European media funding


New questions on European media funding

In our Topic article in September 2009 on the European MEDIA funding programme, we also mentioned support for film festivals. We referred there to MEDIA regulations that favour European films – rules by which, for example, festivals with an international orientation are only eligible for a grant if they devote less than 30% of their programming to films from outside Europe.

An attentive reader has now alerted us to recent changes in the funding guidelines that may in particular put short film festivals at a disadvantage.

In the Call for Proposals 18/2007 for festivals taking place from 1 May 2008 to 30 April 2009, the definition of audiovisual festivals eligible for funding expressly mentioned events whose programming includes “˜short length films’.

The list of festivals sponsored according to those guidelines confirms this statement, as the following short film festivals were among the grant recipients: Circuito Off (Venice), Krakow Film Festival, Uppsala International Short Film Festival, Internationales Kurzfilmfestival Hamburg, Tampere Film Festival, Interfilm (Berlin), Festival du Court métrage (Brussels) and the Filmfest Dresden.

The phrase “˜short length film’ is however omitted from the list of events eligible for promotion in the newer regulations published since 2008! And in the latest “Guidelines for the Submission of Proposals to Obtain Financial Support” for audiovisual festivals, there is yet another small, yet possibly far-reaching change in how the promotion criteria are formulated. This modification likewise appears in Paragraph 5.3, which expressly defines non-eligible projects.

As previously, festivals devoted primarily to commercial films, music videos or video games are deemed ineligible for support. In the “Call for Proposals 23/2009″ for festivals taking place from May 2010 to April 2011, this list of ineligible forms of film was extended once again. Added were – in addition to mobile phone films – “˜non-narrative artistic works’!

Perhaps we would do better not to ask what is meant by non-narrative artistic works – in the hope that the authors had something else in mind when drafting this rule. However, a reader with any knowledge at all of film or film history would have to assume that this guideline is by all means directed at documentaries as well as nearly all experimental films and large portions of media and video art. This would exclude festivals devoted to the overwhelming majority of contemporary film and media production. Is this truly what is meant?

How the award criteria stated elsewhere in the document, such as “the innovative aspect of actions” or “diversity of genre” are supposed to be met under such restrictions is a mystery.

The first award round under this new set of regulations ends 27 November 2009 for festivals taking place from 1 May to 31 October 2010. The next deadline, for the subsequent period, is 30 April 2011. So we should be finding out more soon!


Link to the funding information:

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