Europeans were the pioneers of the motion picture industry, with several innovative engineers and artists making an impact especially at the end of the 19th century. Louis Le Prince became famous for his 1888 Roundhay Garden Scene, the first known celluloid film recorded. The Skladanowsky brothers from Berlin used their "Bioscop" to amaze the Wintergarten theatre audience with the first film show ever, from November 1 through 31, 1895. The Lumière Brothers established the Cinematograph; which initiated the silent film era, a period where European cinema was a major commercial success. It remained so until the art-hostile environment of World War II.
Notable European early film movements include German Expressionism (1920s), Soviet Montage (1920s), French Impressionist Cinema (1920s), Poetic realism (1930s), and Italian neorealism (1940s); it was a period now seen in retrospect as "The Other Hollywood". The first large-scale film studio was also established in Europe, with the Babelsberg Studio near Berlin in 1912.
Post World War II movements include Free Cinema (1950s), French New Wave (1950s–60s), Polish Film School (1950s–60s), Czechoslovak New Wave (1960s), New German Cinema (1960s–80s), British New Wave (1950s–60s), Spaghetti Western (1960s) and Novo Cinema (1960s–70s). The turn of the 21st century has seen movements such as Dogme 95, New French Extremity and the Romanian New Wave.
Antoine Lumière realized, on 28 December 1895, the first projection, with the Cinematograph, in Paris. In 1897, Georges Méliès established the first cinema studio on a rooftop property in Montreuil, near Paris.
According to one study, "In the 1900s the European film industry was in good shape. European film companies pioneered both technological innovations such as projection, colour processes, and talking pictures, and content innovations such as the weekly newsreel, the cartoon, the serial, and the feature film. They held a large share of the US market, which at times reached 60 per cent. The French film companies were quick in setting up foreign production and distribution subsidiaries in European countries and the USA, and dominated international film distribution before the mid-1910s... By the early 1920s, all this had changed. The European film industry only held a marginal share of the US market, and a small share of its home markets. Most large European companies sold their foreign subsidiaries and exited from film production at home, while the emerging Hollywood studios built their foreign distribution networks."
Founded in 1992 with funding from the MEDIA programme Creative Europe and from the Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée CNC, France, Europa Cinemas is the first film theatre network focusing on European films. Its objective is to provide operational and financial support to cinemas that commit themselves to screen a significant number of European non-national films, to offer events and initiatives as well as promotional activities targeted at Young Audiences. Thanks to the support of Eurimages and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the influence of Europa Cinemas extends to Eastern European countries, to the Balkans, to Russia and to Turkey.
Europa Cinemas in 2016: 41 countries, 644 cities, 1,078 cinemas, 2,648 screens MEDIA: 33 countries, 602 cities, 1,014 cinemas, 2,428 screens EURIMAGES: 3 countries, 37 cities, 58 cinemas, 205 screens MAE: 5 countries, 5 cities, 6 cinemas, 15 screens
Because reputations were made principally on the festival circuit, the filmmaker had to find international financing and distribution and settle for minor festivals before arriving at one of the Big Three (Berlin, Cannes, Venice).
Whether we talk about the Big Three festivals—Cannes, Venice, Berlin—look at Sundance, Tribeca, and Toronto in North America, or examine other significant world festivals in Hong Kong, Pusan, Locarno, Rotterdam, San Sebastián, and Mar del Plata, the insistent global icons of all festivals are films, discoveries, auteurs, stars, parties, and awards.