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Preparatory Action "Cinemas as Innovation Hubs for Local Communities"
Deadline: Sep 25, 2019  
- 63 days

 Rural Development
 Cultural Management
 Culture and Development
 Film and Media
 New Media
 Digital Society
 Digital Humanities

This action will test the added-value of creating innovative cultural hubs around cinema theatres, notably in areas where there is limited cinema and cultural infrastructure and therefore limited provision of cultural goods and services.

Local cinemas bring communities together, enhance local cultural life and play an important social inclusion role. They provide education opportunities and contribute to the local economy, being a vector for urban development in the longer term. Despite their cultural, social and economic impact, investment in cinema theatres has been overlooked in many areas in Europe, especially in smaller towns.

This action should support the creation of innovative cultural venues and empower cinemas to innovate and play a more important role in their local communities. This action will support audience development activities encouraging cinemas to provide access not only to audiovisual content, but also to other cultural content and services, as well as educational activities and/or entertainment activities for young audiences.

While new technologies such as Virtual Reality favour experiencing cinema as an individual experience, it is important to understand the consumption model of young audiences and to offer them attractive options for cinema-going and cultural experience. The collaboration among cinemas as well as between cinemas and other cultural venues would enrich the audience experience and could contribute to tapping into new audiences.

In addition, this action aims to create an appetite for the best European audiovisual and cultural content (feature films, concerts, opera, TV series, animation, documentaries, heritage films, short formats and innovative content like VR) by attracting audiences to cultural hubs.

This preparatory action may complement funding from the Europa Cinemas network, which provides training and networking opportunities as well as financial support to cinema theatres that screen an above average number of non-national European films. It may also complement national funding for cinema infrastructure and/or equipment and it will support investment in digitisation and renewed cinema equipment.

The preparatory action will test new cinema-going experiences, while taking into account local audiences’ needs, and will focus on:

(a) Testing new ways of rethinking the cinema experience and creating innovative cultural venues;

(b) Audience development and building communities through interactive experiences (offering a wide range of cultural and educational activities);

(c) Supporting cinema equipment and digitisation provided this is necessary for the implementation of the action and the creation of an innovative cultural hub experience.

The expected results of this action are:

  •   Creation of innovative cultural hubs centred around cinema theatres, involving collaboration between cinema theatres as well as with other operators across the cultural and creative sectors;

  •   New ways of engaging with existing audiences and reaching out to new audiences, especially young people, by offering quality and diverse European creative content (audiovisual and other types of cultural content) as well as educational activities (i.e. film education, media literacy);

  •   Innovation regarding the cinematic experience leading up to the development of new cultural consumption models / in particular in areas with limited cinema /cultural infrastructure;

  •   Support the social and economic development of local communities through organising events, debates and special educational screenings and/or events; including beyond the life span of the project;

  •   Enhance cross-border collaboration among cinema operators as well as between cinema and other cultural organisations including in areas with limited cinema infrastructure.



3. Timetable

The indicative schedule for the different steps and stages of the selection procedure are as follows:

(a) Publication of the call

July 2019

(b) Deadline for submitting applications

25 September 2019

(c) Evaluation period

October/November 2019

(d) Information to applicants

November 2019

(e) Signature of grant agreement(s)

November/December 2019

(f) Start date of the action

Between 1 January – 1 April 2020



The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of projects under this call for proposals is estimated at € 2.000.000 (two million Euro).

The EU co-financing is limited to a maximum co-funding rate of 80% of the total eligible costs.

The grants are expected to range from € 200.000 (two hundred thousand) to € 700.000 (seven hundred thousand).

The Commission reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.



In order to be admissible, applications must be:

 sent no later than the deadline for submitting applications referred to in section 3;

 submitted in writing (see section 14), using the application form available at and in electronic form (pdf format); and

 drafted in one of the EU official languages, preferably in English or French. Failure to comply with those requirements will lead to rejection of the application.



