The European Union established its own funding program to support the audio-visual industry in Europe. The program, MEDIA, was set up in 2007 (until 2013) with a total budget of 755 million Euros. Clear priority is given to the sales, distribution and promotion of European films outside of their country of origin. MEDIA does not support the actual production phase, but rather the areas prior to or subsequent to a film’s production, i.e. the distribution and sales or the promotion of European movies outside their country of origin.

The MEDIA program currently has 32 member countries. Independent production companies, distribution and sales companies, training and promotion initiatives, festivals, and companies involved with new technology may apply for support. The applicant must have a registered office in one of the MEDIA member states and citizens from the MEDIA members must hold the majority of the company. Individuals are not eligible.

MEDIA will finance up to 50% of the costs of an activity, the remaining 50% must be financed by the applicant. If the application originates from a country with a particularly small production capacity or if the activity mirrors the diversity of European culture in a special way, support of up to 60% of the total costs can be issued in exceptional cases. Funding is normally issued in the form of a grant.

Applications for support may be submitted by the aforementioned organizations in accordance with specific calls for entries. The EU commission regularly publishes such calls for entries (including guidelines and application forms) for all areas of support. All calls for entries and further information about the MEDIA program are available from the websites and offices of the MEDIA Desk country members.

In 2011 a new program will be launched: MEDIA Mundus. With a budget of some 15 million Euros and a time span of three years, the MEDIA Mundus program will strengthen the cooperation with film industries outside of Europe.

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