The President’s word – Rome, Oct 2014

Our president of honour Ursula Meier delivered a speech during our General Assembly as an opening to her three years presidency for Europa Distribution.


I am Swiss, French ; I live in Brussels and deeply feel an European filmmaker. Europe is a mosaic of cultures and this is what makes its great richness and its identity. It should never be standardised, but unified. More than ever, Europe is a vision that has to be defended.
I am happy when my films are screened in my native countries, but what makes me even more happy is to watch them on foreign screens and to feel that the audience is being filled with the film, is « living » it : it means then that it is touching something universal. I was lucky that both my long features « Home » and « L’enfant d’en haut » were released all over Europe and that I took the time to be with them during their releases so that I could meet the audience, the press and bring my support to independent distributors who took the risk to show them. The work and investment of every European distributor on my films deeply moved me and I still feel immensly grateful towards them. I met wonderful, passionate, committed people, and spent hours talking cinema, exchanging,… I discovered this profession full of humility and behind the scenes that is distribution. I also discovered the complexity of this work and the fundamental questions that it raises in cinema itself. Indeed, a film is made to be watched, such as a picture it reveals itself in the eye of the spectator.
History of cinema has constantly been filled with great questions linked to the film industry. Nowadays, with all the questions relating to downloading, with a commercial cinema that is more and more aggressive in the market, in the medias and monopolising more and more screens at the cost of independent films, more than ever distribution seems to me to be the greatest stake in cinema, but also the most captivating and exciting : how should films be shown ?
Independent cinema has become more and more fragile, both in its production and distribution modes. Nevertheless, I am totally convinced that an independent film can captivate a very high number of spectators, not only by finding its audience but also simply by giving the film its opportunity to be seen and time to be seen, so that word-of-mouth can work because indeed these films do not benefit from the massive media coverage of commercial films and unfortunately, I also notice with sadness that Culture pages (and so, Cinema’s) of our national newspapers are getting thinner and thinner.
I believe in cinema and my desire of cinema is immense, infinite. Far be it from me to have pessimistic feelings, on the contrary we have to move forward, reflect, question, invent continuously and keep on to fight no matter what for cinema’s diversity and for independent films to be produced and shown as much as possible. There are still unknown ways, ways to invent and it is our role to do so.
For these reasons, it is with great delight and great honour that I’m joining all of you within Europa Distribution to go with you on these ways.


Ursula Meier, President of Honour