South African producers who work with European co-production partners might be interested to learn that according to a new report from the European Audiovisual Observatory, an estimated 2.1 billion euros flowed to the film and television sector from public funding bodies based in Europe in 2009.
Total spend by these funds grew almost without interruption from 1998 onwards but stagnated in 2009 as fund income came under pressure.
Growth in spend was paralleled by rapid expansion in the number of funds – from 208 in 2004 to 280 in 2009, mainly through the creation of regional funds.
Public authorities and television are the main sources of finance for funding bodies, though funds seek actively to broaden their income base.
Over two-thirds of all spending in 2009 went to production (all phases) with promotion an area of increasing importance.
The report points out that film funding in Europe is a dynamic area with a total of 280 funds operating at various administrative levels in 2009. This represented 72 more funds than were identified in 2004.
All but four European countries have a national film fund, but the majority of funds are in fact administered at the sub-national (community, regional and municipal) level. These funds are also the most dynamic in terms of fund creation – 57 new regional funds came on stream during the years 2004 to 2009. France, Italy, Norway and Poland were all particularly active in this respect and the dynamic carried on over into 2010 and 2011 in Italy and Poland. A reversal of this trend can currently be seen in the UK with the consolidation of certain regional funds.