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The LUMIERE database is supposed to be neither an official record of European film production nor a database of films: 

  • The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is currently working on an international system for the identification of cinematographic and audiovisual works. This is a much more ambitious project than the LUMIERE database, which aims primarily to make the market more transparent. 

  • Numerous film databases are already available either in printed form or on the Internet. The IMDB (Internet Movie Database) is an excellent example of an Internet film database and was indispensable for the creation of the LUMIERE database. It would be impossible to identify a film quickly without access to such an efficient database. The IMDB is certainly not infallible, but we believe it is good enough to be considered the most practical tool for rapid film identification.

1. Identification criteria

The LUMIERE database uses five criteria for the identification of films:

  • original title: we generally use the title suggested by the IMDB.

  • translation of the title: we enter systematically into the database alternative language versions of the original title together with a two-letter ISO code that indicates the language used. The LUMIERE software allows us to store and manage special characters associated with languages such as Czech, Swedish and Turkish. We also add alternative versions of the title that may be useful for the identification of the film.

  • country of origin of the film: defining the nationality of a film is a complex task. There are no widely accepted international or even European definitions of the criteria to be used to determine the country of origin of a film. This is both a legal and a statistical problem. It is enlightening to compare the lists provided by the different national sources that we use: countries involved in a joint production are not always indicated (even when the main coproducer is from another country). Different national records - and the statistics on which they are based - can show the same film as having a whole range of nationalities. In a general pan-European database such as LUMIERE, we have had to adopt a pragmatic approach. We try to list all coproducing countries in the database in a standard way, and we attempt to classify them in order of importance (whether known or assumed), with the country having provided the majority financial investment in the production in first place.

    Identification of producing countries in the LUMIERE database. NEW March 2006.

    Users of the LUMIERE database will notice that a certain number of films now show a new marker in the 'Producing Country' field alongside the two-letter ISO code identifying the country or countries involved in the production. This marker - 'inc' - is a contraction of 'incoming investment'. An 'incoming investment' film is defined as one for which the main producer is a company established in a one country but under the ownership and/or control of a company registered in another country.

    Thus a film categorised as GB inc / US is a film produced in the United Kingdom (GB) where the main producer is a United Kingdom-registered company which may be wholly or partially owned or controlled by a US company. A FR inc / US film is a work produced in France (FR) where the main producer is French-registered company wholly or partially owned or controlled by a US company. A film categorised as US / GB inc is a work produced entirely or partly in the United Kingdom where the main producer is a US-registered company acting through a UK-registered company established specifically for the production of the work.

    Examples of such films are:

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    GB inc / US
    Un long dimanche de fiançailles
    (A Very Long Engagement)
    FR inc / US
    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
    US / GB inc





As a result of the introduction of this new marker, we have re-classified a number of films. In a small number of cases we have also modified the country of origin (i.e. the first country figuring in the list of producing countries) of a film. This is the case for the Harry Potter series, previously categorised as US / GB, which have now become GB inc / US.

International co-productions not characterised as 'incoming investment' films will continue to be identified by the ISO codes of the countries involved as explained above. In principle the country listed in first position in the list is that which has been identified, as far as is possible, as the source of the majority of the financial investment in the film, and is thus, for the purposes of Observatory analysis, considered as the country-of-origin of the film.

As the European Audiovisual Observatory does not have access to detailed production information on films, we are dependent on a number of different sources for information that allows us to identify correctly producing countries and their relative importance. We cannot claim to have got our identification right in every case and we occasionally revise our attribution when further information becomes available.

For films that have received production assistance from the Council of Europe's Eurimages fund, we have used the order indicated in the Eurimages catalogue, which contains information on each film. We also use the information on co-production shares published by both the French CNC and the Spanish ICAA.

  • year of production: we usually use the date suggested by the IMDB.
  • name of director(s): we generally use the same name(s) as the IMDB.


2. Practical identification problems

Finding the original title

The lists of films we use do not always give the correct original title of a film. Ideally, the original title is indicated alongside the title in the language of the country where it is distributed. However, it usually only appears in the language of the country concerned. It is therefore necessary to find the original title by referring back to other criteria provided (name of director, actors, country and date of production, etc). The Internet is very useful for this purpose and provides a much quicker alternative to search procedures that would otherwise be extremely tedious. Several national databases, which cover films distributed in the country as well as those actually produced there, usually contain original titles. Failing these, it is normally sufficient to use an Internet search engine to find the website of a distributor, cinema, video producer, magazine or newspaper which indicates the correct original title.

Some film titles can lead to confusion. For example, Michael Radford's The Postman (ll Postino) should not be confused with Kevin Costner's The Postman. The extra details provided by our sources are usually enough to show which film is meant. In a few instances where a number of different films bear the same title, we were unable to identify a film if the lists we used did not indicate the date of production, nationality, distributor, actors, etc. 

Below are some useful film databases that can be used to identify films, particularly the original title.


National film databases

Databases with title translations

Austrian Film Commission Moviedata
FR: CinéKioske Cinéfil
DE: Moviedata
FR: Cinéfil
Filmportal Kino.de
Danish Film Institute  
Estonian Film Fondation  
Películas Españolas, y Extranjeras estrenadas en España Películas Españolas, y Extranjeras estrenadas en España
Finnish Film Foundation  
Cinéfil Cinéfil
Britmovie IMDB
Greek Film Centre Cine.gr
Hungarian Film Institute  
The Irish Film Board IMDB
ANICA Ciakmania
Films & Chips
Latvian National Film Centre  
Norwegian Film Institute  
Polish Cinema Database
Film Polski
Polish Cinema Database
Swedish Film Institute  
Slovenian Film Fund  
Sinematürk Beyaz Perde
Chinese Movie Database Chinese Movie Database
Bombaytalkies - Indian Film Database Bombaytalkies - Indian Film Database

© European Audiovisual Observatory

The data base LUMIERE provides a systematic compilation of available data on admissions of the films released in European cinemas since 1996. The data base is the result of the collaboration between the European Audiovisual Observatory and the various specialised national sources as well as the MEDIA Programme of the European Union.