Lithuania and Eight EU Member States Call for Protection of European Film Festivals


    VILNIUS: Lithuania’s Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys has teamed up with his counterparts from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Poland, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia to appeal to European Union’s commissioners over the financing of individual film festivals, which may be left without funding.

    The appeal refers to a plan of the European Commission to base the overall budget of the Creative Europe programme 2021-2027 on new implementation measures, under which individual film festivals in Europe would only be financed through film festival networks and would not be able to make individual funding applications for projects administered by the European Commission’s Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.

    “During the pandemic the film sector has found itself in a difficult situation across Europe. We hope that the European Commission will take into account a joint statement sent by ministers of culture of European Union’s countries, will reassess all circumstances and will allay the concerns of film industry representatives”, Lithuania’s Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys said in a statement. 

    Representatives of the Scanorama and Kino Pavasaris film festivals had already appealed to the Commission over this situation, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Culture of Lithuania.

    „When film festivals heard about European Commission‘s plans to stop supporting European film festivals individually and to implement the network model, they approached us with their concerns that these changes were too rapid and drastic. Having in mind that the film festival network model is not that common in the industry, festivals doubt that this would increase European added-value, which individual festivals already achieve through their programming, audience and industry events. Festivals highlighted that the network model would generate a considerable amount of administrative work, a need for more human resources and consequently more costs, which are necessary for coordination but benefit neither the programme nor the audience. They also expressed concerns that many festivals might be deprived of the funding, as very few festival networks exist now and to create them would take a long time, which would not be compatible with the upcoming deadline“, representatives of the Lithuanian Film Centre told FNE.