6.1. Eligible applicants

The call is open to:

 A grouping of entities (consortia) – with the entities forming this consortia having or not entities affiliated to them.

 A ‘sole’ applicant (several legal entities forming together one legal entity or 'sole beneficiary')

Proposals may be submitted by any of the following applicants or combinations of:

  •   non-profit organisation (private or public);

  •   public authorities (national, regional, local);

  •   international organisations;

  •   universities;

  •   educational institutions;

  •   profit making entities.

Natural persons are not eligible.

For British applicants: Please be aware that eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, you will cease to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or be required to leave the project on the basis of Article II.17.3 of the grant agreement.

Affiliated entities

Legal entities having a legal or capital link with applicants, which is neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation, may take part in the action as affiliated entities, and may declare eligible costs as specified in section 11.2.

For that purpose, applicants shall identify such affiliated entities in the application form.

Country of establishment

Only applications from legal entities established in EU Member States are eligible.

Multi-beneficiary/Consortium requirements

In order to be eligible, a proposal must be submitted by a consortium composed of at least 3 legal entities, preferably coming from different Member States, of which at least 1 is a cinema operator.

The project leader must be either a cinema operator or a cultural organisation. The project leader will submit the application on behalf of all partners.

By way of exception, an application may be submitted by one applicant (the "sole" applicant), whether established specifically or not for the action, provided that:

  •   it is formed of several legal entities complying with the eligibility, non-exclusion and selection criteria set out in this call for proposals, and implementing together the proposed action;

  •   the application identifies the said entities.


For the purpose of declaring eligible costs as specified under section 11.2, the entities composing the “sole” applicant shall be treated as affiliated entities in accordance with Article 187 of the Financial Regulation1.

Supporting documents

In order to assess the applicants' eligibility, the following supporting documents are requested:

Examples of supporting documents (see also section of the Vade Mecum):

  •   private entity: extract from the official journal, copy of articles of association, extract of trade or association register, certificate of liability to VAT (if, as in certain countries, the trade register number and VAT number are identical, only one of these documents is required);

  •   public entity: copy of the resolution, decision or other official document establishing the public-law entity;

6.2. Eligible activities

The following types of activities are eligible, inter alia, under this call for proposals:

  •   cross-border cooperation projects among cinema operators, as well as between cinema and other cultural organisations (such as museums, art galleries, libraries, film archives, performance spaces such as concert halls, theatres, etc.; these partnerships could be joined by VOD platforms etc.);

  •   curated and diverse cinema programming of at least 60% of European content (mainly from EU countries) from different genres and formats, embodying European cultural diversity; the programming should present a strong cultural value and might include among others: feature films, TV series, animation, documentaries, heritage films, short formats or innovative content like VR);

  •   education activities (including debates, creative workshops and co-creation) on topics such as cinema, new audiovisual technologies (VR, cross media etc.) and other cultural activities or performing arts;

  •   activities meant to attract audiences to the cinema, cultivate new audiences and enhance their experience (i.e.: introducing more social elements and leisure elements by cooperating with cafés, concert or sports halls, video gaming etc.);

  •   supporting cinema equipment and digitisation to adapt to audience needs, provided that this is necessary for the implementation of the action and creation of innovative and more diverse cultural hub experience;

  •   promotion and communication activities related to the action;

  •   actions aiming at the creation and improvement of networks, exchanges of good practices;

  •   financial support to third parties (see point 11.8. d).


Implementation period

  •   activities must start between 1st January 2020 and at the latest on 1st April 2020;

  •   the maximum duration of projects is 18 months.

  • Applications for projects scheduled to run for a longer period than that specified in this call for proposals will not be accepted.



