countries. It also helps distributors of European films outside their country of origin, and cinemas which screen films from other European countries. It supports 90 festivals in Europe each year and helps artistic works and professionals alike to access the major markets. The support of the Media programme has become indispensable for professionals in the sector, witness the strong presence of works supported by Media at this 64th Festival de Cannes: 20 films, including 8 competitors for the Palme d’or.

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