Upon arriving on Sunday, UNIC participated in two roundtables organised by the European Commission.
The first – Gender and Diversity in the next MEDIA Programme - brought together members of the European Parliament, public authorities and industry representatives to discuss what concrete measures and initiatives could be introduced in the next edition of MEDIA to make it more inclusive and diverse, in close cooperation with the industry and both national and international funds. The open discussion served as a great opportunity for UNIC to share its experience in the UNIC Women’s Cinema Leadership Programme.
This was followed by another discussion – How to go about greening the audiovisual industry – that gathered representatives from the European Parliament, European Commission and experts from across the film value-chain to share thoughts and best practices on how the European audiovisual industry could best apply green strategies to reduce its ecological footprint.
The meeting was opened by Laurence Farreng, Member of the European Parliament (FR, Renew Europe) followed by an open discussion, moderated by Lucia Recalde (Head of Unit, Creative Europe MEDIA). Much like the first discussion, the roundtable provided was a great platform for those present to share thoughts and information on relevant initiatives , such as UNIC’s recently launched Circular Economy Retail Group.
Then, on Monday 24 February we attended the Creative Europe MEDIA European Film Forum – “Greener Pastures: Towards a sustainable audiovisual industry”.
Introducing the event, MEP Laurence Farreng recognised the efforts of young people towards raising awareness on climate change and shared her opinion that cinema’s influence certainly had its place in the debate. Being responsible for the “eco-transition” within a number of programmes, including Creative Europe, she also indicated her interest in continuing the discussion in the aim of exploring best practice when it came to sustainability in the cultural and creative sectors – along with potential incentives for putting such practices in place.
Moderator AC Coppens (CEO & Founder, The Creatives’ Catalysts) was then joined onstage by Matthijs Wouter Knol (Director, Berlinale European Film Market - EFM) and Christine Tröstrum (Project Manager, Berlin International Film Festival), who both shared insights on sustainability initiatives from the EFM and the Berlinale Talents. More specifically, the EFM had recently published a sustainability manifesto, while the Berlinale Talents had launched its “Talent Footprints Jury”. Both initiatives encompassed sustainability in a wholesome sense, spanning the environment, social responsibility, diversity and inclusion, and the importance of entering into dialogue on these issues was emphasised.
A fascinating conversation with Director Luc Jacquet then followed, touching upon making sustainability accessible for audiences, combining entertainment and raising awareness & making good stories that touch people’s hearts and souls. Jacquet, whose previous work included March of the Penguins (2005) also touched upon his personal career path spanning the world of science and film, and shared his view that it would be “out of the question” to continue making nature films without saying that there are issues at hand.
The afternoon’s panel welcomed a broad range of speakers – Philip Gassmann (Green film production expert), UNIC member Arild Kalkvik (CEO KinoNor; Chairman, Film&Kino), Alvaro Longoria (Producer/Director, Morena Films), Lucia Milazzotto (Director, MIA – International Audiovisual Market), Jane Millichip (Chief Commercial Officer, Sky Studios) and Tim Wagendorp (Sustainability Coordinator, Flanders audiovisual Fund) – and delved into next steps and looking forward.
Speakers shared thoughts on a number of areas, including the broad reach of the term “sustainability” itself, the power of storytelling and the value of integrating sustainability into your business. Key takeaways included thinking global, taking a proactive approach and seeking to encourage a love for sustainability in all aspects/levels.
In closing, Lucia Recalde noted that the sense of urgency was “very clear” and that environmental sustainability was now a key priority of both the European Parliament and Commission, alongside other aspects of social responsibility such as gender diversity. Above all, Creative Europe MEDIA was committed to continuing the dialogue as this was “only the beginning of the journey”.