Of course there had to be a meeting in Zagreb about the EU supported programme ”Creative Europe”, that runs from 2014 till 2020 and has two sub-programmes: MEDIA and Culture. The MEDIA Desk Croatia, Martina Petrovic, hosted the meeting in a building in the street next to the Kaptol Center, the location of the five cinemas, where the ZagrebDox films are screened. The building needs restoration but that is expensive so for the moment the authorities have invited the Croatian Audiovisual Center, ZagrebDox/Factum (the company of Nenad Puhovski, director of the festival), HulaHop (company of Dana Budisavljevic) and other companies and festivals to have their address there. This forms a kind of Film House.
Paul Pauwels (PP), director of EDN, that now has an office in Copenhagen and in Brussels, was well prepared in his excellent presentation of the new Creative Europe, having read the 380 (!) pages of a programme, which – said PP – will make it more difficult for “all of us”. There are many changes made from the previous MEDIA Programme. For instance, said PP, the applicants for development support will now be able to get a lumb sum of 25.000€ if you can raise the other 25.000€, which can no longer include any in-kind contribution. The latter is a radical change.
In Eastern European countries that will be pretty difficult, said Hrvoje Hribar, Head of the Croatian Audiovisual Center, who told the participants that an Eastern European Alliance has been set up to discuss Creative Europe and to come up with suggestions for amendments. PP stressed several times that the people from Creative Europe to him, when he has met them in Brussels, have stated that they consider 2014 as a test year and that he had found a
willingness/openness to listen in the corridors in Brussels. OK, so “let’s use this year to communicate with them”, said Hrvoje Hribar. PP added that he found it a good idea to contact the Creative Europe people directly with questions as it was his impression that there are still loads of unsolved matters that MEDIA Desk representatives have tried to get answers to, without result.
From my point of view, having been director of EDN 1996-2005, where we succeeded to start workshops in South of Europe plus arrange lots of other MEDIA supported events for the members, with quite some success, as has been most of the documentary festivals and markets that came to existence during the MEDIA years… it is totally stupid to change something that worked so well as MEDIA did. Why? And as said by PP, the new programme seems to stress the commercial/the industry aspect more than before, where the cultural/creative aspect had (also) been in the foreground. In times of financial crisis Creative Europe seems to focus on support for bigger companies! What an arrogance!
It is my opinion that this policy will not survive. It will for sure be changed, it has to if EU wants to live up to its obligations to support the smaller and poorer countries – take the Eastern European countries, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal… Many, many countries with a low audiovisual capacity and with a lot of talent!
Lots of lobbying to be done on the basis of facts and figures. For sure EDN with its Brussels-based director Paul Pauwels will be able to play the role of bringing forward the necessary proposals for change.
Photo from “Gangster of Love” by Nebojsja Slijepcevic, Croatian documentary comedy, in cinemas in Zagreb right now with around 5000 tickets sold!