The transformation of the European audiovisual ecosystem: towards a more sustainable and digital industry

Aiming to renew and transform the European AV industry, in addition to reinforcing its resilience, the European Union adopted the new Creative Europe programme 2021-2017 with a significant budget increase. This is now being implemented together with the Media and Audiovisual Action Plan adopted last December and in conjunction with the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), an unprecedented recovery plan for Europe with a total budget of EUR 723.8 billion. The purpose is to support and stimulate the European Audiovisual Industry, which is now confronted by an on-going profound transformation brought about notably by digitalization and the greening agenda, a process further accelerated by the recent Covid-19 crisis.

The San Sebastian European Film Forum will directly address these subjects through the eyes and experience of representatives of important institutions, associations, platforms and independent professionals from the private sphere across Europe. The first panel will discuss the need for the audiovisual sector to align with EU’s greening agenda "Green Deal: challenges or opportunities for the European Audiovisual Industry?". The second panel will deal with an important vector for digital transformation, notably Big Data and Artificial Intelligence: "Digitization and Big Data: what path should Europe take?"

The event will be complemented by the Zinemaldia & Technology session (Thursday 23 September at 11.00 in the Z room of the Tabakalera - International Centre for Contemporary Culture), the Festival's space dedicated to technological innovation and audiovisual, which has the support of Creative Europe MEDIA. The programme will consist of the presentation of five innovative European projects selected in the Zinemaldia Startup Challenge competition, followed by a roundtable moderated by AC Coppens "Virtual Production: a journey to the future of cinema".


16:30 (CET)

● Introduction

Elena Neira, Founder and CEO, La otra pantalla, Spain

16:35 (CET)

● Welcome speech

José Luis Rebordinos, Director of the San Sebastian Film Festival

16:45 (CET)

● Introduction – Creative Europe 2021-2027, new horizons for the European Audiovisual Industry

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

16:55 (CET)

● Panel 1: Green Deal: Challenges or opportunities for the European Audiovisual Industry?

In recent years, the audiovisual industry has been making a great effort to align with the European Green Deal and build a new sustainable economic model. What new challenges must be addressed in this green transition? What are the industry achievements so far?

  • Luz Molina, Head of the European Green Screen project (Interreg Europe) in Promálaga, Spain
  • Álvaro Longoria, Vice-President, European Producers Club, Producer and Partner, Morena Films, Spain
  • Paloma Andrés Urrutia, Co-founder, Fiction Changing the World and Mrs. Greenfilm, Spain
  • Zsofia Szemeredy, Sustainability Consultant & Development Executive, Co-founder at GreenEyes Production, Hungary

17:45 (CET)

● Panel 2: Digitization and Big Data: What path should Europe take?

Data are a goldmine for all links in the value chain of the European audiovisual industry. How can Big Data and new technological tools transform business models and improve creation, production and distribution strategies?

  • Niels Alberg, Co-founder and CEO, Publikum, Denmark
  • Emilio Sánchez Zaballos, Manager of video and online platforms, Atresmedia, Spain
  • Oliver Fegan, Co-Founder and CEO, Usheru, Ireland

18:25 (CET)

● Closing remarks


Member of the European Film Academy (EFA) and Honorary member of the Academy of Arts and Cinematographic Sciences of Argentina. In 2015 the Council of Ministers on Spain bestowed him the Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts. In 2021, the French Ministry of Culture appointed him Chevalier de l'ordre des arts et des lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters of the French Republic).Holds a degree in Special Pedagogy. Director of the Donostia Kultura Film Unit for 22 years. Director for 21 years of the Horror and Fantasy Film Festival and director for 8 years of the Human Rights Film Festival, both in San Sebastian. He has directed the Nosferatu collection for 22 years. He is the co-author of several books on Basque filmmakers including Elías Querejeta, Montxo Armendáriz, Antxon Eceiza, Julio Medem and Javier Aguirresarobe, among others, and on Asian cinema (Shinya Tsukamoto, poeta y guerrillero del cinematógrafo). He has also written on a variety of subjects (El dolor, los nervios culturales del sufrimiento – Breve historia del cortometraje vasco). Before taking up his position as Director General of San Sebastian Festival on January 1st 2011, he had been a member of its Management Committee for the previous 15 years. Member of the Asian Future Jury at the 30th edition of the Tokyo International Film Festival in October 2017. In August 2018 he was part of the First Look Jury of the Locarno Film Festival. Selection of the BWIP (Bloody Work in Progress) section, since the first edition of Blood Window in 2013, Ventana Sur, Argentina.

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.


Niels Alberg is co-founder and CEO of PUBLIKUM, a new service for audience research offering a novel combination of AI-analysis and anthropological insights in the early stage of script development. The Denmark-based company helps filmmakers explore how their stories trigger feelings in a future audience with the precision of big data and the depth of human science. Since its launch last year PUBLIKUM has worked on projects in Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands, working with production companies such as Zentropa, Nordisk Film, SF Studios, Lemming Films, Oslo Pictures, Danish Documentary, Profile Pictures, Final Cut for Real, Motor Productions and Handmade Films.

