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EU to spend €755 mln on movie subsidies through 2013

The European Union said it will spend €755 mmn ($979 mln) over the next seven years to subsidize European movies, increasing its budget for supporting the film industry by two-thirds.

The new package of subsidies, presented yesterday at the Berlin International Film Festival, compares with €454 million spent by the EU from 2001 through 2006. Half of European films watched in cinemas are made with EU financial help, the European Commission said today on its Web site. „Every year, 300 new European film projects are funded by the European Commission,” the EU's executive branch said. Two-thirds of the subsidies will be spent on the „clear priority” of ensuring more Europeans get to see films from other EU countries, the commission said. Eight movies that received EU funding, including „La Mome,” a film about French singer Edith Piaf, and „Don't Touch The Axe,” set amid the Spanish restoration and based on a short story by French writer Honore de Balzac, are short-listed to win prizes at the Berlin festival this week, the statement said.
Previous subsidy packages have „generated” about €6 in private investment for every 1 euro of EU money, according to statistics provided in the commission statement. The rising European budget for movie subsidies, designed to protect the cultural diversity of a multilingual continent, contrasts with the US, the world's most prolific producer of big-budget movies, where film-making generally isn't backed with public funds. (Bloomberg)