With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for film makers.

If you go to the cinema more than twice a year, you are already doing better than the average European. If so, you must have noticed that American productions make up three quarters of the films on offer. This situation is disconcerting, not least because US-based companies produced ‘just’ 789 feature films in 2016, for instance – compared to 1 740 European productions in the same period…

Child playing at home. Girl holding retro camera. Cinema concept
© Sunny studio / Fotolia

The strong US presence in the EU film market explains why public support is provided to assist European cinema in gaining a competitive edge. Since 2013, state aid rules allow the level of support to film production, distribution and promotion to reach 50 %, and up to 60 %in the case of co-productions funded by more than one EU country. By contrast, there are no limits on aid for script writing or film-project development, or for difficult audiovisual works, as defined by each EU country.

Creative Europe – the EU programme supporting the cultural and creative sectors until 2020 – will dedicate more than €800 million to cinema. In addition, €210 million has been made available since 2016 for a new financial guarantee facility, which should make it easier for small companies to access bank loans.

Helping overcome distribution barriers for European films is one of the goals of the European Parliament’s LUX Prize, awarded annually since 2007. The winner does not receive a direct grant. Instead, the three films in the final stage of the competition are subtitled in the 24 official EU languages and are screened in more than 40 cities and at 18 festivals, allowing many Europeans to see them.

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