Paloma Andrés Urrutia is a psychologist with 20 years of experience in the field of international development and sustainability, as an entrepreneur, as a social and strategic consultant and advisor for the projects of private companies, NGOs, public institutions and multilateral Agencies. Paloma Andrés Urrutia is an expert in multistakeholder partnerships and a member of the Partnership Broker Association. With an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for people and social sciences, she is the founder of diverse projects, all of them focused on a sustainable future. In 2018 she co-founded Fiction Changing the World, a company that is leading the transition to audiovisual sector sustainability, working in storytelling for change. In 2021 she co-founded Mrs. Greenfilm, a consultancy company that works on reducing the negative impacts of audiovisual production.

Oliver Fegan is CEO and one of the co-founders of Usheru, a film marketing and analytics company focused on connecting films to audiences. Before setting it up with his two co-founders, Catherine Downes and Andres Macias, he worked in the technology consulting space helping large FMCG companies develop new and innovative technology solutions to improve efficiency.

He set up Usheru in 2014, and in 2019, he raised venture capital funding from Foresight Group to grow Usheru’s team and innovative suite of products, and also received Creative Europe MEDIA funding to develop a solution to make finding European films easier from festivals, to cinema and home entertainment.

Currently Usheru supports a wide range of global partners, such as distributors, national film bodies, studios, cinemas, exhibitors and producers – boosting their audience reach, ticket sales and home entertainment views.

Alvaro Longoria is a producer, director and one of the founders of Morena Films. He holds a Cum Laude degree in Business Administration from Boston University and an M.B.A. in the same subject from the Stern School of Business of New York University. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

As a producer Alvaro Longoria has developed and produced some of the most successful feature films at the Spanish box office in recent years, as well as films with great international talent. Among the titles has had produced, the stand-outs include: Poliamor para principiantes (Fernando Colomo, 2021), Historias Lamentables (Javier Fesser, 2020), Campeones (Javier Fesser, 2018), Todos lo saben (Asghar Farhadi, 2018), Altamira (Hugh Hudson, 2016), Ma Ma (Julio Medem, 2015), Alacrán Enamorado (Santiago Zannou, 2013), 7 Days in Havana (Benicio del Toro, Pablo Trapero, Elia Suleiman, Julio Medem, Gaspar Noe, Juan Carlos Tabío and Laurent Cantet, 2012), among others.

As a director, Alvaro Longoria is focused on developing and directing documentaries, a genre he is passionate about. In 2013 he won the Goya award for best documentary with Hijos de las nubes. Since then he has directed feature documentaries with a major international reach and impact, such as Santuario (2019), starring the Bardem brothers and which was presented at the San Sebastian International Film Festival and won The World Honorary Green Oscar award from the Cinema for Peace Foundation when it was shown at the Berlinale. He also directed Dos Cataluñas (Alvaro Longoria and Gerardo Olivares, 2018) about the independence crisis in Catalonia, which is available on Netflix, and Ni distintos ni diferentes: Campeones (Alvaro Longoria, 2018) about the lives of the actors of the successful film Campeones. The Propaganda Game (Alvaro Longoria, 2015), filmed in North Korea, analyzes the various techniques and strategies of propaganda, and was nominated for the Goya awards in 2016 in the category of best documentary film.

Project Manager at Promálaga, Luz Molina coordinates the European Interreg Europe Green Screen project, which aims to promote green filming, improve green policies in the audiovisual sector and share best practices with respect to the environmental standards necessary for the sector. The goal is for production companies (film, television, documentaries, etc.) to adopt more sustainable measures/practices in their pre-production, production, post-production and distribution processes.

Currently Atresmedia’s Head of content strategy, product development and management of the group's online content distribution platforms (ATRESplayer PREMIUM, Flooxer and MCN on Youtube), Emilio Sánchez Zaballos has a background in journalism and audiovisual communication.

Emilio Sánchez Zaballos has spent a large part of his professional career at Atresmedia in positions related to the digital sphere. He served as director of the digital portal of Antena 3 Noticias and was responsible for the development and expansion of the group’s entertainment sites before later focusing on the facet more closely linked to the development of platforms and production of content for distribution. In this area, he was in charge of the construction of Atresmedia's MCN on Youtube, the launch of the Flooxer platform, which was later integrated into ATRESplayer, as well as the redesign, development and planning of content for ATRESplayer PREMIUM since 2019.

Zsófia Szemeredy is co-founder with Júlia Tordai of GreenEyes, a sustainability consultancy for the film, TV and media sector. Zsófia Szemeredy's love of film has sent her down a sinuous road. After attending the National Film and Television School in the UK, she finally found her passion: combining script development and sustainability, and balancing these two both in her work and in her everyday life. Júlia Tordai is a biologist, science communicator and filmmaker. She is all about pushing boundaries and challenging herself in different fields of science. She truly believes that combining disciplines – science, art, communication, technology – can help to understand our world and create a better one.


Elena Neira holds a Degree in Law and Audiovisual Communication. Specialized in New Audiovisual Distribution Models. Professor of Communication Studies at the UOC (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) and member of the GAME group at the same University. Professor of Audiovisual Distribution at the UIC (Universitat Internacional de Catalunya). She has given several talks and conferences, including a TED Talk about Netflix. She also writes regularly for Business Insider and El Periódico. She is the author of several books. The most recent is Streaming Wars: la nueva televisión (Libros Cúpula).