Perspectives for the Future of the Audiovisual Industry in Europe

A year has passed and Berlinale 2020 was the last great physical event in the audiovisual industry in Europe. A lot has changed since last year. Berlinale 2021 will be organised in two different sessions, with the European Film Market (EFM) taking place in the first week of March and the film festival taking place in summer physically, COVID-19 permitting.

The pandemic has created huge disruptions within the wider audiovisual industry.

Who would have thought that cinemas would be closed for such a long period, or that production would be problematic? Who would have thought that film festivals which celebrate culture and bring people together to discover new films would stop being a part of our life? Who would have thought that releasing a film on a VOD platform before it even goes to cinema would be at all possible?

Things have changed beyond even our wildest imagination. Times are difficult but still there are also reasons to be hopeful. Many parts of the value chain which have been under significant stress over the past months embarked on innovating business practices.

In all this, there is a new Creative Europe programme that will be available and support the sector from 2021 to 2027. While many things have remained the same, a lot has also changed. First and foremost, there is an increase in the budget and particularly for 2021 and 2022, to enable the industry to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be a challenge for the European Commission and also for the industry to absorb this funding, but it should help kickstart a recovery in the audiovisual sector.

The European Commission has also adopted a Media and Audiovisual Action Plan which spells out for the first ever time the importance that the European Commission is attaching to the wider media sector in Europe.

Berlinale therefore provides us with the best space to kickstart the discussion on the Action Plan and Creative Europe MEDIA.


11.00 (CET)

● Welcome and introduction

AC Coppens, Moderator

11.05 (CET)

● Welcome speech

Sabine Verheyen, MEP, Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education, European Parliament

11.15 (CET)

● Discussion between Dennis Ruh and Lucia Recalde

Dennis Ruh, Director of the European Film Market
Lucia Recalde, Head of Unit Audiovisual Industry and Media Support Programmes, European Commission

11.25 (CET)

● Panel discussion: Perspectives for the Future of the Audiovisual Industry in Europe

With the participation of:

  • Karin Anell, Head of Commercial Business & International Affairs, Wildside
  • Rikke Ennis, CEO, REinvent Studios
  • Danielle Giroux, Head of Distribution and Publishing, Atlas V
  • Christof Papousek, CFO, Constantin-Film Group of companies – Cineplexx Austria & SEE
  • Jaume Ripoll, CoFounder & Head of Content, Filmin

12.55 (CET)

● Closing remarks

Lucia Recalde, Head of Unit Audiovisual Industry and Media Support Programmes, European Commission


Sabine Verheyen has been a Member of the European Parliament for the German Christian Democrats (CDU) since 2009. In 2019 she was elected as Chairwoman of the Committee for Culture and Education, after having served as coordinator for the European People`s Party on this committee for five years.

Sabine Verheyen focuses in particular on education and media policy as well as digital agenda issues. In addition, she is a member of the special committee on disinformation.

As former mayor of Aachen (1999 to 2009), she focuses additionally on issues that are of relevance to the local authorities.

Sabine Verheyen studied architecture at FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences.

Spanish-born Lucia Recalde is Head of Unit Audiovisual Industry and Media Support Programmes in the Directorate-General (DG) for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CONNECT) of the European Commission. Prior to that, she was a part of the management of the DG for Education and Culture (EAC) as Head of Unit for Higher Education, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and the EIT (European Institute for Innovation and Technology).

Lucia Recalde joined the European Commission in 1995 and until 2006 served the DG for Employment and Social Affairs in various positions. She started her career as a policy officer at the Directorate of European Affairs of the Basque Government.

Dennis Ruh was born in 1983 and studied cultural sciences, audiovisual communication, social science and history in Bremen, Germany and Valencia, Spain.

During his studies, Dennis Ruh began working for the Oldenburg International Film Festival in 2008, where he was in charge of programming, sponsoring, marketing and personnel. He became a co-director in 2011. He also worked for Independent Partners Distribution from 2010 to 2012.

In 2012, Dennis Ruh switched to German Films, the organisation for international promotion and distribution of German films. There, he was the department head for international festival relations, and the point of contact for producers developing festival and distribution strategies.

Dennis Ruh is a regular guest lecturer on promoting young talent at film schools, and reports on the foreign appraisal of German films.


As Head of Commercial Business and International Affairs at Wildside (Italy), Karin Annell’s main focus is on international co-productions and financing of both drama series and feature films, including supervision of international sales and managing international public funding.

