The member states of the European Union - together with four other countries (see right column) - contribute funds to the MEDIA programme. The current phase of MEDIA runs to the end of this year, and there is some uncertainty about whether it will continue and it what form.
The rationale for the EU is to fund the film and TV industry is that "the sector is a vector for the expression of European citizenship and culture and plays a primary role in building a European cultural identity, in particular regarding young people". Its goals are not only cultural, but also to underpin the social and economic development of the industry.
The budget for MEDIA was €400 million between 2001 and 2005. The main reason for uncertainty about its future is that some EU member states feel they are putting in more to the fund than they get back.
Support comes in the form of grants to "small to medium sized enterprises" for four main types of activity: development, distribution, promotion and training. MEDIA does not support production - the most capital-intensive and risky phase of the film and TV process. Funding is administered by the European Commission (EC).
Funding for single projects: the applicant must be a European production company. Support is granted for animation, fiction, documentaries and "multimedia". Development grants cover up to 50% of costs. Maximum is grant is €10,000-80,000 depending on the genre.
Funding for a slate of projects: medium-sized companies with previous experience (production and distribution of two animated shorts is accepted as proof of previous experience) can apply for development costs of several projects. SF (slate funding) 1 is a development plan for 3 years covering 3-6 projects; SF2 is for 3 years, 5 to 10 projects. Animation, fiction, documentaries and multimedia are eligible.
On average, the MEDIA grant covers 18% of development costs.
The total budget is €17m.
awarded to animation in 2005:
Development (single projects) €750,000 for 13 applications (33 recevied);
Development (slate funding): SF1 €3.99m, SF2 1st stage €3.77m, stage 2 €2.67m.
For deadlines and application guidelines, go to the MEDIA website: http://europa.eu.int/comm./avpolicy/media/index
your local MEDIA bureau; a list is at
Distribution support is subdivided into theatrical and television.
Automatic support: aimed at non-national European films. Film must be at least 60 minutes long and have been produced in one or more countries participating in MEDIA. Funding is based on admissions for a film of this type distributed the previous year; in other words, the applicant obtains support for a film based on the success of a previous one.
MEDIA covers up to 60% of eligible costs for the project.
support: funding for distribution of European films in other EU countries.
The scheme also aims to encourage distributors to invest more in promotion.
It is applicable to theatrical distribution companies registered in EU member state or MEDIA country and owned by nationals of these countries.
The film must be at least 60 minutes long and have been produced in one or more countries participating in MEDIA. Films with a budget of more than €25m are not eligible.
Value: subsidy for dubbing and subtitling up is worth up to €40,000; up to 50% of eligible costs for distribution campaign, subject to a ceiling per film (€150,000).
Budget for 2006: €12m.
Support to sales agents: offers support to sales agents based on past success, which may then be reinvested in European films.
The applicant must be a European company acting as an intermediary for a producer. The company must be registered in a MEDIA programme country. MEDIA support covers up to 50% of eligible costs.
Support to exhibitors: scheme aims to encourage exhibition of European films, creation of networks of cinemas. Funding covers up to 50% of eligible costs and applies to works more than 60 minutes duration. Project must be majority funded by companies established in MEDIA countries, and with significant participation by professionals in MEDIA countries.
Budget: €14m over two years (2005 and 2006).
Funding is aimed at European companies, with the objective of encouraging co-operation between broadcasters and independent producers. Projects should ideally be co-productions between at least two broadcasters from different language zones.
up to 12.5% of the production budget for animated films, which must
be at least 25 minutes in duration. Maximum support per project is €500,000.
The budget for 2005 was €8.5m.
Encouraging promotion and circulation of European audiovisual and cinematic works at festivals and markets in Europe and around the world. Events supported include Cartoon Movie and funding has also been given to the Film File Europe and Cineuropa websites. The budget was €8.5m in 2005; support is normally limited to 50% of total costs.
amount of funding (€59.4m between 2001 and 2006) has been allocated
to funding vocational training for the film and TV industry. Support
is aimed mainly at improving: the application of new technologies for
production and distribution; economic and financial management; script-writing
techniques. MEDIA funds up to 50% of total eligible costs (or 60% in
the case of countries with a less developed audiovisual industry).
MEDIA New Talent
This scheme applies to companies which have already received MEDIA Training support. Examples of eligible projects (given by the EC) are: fresh draft of a script, production of animation pilot, creation of prototype for multimedia project, production of scenes from a film script in development, setting up of a financial package.
MEDIA New Talent is open to independent production companies which have produced at least one work (or two animation shorts) in the two years prior to the submission of the application. The project must have been subject of MEDIA Training support in the previous three years. No more than one application may be made per company.
Animation projects for film or TV must be no less than 13 minutes in duration.
There is an award for feature film scripts by screenwriters aged under 35, presented at the Cannes film festival each year.
Budget: €775,000 awarded in 2005 (but no animation projects). It is expected to be the same amount in 2006.