Festival International du Film d'Amiens 2016
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ACP cinemas

The first ACP cinema support programme: a positive result

The first European Commission support programme (2000-2006) operated with an overall assistance budget of 6 million euro. It worked through calls for proposals. The support programme guaranteed transparency, neutrality and the professionalism of choices made, as well as improving the monitoring of assisted productions. Its management was supported by a Technical Assistance Desk of external experts. Four calls took place. The programme supported fiction and animation films (feature length/medium/short), feature length documentaries (of at least 52 minutes, excluding reports and magazines for television and corporate or institutional films) and television films, fiction or animation series and animation films. In order to be eligible for production assistance, projects had to be made by directors who are from one of the ACP countries.

Since the support programme’s creation, nearly 300 projects have been submitted. 55 projects were supported. Some 47 films received production assistance totalling 4,6 millions euro and 8 received promotion/distribution assistance, worth about 400 000 euro. Alongside this, about 15 films and 20 cinemas were supported through Africa Cinemas, to which the Commission allocated a budget of 600 000 euro.

The second support programme: towards greater professionalisation

The European Commission has organised an evaluation of the first support programme which has enabled it to better focus the setup of the second support programme for ACP cinema and audiovisual industries, working closely with the Secretariat of the ACP Group of States. It should be launched in mid-2006 and will be managed by the secretariat of the ACP Group of States. Emphasis will be placed on the professionalisation of the ACP cinematographic and audiovisual industries, notably by means of assistance to train authors, producers and technicians. Calls for proposals will be published under this programme, which will include support to cinematographic and television production assistance, to distribution/promotion of ACP productions and training. This programme should have a budget of around 6.5 million euro.

Other European assistance

Between 1992 and 2003, 112 ACP cinematographic and audiovisual productions were supported through the National and Regional Indicative Programmes (NIP, RIP), the all ACP countries fund and the framework programme for culture in Mali. Since 2003, funding of cinematographic and audiovisual productions is only possible within cultural framework programmes supported through the NIP, RIP or the all ACP countries fund. Three new framework programmes for culture which include cinema and audiovisual assistance will start in 2005 in Mali, Burkina Faso and Senegal.

Useful contacts

- Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States
Secretariat of the ACP Group of States
Political and Human Development Departement
Av. Georges Henri 451
B-1200 Brussels, Belgium
Tel. +32 2 743 06 00
Fax +32 2 735 55 73
E-mail : info acp.int
Web site (for calls etc.) :
www.acp.int

- European Commission
Unit EuropeAid/C/4
B-1049 Brussels, Belgium
Contact : Mr. Johannes Gehringer
Tel. +32 2 296 00 05 / Fax +32 2 299 49 47
E-mail : johannes.gehringer ec.europa.eu
Info: www.filmfestamiens.org/cinemasacp/index.html
Web site for the publication of calls: www.europa.eu.int/europeaid

the European Union and the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States— supporting ACP filmmakers

From roots to exile, from war to peace...

The European Union is delighted with the latest boom in ACP filmmaking, following the strengthening of its support, but also the nature of the works supported, which contribute to changing mentalities. This development is apparent in the increased number of works, the arrival of new directors and probably also a greater artistic diversity. Thus whilst very personal styles are being asserted, the range of issues and themes covered seems to be broadening. ACP cinema is currently anchored in reality and the majority of films are underpinned by issues which go far beyond their primary objectives of entertainment, to work towards greater awareness among individuals. Since the earliest days of African cinema, Ousmane Sembene (Borom Sarett, la Noire de...) was quick to present the difficulties that are affecting Africa. The acclaim he received from the critics and the public for his latest work, Moolaadé, notably at the Cannes film festival in May 2004, is proof, if that were necessary, that the albeit bitter description of African society is still a successful formula. By dealing coldly and candidly about excision, Ousmane Sembene, «the doyen», has become the voice of this «reality cinema». He has now been joined by the new generations. By appealing to their imaginations or their sense of description, these directors are presenting ACP countries as seen by them: cruel and poetic. Some, perhaps the most talented, have managed to find their audience in festivals as well as in cinemas throughout Europe and in the ACP countries. Filmmakers such as Abderrahmane Sissako, Ramadan Suleiman, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Newton I. Aduaka, Alain Gomis, Idrissou Mora Kpai and Flora Gomes are innovating both in the form and the content, whilst revealing their profound attachment to their roots. Their films are an integral part of present-day Africa, an Africa which is advancing rapidly, oriented towards the outside world but also prey to all the difficulties of a poor continent with interethnic struggles.

Many directors have left their country of origin and are living between two continents. This duality and particular relationship to their country of origin is revealed in their films. They speak of men and women who are leaving or are in exile (Heremakono, Paris selon Moussa, Arlit) and of the loss or rediscovery of family ties experienced by the traveller (Abouna, Si Gueriki); episodes of life which are often painful, and in so doing they produce crucial work of collective memory (Zulu Love Letter, Waiting for an Angel, Camboio da Canhoca, Lumumba, le Malentendu colonial); the burden of traditions, thereby contributing to the major debates of the societies which organise their countries (Sia le rêve du python, Siraba la grande voie, Moolaadé); of war and its political and human upheavals (la Nuit de la vérité, Na Cidade Vazia, O heroi, Tasuma), but also reconciliation (The Wooden Camera). Then again, like all cinema, ACP cinema also speaks of emotions, recounting the first throes of love (Un amour d’enfant), betrayal (Ndeyssan le prix du pardon, Madame Brouette), madness (Kabala), etc. In spite of a certain poetry and apart from a few comedies (Voyage à Ouaga, Max and Mona, Moi et mon Blanc), this cinema is rarely superficial. It is often a committed cinema, which is seeking new points of reference, as well as new masters... It is a cinema which wants to present the power of ACP identities but also the confusion of these filmmakers. Whilst it is still developing and changing, and in spite of certain weaknesses, it is certainly essential - thus it is essential to support it - as it enables an entire continent to emerge from the sidelines and a generation of artists to express themselves and therefore exist. Finally, it is worth mentioning that cinema is probably one of the most outstanding elements of ACP heritage which has been handed down to us from the 20th century.

The three areas of European Union assistance

Assistance for production

Assistance for distribution/promotion
Through its support programme, the European Commission has assisted the distribution/promotion of 8 films. But above all, in July 2003, it set up Africa Cinemas, an aid mechanism for cinema exhibitors and distributors in Sub-Saharan Africa, in cooperation with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Organisation of French-speaking countries. This mechanism’s initial budget was 1 800 000 euro.

In addition to this, the Commission supported cinematographic events in ACP countries (the Fespaco festivals in Ouagadougou and the Short Film Festival in Abidjan) and in Europe (including the African Film Festival in Milan, the African section of the Francophone Film Festival in Namur and the Commonwealth Film Festival). Further, specific initiatives have also been supported, such as Cinéma numérique ambulant (CNA) which diffuses films in rural areas on DVD in Benin, Niger and Mali. Alongside this, since 2003, the Commission has conducted an ACP cinema promotion campaign at the Film Market in Cannes, notably by organising the screening of supported films.

Support for professionalisation
The professionalisation of cultural industries and the cinematographic and audiovisual industries in particular has gradually become one of the essential aspects of development for the Commission. This is why it took part in a training programme for audiovisual technicians, which is run by the Cirtef (Conseil international des radios-télévisions d’expression française). Likewise, one of the objectives of Africa Cinemas is to develop the skills of African professionals by integrating them into international networks of exhibitors and distributors.

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