The EFTA Surveillance approves compensation to producers of eligible Norwegian culture films

COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves compensation to producers of eligible Norwegian culture films*

The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved a scheme compensating film producers for losses due to the closure of cinemas or restrictions in seating capacity.

The Norwegian authorities on 12 March 2020 decided that all cultural events nationwide should be cancelled or postponed. This included film screenings in cinemas nationwide.

From 7 May 2020, cultural events were allowed, provided that sufficient distance could be ensured. For cinemas, this meant they could only sell a limited amount of seats for film screenings.

Box office revenues are shared between cinemas, film distributors, and film producers, many of whom rely on this income to finance their next films. Many film producers therefore find themselves in a precarious situation given the decline in income from cinema screenings.

To qualify as beneficiaries of the scheme, film producers must demonstrate that their films qualify as a “cultural product”. To be eligible as a cultural product, at least three of the following criteria must be met: manuscripts or literary adaptations must be written in Norwegian or Sami; the main theme concerns Norwegian history, culture or society; the plot of the film takes place in Norway or another EEA State; the projects must show that there is a significant contribution by performing artists or rights-holders residing in Norway or another EEA State.

Beneficiaries can be compensated for losses incurred from 13 March to 30 September 2020. The aid is administered by the Norwegian Film Institute, and will be given as direct grants. Aid cannot exceed 100% of losses. The total budget of the measure is NOK 10 million (EUR 1 million).

ESA approves the aid scheme in line with the Temporary Framework for state aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak.

*This is the original title of the press release. The title above has been amended in order to match the e-Competitions format. Individual authors are welcome to provide original independent commentaries on the case law. Articles are subject to approval by the Board of e-Competitions Bulletin before publication based on the Editorial Policy (click here).

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EFTA Surveillance Authority, The EFTA Surveillance approves compensation to producers of eligible Norwegian culture films, 6 May 2021, e-Competitions May 2021, Art. N° 100763

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