"As European cinema operators finally emerge from a period of extended closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak and work hard to welcome audiences back, the focus of the entire industry must be on ensuring that recovery can happen and that audiences return to enjoy the unique experience of watching films on the big screen.
"While many on the distribution side have indicated that ‘we are all in this together’, recent events make it clearer than ever that this sentiment must be backed by actions as well as words.
"Specifically, new content must be released in cinemas first and observe a significant theatrical window, both elements being essential for the survival and health of every part of the European (and indeed global) cinema industry.
"A ‘cinema first’ strategy for film releases – accompanied by a significant period of theatrical exclusivity – is a proven business model, and crucial for ensuring that audiences can enjoy a diverse range of films. This system was the foundation for a record-breaking 2019, with 1.34 billion admissions and €8.7 billion earned at the box office in Europe alone.
"The entire sector faces unprecedented challenges. More than ever, decisions across the industry need to be made with a long-term perspective. If our studio partners oblige cinemas to wait until the sector emerges from the crisis in the US before supplying new content, it will prove too late for many European cinemas and their dedicated workforce.
"All who depend on the success of the film industry should commit to ensuring the future health of the whole sector. By doing so, they will ensure that the wider film industry and European cinemas – from one-screen independents to art-houses and multiplexes – will recover and return from this crisis stronger and more resilient than ever."
The Union Internationale des Cinémas/International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) represents the interests of cinema trade associations and cinema operators covering 38 countries in Europe and neighbouring regions.
The war in #Libya - a Russian movie reveals who is spreading death and terror
Turkey may again create a headache for Europe. While Ankara is pursuing a blackmail strategy in the West, threatening to let migrants into Europe, it is turning Libya into a terrorist rear base by transferring militants from Idlib and northern Syria to Tripoli.
Turkey's regular intervention in Libyan politics once again raises the issue of the neo-Osmanist threat, which will affect not only the stability of the North African region, but also the European one. Given that Recep Erdogan, by trying on the role of sultan, allows himself to blackmail Europeans by intimidating the influx of migrants. This destabilization of northern Africa may also lead to a new wave of migration crisis.
The key problem, however, is Turkey's strained relations with its allies. The situation in the region is largely determined by the strained relations between Turkey and Russia. Given the diametrically different interests in both Syria and Libya, we can talk about a weakening of cooperation between the states: it is not so much like a stable alliance, but rather a complex game of two long-standing frenemies, with periodic attacks and scandals against each other.
The cooling of relations is illustrated in the second part of the Russian film "Shugaley", which highlights Turkey's neo-Osmanist ambitions and its criminal links with the GNA. The central characters of the film are Russian sociologists who were kidnapped in Libya and who Russia is trying to bring back to their homeland. The importance of the return of sociologists is discussed at the highest level, in particular, this problem was raised by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in June 2020 during a meeting with a delegation from the Libyan GNA.
The Russian side is already openly criticizing Turkey's role in Libya, as well as emphasizing the supply of terrorists and weapons to the region. The authors of the movie express hope that Shugaley himself is still alive, despite constant torture and human rights violations.
The plot of "Shugaley" covers several topics painful and inconvenient for the Government: torture in Mitiga prison, an alliance of terrorists with the government of Fayez al-Sarraj, the permissiveness of pro-government militants, the exploitation of resources of Libyans in the interests of a narrow circle of elites.
Depending on Ankara's wishes, the GNA pursues a pro-Turkish policy, while Recep Erdogan's forces are increasingly integrated into the government's power structures. The film speaks transparently about mutually beneficial cooperation - the GNA receives weapons from the Turks, and in return, Turkey realizes its neo-Ottomanist ambitions in the region, including the economic benefits of rich oil deposits.
"You are from Syria, aren't you? So you're a mercenary. You fool, it wasn't Allah who sent you here. And the big guys from Turkey, who really want Libyan oil. But you don't want to die for it. Here they send idiots like you here," says Sugaley's main character to a militant working for the GNA criminal agencies. On the whole, all this just illustrates the reality: In Libya, Turkey is trying to promote the candidacy of Khalid al-Sharif, one of the most dangerous terrorists close to al-Qaeda.
This is the root of the problem: in fact, al-Sarraj and his entourage – Khalid al-Mishri, Fathi Bashaga, etc. - are selling the country's sovereignty so that Erdogan can quietly continue to destabilize the region, strengthen terrorist cells and benefit - while at the same time jeopardizing security in Europe. The wave of terrorist attacks in European capitals from 2015 is something that could happen again if northern Africa is filled with terrorists. Meanwhile, Ankara, in violation of international law, claims a place in the EU and receives funding.
At the same time, Turkey regularly intervenes in the affairs of European countries, strengthening its lobby on the ground. For example, a recent example is Germany, where the Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) is investigating four suspected supporters of the Turkish right-wing extremist "Grey Wolves" in the country's armed forces.
