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EEC Looking For Stardom In Film Industry

May 18, 1988

CANNES, France (AP) _ The European Economic Community is seeking a bigger role for its struggling film industry.

The 12-nation trading bloc announced Wednesday the formation of a program to promote the industry while shielding it from foreign competitiors, like Hollywood moviemakers.

The program, unveiled during the Cannes Film Festival, is known as ″Media,″ for Measures to Encourage the Development of the Industry of Audiovisual Production.

EEC Cultural Commissioner Carlo Ripa de Meana said the EEC will provide about $6.7 million ″as seed money″ for cooperative audiovisual projects, or about half of the estimated $13.5 million need for the program. The rest of the funding will come from private and public groups, he said.

Ripa de Meana said one project will subsidize distribution of low-budget films if distributors from at least three nations agree to distribute them. He estimated 50 films would be eliglble for such aid this year.

Low-budget films are those made for less than $2.8 million. They comprise 80 percent of all films made in the EEC and ″80 percent of them never cross the frontiers of their country of origin,″ said Ripa de Meana.

The Media program also proposes to help provide business and technical training courses for young European producers, create a group to attract financing and to coordinate the marketing efforts of 200 independent European film makers.

″The aim of this mobilization of intelligence and talent is to respond to a threat which is already highly evident on our screens, both large and small,″ Ripa de Meana told a news conference.

″Sixty percent of the films distributed in the Community come from the United States.″

In addition, he said, more than 70 percent of films and mini-series on European television are imported, with more than half of them coming from the United States.

Ripa de Meana said the number of EEC-produced films has fallen about 40 percent in the last 15 years.

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