Support for the European Audiovisual Sector after 2012- Focus on MEDIA Literacy
In preparation for its Creative Europe proposal, the European Commission organised a consultation to gather views from all the relevant stakeholders of the audiovisual sectors in Europe. The focus of this report is on the responses concerning Film/Media Literacy, and specifically, the respondents' answers to the question: Which are the most effective instruments to increase media including film literacy (including knowledge about the film language and skills to critically judge audiovisual works) for European audiovisual works? Respondents had the option of replying either on behalf of an organisation, as a professional or as an individual.
Media literacy represents the ability to: I5
- Access media
- Understand and have a critical approach towards different aspects of media content
- Create communications in a variety of contexts.
It relates to all media, including television and film, radio and recorded music, print media, the internet and all other new digital communication technologies.
Most comments on media literacy provided by the respondents emphasised the same goal: the need for European Cinema to reach younger audiences and the tools that should be used to achieve this.
TOOLS FOR REACHING YOUNGER AUDIENCES I1
1. Education plays a significant role. Respondents from diverse countries (United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Greece, etc. but also non-EU countries, such as Israel, Norway, Croatia and the USA), representing both organisations and individuals, stressed the importance of including Media Literacy as a subject within the framework of compulsory education.
Many participants were of the opinion that a Media Literacy subject should be a part of primary school education. It was suggested that classes be organised that would make it possible for children to participate in film-making and to organise workshops, forums, etc. These would be ways to raise curiosity for European cinema.
A respondent from a Belgian association that promotes non-mainstream films suggested supporting “film houses” in different regions of Europe which would act as a resource centres, develop film literacy activities and create links with schools, associations and the general public.
An individual from the UK proposed that work in schools should be supported by national film culture organisations, e.g. the British Film Institute and Film Education in UK.
Respondents also stressed that Media Literacy training should also focus on teachers, journalists and professionals. However, a small number of respondents noted a low level of expertise among film literacy trainers, administrators and participants in selection committees, stating that their level of professionalism influences the quality of the projects chosen. In addition, some respondents were of the opinion that the notion of film literacy is too narrow and it should be extended to media literacy as a whole. For example, a respondent from Swedish association for games said that it is crucial that the MEDIA programme abandon the film-centric approach and focus on real media literacy that includes all audiovisual products, including games.
One respondent from the UK replying as an individual said that the discussion on the film literacy should stop because it is based on an old model of cinema culture, and a discussion about media literacy should instead begin. In his opinion, this would be of far greater benefit to audiences/creators than maintaining the rather cosy relationship between festivals, critics and film publications.
2. Other possible means mentioned for attracting younger audiences were social networks, games, interactive educational programmes and VOD platforms, as they are generally used by a younger population. A producer from Slovakia proposed creating television programmes that would at the same time entertain and educate viewers about film.
3. A respondent from Denmark suggested the creation of a platform that would promote European documentaries as well as film literacy by collaborating with film festivals and universities.
AVAILABILITY OF EUROPEAN FILMS FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES
Many respondents emphasised the importance of making European films available to younger audiences. In their opinion, audiences should not only consume mainstream blockbusters but should also have the possibility of a choice that would include independent films.
EUROPEAN FILM HERITAGE
A professional from the UK proposed that there be more support for restoring, digitising and releasing old films cross-platform, and also support for the subsequent distribution of those films (specialist movie libraries, cinema stores etc). Another professional from the UK said that the support for the audiovisual heritage sector and the use of the heritage in working towards media literacy should not be overlooked. There was also a suggestion that European film heritage be made a priority in the MEDIA programme and that access to classic European films be provided in schools and colleges.
Multiple suggestions were made, such as:
- to create a European network of film and media literacy training institutions;
- to establish a European film library;
- to set up an EU Information Centre (similar to the Media Desk), which is responsible solely for project support in the media literacy field.
The need for stronger support for and better promotion of the European Film Awards was emphasised. A “Day of European cinema” was proposed.
While some respondents emphasised the need for cooperation with non-EU countries in this field, some believed that it is better to focus exclusively on Europe.
Media Literacy was mentioned as a tool to educate about intellectual property and copyright. A respondent from the international association of distributors suggested including actions to raise awareness of the public about intellectual property and the danger of piracy under the item of 'media literacy'.
A professional from the Czech Republic considers education about copyright important in terms of respect for authors' and producers' rights (intellectual property) in order to decrease illegal abuse of those rights and bring the revenues to distributors and producers.
One respondent pointed out that media literacy should be used to raise awareness of the importance of copyright to sustain the European film industry as well as to ensure that all financial and creative contributors are remunerated for their contributions, have the chance to recover their investments and hopefully raise capital for future production and distribution of European films.
In addition, one respondent was of the opinion that classic European films should be made available by clearing copyright and making audiovisual work available on different formats.
MEDIA LITERACT AS A TOOL FOR BETTER INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION
What was concretely suggested is a need for support for subtitles, since language plays an important role as a vehicle for culture.
MEDIA LITERACY AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL
Some respondents criticised the levels of media literacy in their home countries. In the opinion of one respondent, the main reason this state of affairs is the lack of financial means in schools. Subsidies from the European Commission would be helpful in this regard.
CRITICISM OF MEDIA LITERACY
Respondents from Norway, Spain and Ireland expressed the opinion that there is too much talk about Media Literacy and that the focus should be on entertainment, namely on making more interesting films.