The Realities of Today’s Film Sector in Europe

Constant Gardeners: The Realities of Today’s Film Sector in Europe

Key players show their commitment to the art of cinema and its unique power and magic to move audiences, by stimulating their curiosity, by exploring other realities, emotions and concepts.

Since March 2020, Brussels-based associations representing the creative and film business sectors in Europe have worked together to promote relevant COVID-19 response mechanisms from European, national and regional public authorities. At stake has been the ability of individuals and businesses in the sector – whether involved in creation, production, sales, distribution or exhibition of film – to maintain professional activities during successive periods of lock-down and health and safety requirements impacting all parts of the value chain.

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival and the first fully-fledged in-person Cannes Film Festival and Market event since 2019, European associations representing screenwriters, film directors, producers, sales agents, distributors and cinema exhibitors hosted an seminar on Monday 23 May, exploring the realities of the European film sector today – Constant Gardeners: the realities of today’s film sector in Europe – as part of the Cannes Film Market’s industry programme.

Speakers and participants included European screenwriters, directors, producers, sales agents and distributors across all off-line and online distribution channels as well as cinema exhibitors. A uniting theme was the desire to secure a future creative and film business ecosystem built not only on the imperatives of profitability and marketing but also on a common understanding of the value of cinema as an art form, a narrative format loved by audiences, a fundamental component of European culture and citizenship and a valued industry creating economic value, jobs and skills, in particular for young people.

The debate of Monday 23 May showed that the core concept to be promoted by European, national and regional decision-makers remains freedom of choice to take risks on diverse stories and their production models, their diverse and tailor-made promotion and distribution strategies, with cinemas as an essential part of the ecology. This is an essential factor for preserving the art of cinema as well as the plurality of the players involved in the creation, production, distribution and exhibition of films in Europe.

  • Freedom to create, produce, and distribute new film stories in Europe. Cinema is the art of putting on screen stories that we did not know we wanted or needed, but which continue to move us, inform us, entertain us, opening windows on new worlds and echoing existing ones.
  • Freedom to take artistic and economic risks, working together in a very interconnected value chain, and to pursue business strategies compatible with the DNA of individual film sector players, whether small, medium or large-sized companies or individuals.
  • Freedom to deploy tailor-made business plans, including as regards financing and the path to meet future audiences, dependent on each individual film title and its specific requirements.
  • Freedom to market, distribute and exhibit films territory by territory, audience by audience, according to local tastes, societal debates, and other preferences of each local and/or specific audience group.

This will allow the film sector to continue to make a significant contribution to the economy of, and employment in, Europe. It is essential for the European, national and regional public authorities to uphold cinema as one of the most important democratic, cultural and civic tools for emancipation, dialogue and international influence.

European film creators, industry and audiences deserve it.



CEPI – The European Audiovisual Production Association

Eurocinema – Association de producteurs de cinéma et de télévision

Europa Distribution – European Network of Independent Film Publishers and Distributors

Europa International – European Organization for Films International Distributors

FERA – The Federation of European Screen Directors

FIAD – International Federation of Film Distributors’ and Publishers’ Associations

FIAPF – The International Federation of Film Producers Associations

FSE – Federation of Screenwriters in Europe

IVF – The International Video Federation

UNIC – The International Union of Cinemas