TV series on which Karin Annell has worked include 1992, 1993 and 1994 on the Italian political bribes scandal; The Young Pope and The New Pope from the Academy Award winning director, Paolo Sorrentino, starring Jude Law and John Malkovich; The Miracle by internationally acclaimed writer Niccolò Ammaniti; My Brilliant Friend seasons 1 & 2, based on the worldwide best-selling saga by Elena Ferrante and directed by Saverio Costanzo; and Luca Guadagnino’s We Are Who We Are.

Feature films on which Karin Annell has worked include Vincere by Marco Bellocchio; The Solitude of Prime Numbers and Hungry Hearts by Saverio Costanzo, and Me and You, the last feature film by Bernardo Bertolucci.

Rikke Ennis launched Copenhagen-based REinvent Studios in 2018, functioning as an executive and creative producer, developing, financing and co-producing various projects, including international and local TV series, feature films and web series.

In addition, the company offers a palette of financial products, such as cash flow and bridge financing, equity and gap investments.

Reinvent International Sales functions as a sales agent for both their own films and series, and high-profile projects out of Scandinavia, including the slate of SF Studios.

Before launching REinvent, Rikke Ennis was the CEO of TrustNordisk where she worked with projects from filmmakers such as Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg, Hans Petter Moland and Susanne Bier.

Danielle Giroux obtained a dual degree in Arts Administration and Business Administration from Seton Hill University, followed by a masters degree in Arts and Visual Culture from Paris-Sorbonne. She was the director of the NLC 4-H Camp in Connecticut for several years before moving to Paris and co-directing Nil Gallery.

In 2020, Danielle Giroux joined the Atlas V team as head of distribution and publishing for immersive narrative XR content. She has worked on several of Atlas V’s award-winning projects, such as Gloomy Eyes, Battlescar and The Dawn of Art, and collaborates with leading partners in the industry like Oculus, Google, ARTE and more. Her passion for fostering connection through artistic media is what guides her.

Christof Papousek joined the Constantin Film & Cineplexx group of companies in 1999 after working as a consultant. In 2004, he became managing director & CFO and in 2008 he co-founded the group’s international cinema operation – Cineplexx International – as entrepreneur and co-shareholder.

Since 2008 the company has developed and acquired 25 cinemas in 11 countries in the Southeast Europe (SEE) region, including the latest market entrance in Romania. At the same time, premium large format concepts have been introduced in the Austrian home market, accompanied by a process of refurbishment and implementation of a new corporate design.

Cineplexx is an important partner of shopping mall operators and a reliable and sustainable part of the entertainment offer in real estate developments.

Since 2018 Christof Papousek has also been a shareholder in the Group-Holding entity Constantin-Film-Holding GmbH.

Christof Papousek also carries out several functions in the Austrian chamber of commerce, representing the film and cinema industry, as well as in the European Cinema Association, UNIC, and in the GCF (Global Cinema Federation).

Jaume Ripoll is a filmmaking graduate from ESCAC (University of Barcelona), Co-founder, Editor-in-chief and Development Manager at Filmin and Atlántida Film Fest Director.

In 2005, Jaume Ripoll became part of Cameo, an independent cinema distribution company, acting as Editor-in-chief. In 2007, he became one of the founders of Filmin, a reference website for independent cinema in Spain, where he serves as Editor-in-chief and Development Manager.

In 2010, Jaume Ripoll created the Atlántida Film Fest, the first film festival offering the entire programme online. Its 10th edition exceeded 500,000 viewers in Mallorca and on Filmin (online).

Jaume Ripoll has participated as a jury member, and given lectures and workshops at numerous leading film festivals.

In 2015, Jaume Ripoll made his début as a producer in Barcelona, nit d’hivern (Barcelona, Christmas Night), a major blockbuster in Spain that had over 65,000 viewers and received 7 Gaudí Award nominations. In 2018 he executive produced two new films, Jean François and the sense of life and Samantha Hudson, and more recently Dark Eyes (Best Picture Winner at the Málaga Film Festival) and Always on Thursday (Best Documentary at the In-Edit Film Festival).

He also participated in the screenwriting of Somos Gente Honrada, a feature film directed by Alejandro Marzoa.


AC Coppens is a marketing strategist, conference curator, speaker and the founder of The Catalysts, a boutique agency for innovative and creative players working at the intersection of Digital Technologies and Film, Immersive Media, Design, Music and Sound. They advise and mentor teams on strategic & marketing planning, business & audience development. This multi-disciplinary agency also turns conferences into sites of knowledge exchange and co-creation.