Costa-Gavras planning a Euro IMDb

4:00 AM PST 02/12/2008 by Charles Masters, AP

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BERLIN -- Berlin International Film Festival jury president Costa-Gavras, in his role as president of the Cinematheque Francaise, is hatching plans to launch a European counterpart to online movie directory IMDb.

The initiative was presented to the Paris-based Cinematheque's board at a recent meeting and was approved in principle, though details have yet to be hashed out.

"We're studying the feasibility," Costa-Gavras said. "We have formed a committee. I think in six months, when I've finished my next film, we will have decided how to go about it."

The initial feasibility committee is currently all French, but the idea is to widen the project out to other European partner archives. The Greek-born writer-director said the on-line directory would be in at least three languages -- French, English and one other as yet undecided - and the project would be led by the Cinematheque Francaise.

Costa-Gavras said IMDb's listing of international and historic titles is incomplete. "A lot of countries aren't listed on IMDb. My idea is to make something as comprehensive as possible starting with the origins of cinema," he said. "I think we have to find a way to create a major dictionary of directors, actors and producers from the whole world and put it online so there is an accurate tool. It's a project that I hope to find the means to launch."

"The study phase has just begun so there's no more detail yet on how it will work. It's a great initiative but quite hard to put in motion for any institution," said Laurence Plon, director of communication at the Cinematheque Francaise.

The on-line directory is just one of the initiatives being studied at the Cinematheque under the next three years of Costa-Gavras' presidency. "In the coming years we want to little by little digitize all the films we have so we can screen them in other ways outside the Cinematheque itself. We want to combine with other archives for example so the films can travel. It's one of the biggest film archives in the world, there's a fantastic tradition, and it must continue to play its role." The establishment currently screens around 2,400 films a year in its Paris theatres.

Costa-Gavras also plans to have film historians and critics to establish a list of the most important 200-300 films in the history of the medium and screen them on a permanent annual cycle.
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