7.1. Exclusion

The authorising officer shall exclude an applicant from participating in call for proposals procedures where:

  1. (a)  the applicant is bankrupt, subject to insolvency or winding-up procedures, its assets are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, it is in an arrangement with creditors, its business activities are suspended, or it is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under EU or national laws or regulations;

  2. (b)  it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant is in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with the applicable law;

  3. (c)  ithasbeenestablishedbyafinaljudgmentorafinaladministrativedecisionthatthe applicant is guilty of grave professional misconduct by having violated applicable laws or regulations or ethical standards of the profession to which the applicant belongs, or by having engaged in any wrongful intent or gross negligence, including, in particular, any of the following:

    1. (i)  fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting information required for the verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion or the fulfilment of eligibility or selection criteria or in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision;

    2. (ii)  entering into agreement with other applicants with the aim of distorting competition;

    3. (iii)  violating intellectual property rights;

    4. (iv)  attempting to influence the decision-making process of the Commission during the award procedure;

    5. (v)  attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue advantages in the award procedure;

  4. (d)  it has been established by a final judgment that the applicant is guilty of any of the following:

    1. (i)  fraud, within the meaning of Article 3 of Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Article 1 of the Convention on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 July 1995;

    2. (ii)  corruption, as defined in Article 4(2) of Directive (EU) 2017/1371 or Article 3 of the Convention on the fight against corruption involving officials of the European Communities or officials of Member States of the European Union, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 May 1997, or conduct referred to in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, or corruption as defined in the applicable law;

    3. (iii)  conduct related to a criminal organisation, as referred to in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA;

    4. (iv)  money laundering or terrorist financing within the meaning of Article 1(3), (4) and (5) of Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council;

    5. (v)  terrorist offences or offences linked to terrorist activities, as defined in Articles 1 and 3 of Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA, respectively, or inciting, aiding, abetting or attempting to commit such offences, as referred to in Article 4 of that Decision;

    6. (vi)  child labour or other offences concerning trafficking in human beings as referred to in Article 2 of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council;

  5. (e)  theapplicanthasshownsignificantdeficienciesincomplyingwithmainobligations in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision financed by the Union's budget, which has led to its early termination or to the application of liquidated damages or other contractual penalties, or which has been discovered following checks, audits or investigations by an authorising officer, OLAF or the Court of Auditors;

  6. (f)  it has been established by a final judgment or final administrative decision that the applicant has committed an irregularity within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95;

  7. (g)  It has been established by a final judgement or final administrative decision that the applicant has created an entity in a different jurisdiction with the intent to circumvent fiscal, social or any other legal obligations of mandatory application in the jurisdiction of its registered office, central administration or principal place of business;

  8. (h)  it has been established by a final judgement or final administrative decision that an entity has been created with the intent referred to in point (g);

  9. (i)  for the situations referred to in points (c) to (h) above, the applicant is subject to:

    1. (i)  facts established in the context of audits or investigations carried out by European Public Prosecutor's Office after its establishment, the Court of Auditors, the European Anti-Fraud Office or the internal auditor, or any other check, audit or control performed under the responsibility of an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body;

    2. (ii)  non-final judgments or non-final administrative decisions which may include disciplinary measures taken by the competent supervisory body responsible for the verification of the application of standards of professional ethics;

    3. (iii)  facts referred to in decisions of persons or entities being entrusted with EU budget implementation tasks;

    4. (iv)  information transmitted by Member States implementing Union funds;

    5. (v)  decisions of the Commission relating to the infringement of Union competition law or of a national competent authority relating to the infringement of Union or national competition law; or

    6. (vi)  decisions of exclusion by an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body.


7.2. Remedial measures

If an applicant declares one of the situations of exclusion listed above (see section 7.1), it must indicate the measures it has taken to remedy the exclusion situation, thus demonstrating its reliability. This may include e.g. technical, organisational and personnel measures to correct the conduct and prevent further occurrence, compensation of damage or payment of fines or of any taxes or social security contributions. The relevant documentary evidence which illustrates the remedial measures taken must be provided in annex to the declaration. This does not apply for situations referred in point (d) of section 7.1.

