Media Mundus has global ambitions

EU to extend approval for state aid for film

CANNES -- European Union culture ministers launched an initiative here Monday to foster links between Europe's filmmakers and industry professionals across the globe.

The Media Mundus program will feature cultural exchanges where, for example, European directors, producers or distributors are sent to Asia while Asian industry professionals spend time in Europe. The program will include events in local movie theaters such as a Brazilian film festival in a Paris cinema overlapping with a French film festival in Brazil.

"It's a win-win situation between Europe and other parts of the world," EU media commissioner Viviane Reding said. "We have to open our borders and cross over to other continents. We believe in our filmmakers. We love our films."

No details of the program's budget were given, but Reding said the funding would not come from existing budget lines for EU cinema subsidies.

Reding was joined by European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, Festival de Cannes president Gilles Jacob and Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu for the sixth annual Europe Day to discuss pan-European cinema issues.

Reding said the European Commission will extend its approval for state aid to national film production in the 25 member states for the next three years. The ministers also pledged their collective support for anti-piracy measures.