Following a meeting between European Commission Vice President, Andrus Ansip, and SAA patrons Bertrand Tavernier, Roger Michell and Hugh Stoddart (see here) on 22nd June, SAA patron Bertrand Tavernier wrote to the Vice President to follow up on some important issues discussed at the meeting, such as film authors’ rights, territoriality and distribution, film heritage. You can read his letter below followed by additional comments from German screenwriter and SAA patron, Jochen Greve, and Franco-swiss director, screenwriter and Europa Distribution president of honour, Ursula Meier, Romanian director and screenwriter, Cristian Mungiu and German director and screenwriter, Volker Schlöndorff.
Jochen Greve, German screenwriter and SAA patron
This is not just a cinema issue. In Germany, each feature-movie or documentary-movie is shot as a co-production and with a big part of television money, and this has been the case for forty years. For a bigger online-market you need licences, and each licence starts with the authors. We have to sell it to the producers or broadcasters or platforms. I am very afraid that a shift to pan-European licences, even if not deliberate, will be a big problem in a bigger online-market for us authors and the remuneration of our works.
Ursula Meier, Franco-swiss director, screenwriter and president of honour of Europa Distribution
I am Swiss, French, live in Brussels and deeply feel as an European film maker. Europe is a mosaic of cultures and this is what makes its great richness and (its) identity. It should never be standardised, but unified. The creation of a Digital Single Market in Europe would have terrible consequences, both on the economic and artistic point of views, for European cinema and its diversity.
It is absolutely essential to protect copyright and all the stakeholders of the value chain who make the existence of a film possible, including thanks to the exclusivity of rights. Local distributors for example make a film exists on their territory, give it visibility, because they believe in it, because they have bought the rights to do it. If they lose their ability to recoup the investment they made when buying the film, it is the end of it.
There are ideas and solutions to be found so that the films of today and yesterday circulate better within Europe, but most importantly and above all, let us not destroy what is functioning.
Cristian Mungiu, Romanian director and screenwriter
It’s a very clear message and I absolutely agree. Excuse me for not being able to bring any additional contribution –I’m in the middle of the shooting a film.
Still, I don’t think there is much to add – the issue is how to determine these people to listen to the community of filmmakers.
Volker Schlöndorff, German director and screenwriter
Dear All, cher Bertrand,
thanks for your incessant efforts, thank you Bertrand for your elegant letter. All this proves that the education of politicians and bureaucrats on this subject is still a huge task ahead of a Sisyphus task indeed.