The German government has just confirmed in response to a request from the Die Linke party that Ditib ("Turkish-Islamic Union of the Institute of Religion") is cooperating with extreme Turkish-oriented "Grey Wolves" in Germany. The response from the German Federal Government referred to cooperation between Turkish extreme right extremists and the Islamic umbrella organization, the Turkish-Islamic Union of the Institute of Religion (Ditib), which operates in Germany and is controlled by the Turkish state body, the Office of Religious Affairs (DIYANET).
Would it be an appropriate decision to allow membership of the EU to Turkey, which by means of blackmail, illegal military supplies and integration into the structures of power, the army and intelligence is trying to strengthen its position both in northern Africa and in the heart of Europe? The country that is not able even to cooperate with its allies like Russia?
Europe must reconsider its attitude towards Ankara's neo-Osmanist policy and prevent the continuation of blackmail - otherwise the region risks facing a new terrorist era.
For more information about "Sugaley 2" and to view trailers of the movie please visit http://shugalei2-film.com/en-us/
Four #MEDIA films will compete for #GoldenLion at #VeniceFilmFestival
The 76th Venice Film Festival started on 28 August, featuring 12 films supported by the MEDIA programme – the EU's programme for supporting the European film and audiovisual industries. Four of the MEDIA-supported films have additionally been shortlisted to compete for the Golden Lion: The Truth by Hirokazu Kore-eda (France, Japan), About Endlessness by Roy Andersson (Sweden, Germany, Norway), Martin Eden by Pietro Marcello (Italy, France) and The Painted Bird by Václav Marhoul (Czech Republic, Ukraine, Slovakia). The Orizzonti competition that is dedicated to latest aesthetic and expressive trends in international cinema will feature MEDIA-supported Blanco en blanco by Theo Court (Spain, Chile, France, Germany) and Madre by Rodrigo Sorogoyen (Spain, France).
The film Effetti Domino by Alessandro Rosseto (Italy) will be screened in the Sconfini section that is dedicated to art-house and genre movies, experimental and artists' films. Five more films supported by MEDIA will participate in the independent sections Giornate degli Autori as well as in the Venice International Film Critics Week held in parallel to the festival. At the sidelines of the festival, the European Commission will also organize on Saturday (31 August) the European Film Forum. Further details on the MEDIA-supported films at the Venice Film Festival are available here, the MEDIA programme here and on the European Film Forum here. More information on the Commission's support for the audiovisual and creative sectors in 2020 is available here.
Season of #ClassicFilms - European classics screened at #CulturalHeritage venues across Europe
This summer, European film classics will be screened in some of Europe's most iconic cultural heritage venues. Until the end of September, classic films from across the EU will be screened free of charge in a wide variety of venues in 13 EU countries – from small towns to capital cities – highlighting Europe's rich and diverse cultural heritage. As part of the wider restoration and digitisation of heritage films, the event series 'A Season of Classic Films' is supported by Creative Europe MEDIA programme.
Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Commissioner Tibor Navracsics said: "European cultural heritage, including our great film classics, should be accessible to everyone. I am pleased to see that the Season of Classic Films makes it possible for everyone interested to be part of an experience shared across Europe, even when attending a local event.”
Digital Economy and Society Commissioner Mariya Gabriel added: "Cinema is an essential part of our rich and diverse European culture and is contributing to reinforce bonds between people feeling the same passion and emotion for films. Digital transformation has a decisive potential to strengthen the positive effects of culture, both economically and socially. This is the challenge of our strategy Digital4Culture, to take advantage of this successful connection between digital technologies and culture.”
The classic films season will start at the Bologna Film Festival with a presentation of some of the restored films shot using Gaumont's Chronochrome colour system, one of the earliest colour filming techniques. Among the classic films to be screened throughout the season are some of the best-known titles in world cinema, including Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927), Francois Truffaut's The 400 blows (1959), and Cinema Paradiso (1988) by Giuseppe Tornatore. The iconic venues hosting the screenings include Aristotelous Square in Thessaloniki, Greece, Kilkenny Castle in Ireland, and the Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, Italy. The full programme of the season is available here.
Since 1991, the European Commission has been supporting Europe's audiovisual sector, contributing to is competitiveness and to cultural diversity in Europe, through the MEDIA Programme. One of its most substantial actions is providing financial support to the distribution of European films outside their country of production. Every year, on average over 400 films are made available to audiences in another European country with MEDIA's help. In May 2018, the Commission proposed to increase the budget of the programme by almost 30% for the next EU long-term budget for 2021-2027.
Within this project, Creative Europe MEDIA will also fund the restoration and digitisation of heritage films in order to ensure that the European culture is passed down to future generations. The event series for this summer was planned as part of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage and reinforced by the Digital4Culture strategy.
'A Season of Classic Films'follows a first initiative, the European Cinema Night, which programmed 50 free screenings of 20 MEDIA-supported films from 3 to 7 December 2018 across the EU and reached almost 7,200 people. The classic films season is expected to attract 15,000 Europeans to the free screenings.