Over 250 guests attended the event in Helsinki, including policy makers as well as film and cinema professionals, to listen to sessions on a broad range of topics including changing markets & transparency, diversity & gender balance, the promotion of European cultures and alliances and partnership to boost competitiveness.
UNIC’s very own Laura Houlgatte was part of a panel on Core European values: what about diversity and gender balance?, a mostly content-focused session in which all panelists agreed that fighting against gender imbalance was very much a priority both on- and off-screen.
Alongside a discussion on how stories should be told, the important role of film funds in ensuring that more diverse film crews and content were supported was also raised and, on the whole, it was clear that such an approach would result in more engaged audiences and success at the box office.
Earlier in the conference, Giuseppe Abbamonte (Director of DG CONNECT, European Commission) described the audiovisual sector as going through a “transitional period” due to the multiplication of platforms and algorithms. He added that data was the asset to unlock new markets and that platforms had a huge competitive edge in this regard, while also pointing to the importance of copyright. Alongside mentioning the need to close the gap between the creative and technology sectors, Abbamonte touched upon the Creative Europe MEDIA Programme – the budgetary negotiations of which would be starting soon - and a future focus on greater levels of cooperation.
From the Presidency’s side, Finnish Minister of Science & Culture Hanna Kosonen opened the event and highlighted the “huge potential” of the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) when it came to generating innovation, wealth and jobs, alongside the need for the EU to enhance cultural diversity and business while protecting its talents. Minister Kosonen also stressed that the success of the Digital Single Market (DSM) and the CCIs depended on each other and that the development of a solid copyright system would be a “natural step” alongside a need for fair competition between all stakeholders.
In closing, Finnish Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education and Culture Anita Lehikoinen also stressed that Europe needed efficient standards and rules to accelerate the movement of creation, a framework protecting copyright, rightsholders and assets in local and independent hands, as well as financing from companies who show content and who should contribute to the market. Permanent Secretary Lehikoinen also added that media literacy was key and that competitiveness and social cohesion must go hand in hand.
We’d like to thank the Finnish Presidency for a fantastic two days and very much look forward to the next event!