The European Commission is urging all cinemas in the EU to upgrade their projector systems in order to be able to show more European films.

The EC has issued a statement encouraging all picture houses to start using digital projectors to eliminate the need for expensive and delicate film reels. It is also planning a funding programme to help with the upgraded systems, which can cost as much as €75,000.

This amount has so far proven prohibitive to many cinemas, particularly in cities such as Paris, where a wealth of long-established small cinemas show broad ranges of films on well-maintained but dated equipment.

The EC began the initiative due to the increasing dominance of American films in the commercial cinema markets, despite an increase in films being produced by the EU.

EC spokeswoman, Androulla Vassiliou, said they needed to make sure the EU kept up with the digital revolution that has transformed the way the film industry produces, distributes and screens films.

"Digital technology can reduce distribution costs and potentially increase the number and diversity of European films being screened worldwide,” she said. “I hope we will soon see the benefits of digital technology in all European cinemas, including the independent and art-house screens that characterize Europe's unique cinema network.”

The European Commission has earmarked €25 million in backing in the last three years through the MEDIA Programme for digital cinema initiatives and other projects.