7.3. Rejection from the call for proposals

The authorising officer shall not award a grant to an applicant who:

  1. (a)  is in an exclusion situation established in accordance with section 7.1; or

  2. (b)  has misrepresented the information required as a condition for participating in the procedure or has failed to supply that information; or

  3. (c)  was previously involved in the preparation of documents used in the award procedure where this entails a breach of the principle of equal treatment, including distortion of competition, that cannot be remedied otherwise.

The same exclusion criteria apply to affiliated entities.

Administrative sanctions (exclusion) may be imposed on applicants, or affiliated entities where applicable, if any of the declarations or information provided as a condition for participating in this procedure prove to be false.

7.4. Supporting documents

Applicants and affiliated entities must provide an original signed2 declaration on their honour certifying that they are not in one of the situations referred to in Articles 136(1) and 141 FR, by filling in the relevant form attached to the application form accompanying the call for proposals and available at market/news-redirect/654613.

This obligation may be fulfilled in one of the following ways:

  1. (i)  the coordinator of a consortium signs a declaration on behalf of all applicants and their affiliated entities; OR

  2. (ii)  each applicant in the consortium signs a declaration in its name and on behalf of its affiliated entities; OR

  3. (iii)  each applicant in the consortium and the affiliated entities each sign a separate declaration in their own name.

2 A hand-written signature is mandatory (electronic signature is not applicable to the call)




8.1. Financial capacity

Applicants must have stable and sufficient sources of funding to maintain their activity throughout the duration of the grant and to participate in its funding. The applicants' financial capacity will be assessed on the basis of the following supporting documents to be submitted with the application:

a) Low value grants (≤ EUR 60 000):

a declaration on their honour. > EUR 60 000:

  • a declaration on their honour
  • the profit and loss account as well as the balance sheet for the last two financial years for which the accounts were closed;
  • for newly created entities: the business plan might replace the above documents;
  • the table with the financial figures provided for in Annex to the application form, filled in with the relevant statutory accounting figures.

for an action > EUR 750 000:

the information and supporting documents mentioned in point b) above, and

an audit report produced by an approved external auditor certifying the accounts for the last two financial years available, where such an audit report is available or whenever a statutory report is required by law.

If the audit report is not available AND a statutory report is not required by law, a self-declaration signed by the applicant's authorised representative certifying the validity of its accounts for the last two financial years available must be provided.

-In the event of an application grouping several applicants (consortium), the above thresholds apply to each applicant.

-In the case of legal entities forming one applicant (the "sole applicant"), as specified in section 6.1, the above requirements apply to each one of those entities.

On the basis of the documents submitted, if the Responsible Authorising Officer (RAO) of the Commission considers that financial capacity is weak, s/he may:

  •   request further information;

  •   decide not to give pre-financing;

  •   decide to give pre-financing paid in instalments;

  •   decide to give pre-financing covered by a bank guarantee (see section 11.7.2 below);

  •   where applicable, require the joint and several financial liability of all the co- beneficiaries.


If the RAO considered that the financial capacity is insufficient, s/he will reject the application.

8.2. Operational capacity

Applicants must have the professional competencies as well as appropriate qualifications necessary to complete the proposed action. In this respect, applicants have to submit a declaration on their honour, and the following supporting documents:

  •   curriculum vitae or description of the profile of the people primarily responsible for managing and implementing the operation (accompanied where appropriate, like in the field of research and education, by a list of relevant publications);]

  •   the organisation's activity reports;

  •   an exhaustive lists of previous projects and activities performed and connected to the policy field of a given call or to the actions to be carried out;

  •   a description of the technical equipment, tools or facilities and patents at the disposal of the applicant;

  •   an inventory of natural or economic resources involved in the project.

    In the event of an application grouping several applicants (consortium), the above requirements shall apply to the combined capacity of all members of the consortium. Combined capacity means that individually, each member of the consortium should comply with the criteria corresponding to its task in the project.

    In the case of legal entities forming one applicant (the "sole" applicant), as specified in section 6.1, the above requirements apply to each one of those entities.

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