Production company La Petite Reine, which was responsible for the multi-Oscar and BAFTA-winning The Artist (2011), directed by Michel Hazanavicius, has been a frequent beneficiary of supported from the European Commission’s MEDIA programme, and recently received €180,000 to support the development of a portfolio of films.
MEDIA (a French acronym for ‘Mesure pour le Développement de l’Industrie Audiovisuelle’) is the 2007-2013 EU Programme which supports the European film industry and the audiovisual sector. Over the 2014-2020 period, the Commission has proposed a budget of €1.8 billion for Creative Europe; of this, more than €900 million would be allocated to MEDIA.
While The Artist was not among of the list of films that directly benefited from this most recent largesse, it is nevertheless clear that the funding has improved the company’s ability along the entire production chain.
And audience access to The Artist in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania has been facilitated via automatic distribution support mechanisms by MEDIA, which amount to around €17,000.
However, a proposal for the film support mechanisms via selective distribution was not selected for funding because the proposal did not qualify for financing, principally because it targeted distribution in only seven countries, when 15 nominated countries are normally required.
La Petite Reine, along with co-producers FR Jouror Productions and Studio 37 (connected to Telco Orange) has now sold the film to classic art-house distributors, some of which have applied for MEDIA’s Cinema Selective Award.
This year’s Oscar winner The Iron Lady, which won Best Actress for Meryl Streep and was a UK-French co-production, received €1.5 million in distribution support to encourage cinemas to screen the film outside the country where it was made, and The Artist (France-Belgium) received €17,000 for the same purpose.
Seven other EU-backed films were also nominated for Oscars:
· Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) (Tomas Alfredson, UK/France/Germany), nominated for Best Actor, Best Original Score and Best Adapted Screenplay, was awarded €300,000;
· Albert Nobbs (2011) (Rodrigo García, UK/Ireland), nominated for Best Make Up and Best Actress in a supporting role, received €130,000;
· A Cat in Paris (2010) (Alain Gagnol, Jean-Loup Felicioli, France/Belgium/Netherlands/Switzerland), nominated for Best Animation Film, received €122,000;
· Chico and Rita (2010) (Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal, Spain/UK), nominated for Best Animation Film, was awarded €3,000;
· Bullhead (2011) (Michaël R. Roskam, Belgium), nominated for Best Foreign Language film, received €20,000;
· Jane Eyre (2011) (Cary Joji Fukunaga, United Kingdom/USA), nominated for Costume Design, was awarded €450,000, and;
· Pina (2011) (Wim Wenders, Germany/France/UK), nominated for Documentary Feature, received €550,000.
The amount of funding that distributors receive from the MEDIA fund is based on various criteria including previous ticket sales for non-national films. The funding is re-invested in future distribution costs and in helping to off-set risks. Films can also receive pre-production development funding from MEDIA.