– BERLINALE 2021: Hosted by the European Film Market, the virtual talk saw the participation of several industry decision makers and professionals
The conditions necessary to create a thriving environment for independent audiovisual productions through investment obligations, levies and sustainable contractual practices were the main topic tackled by 3rd edition of the European Film Politics Seminar. The event was hosted by the European Film Market, co-organised by the European Producers Club and the German Producers Association – Produzentenverband, with the support of EFAD – European Film Agency Directors Association, and Doreen Boonekamp – Advisory & Consultancy.
After opening remarks from EFM’s director Dennis Ruh, Berlinale’s executive director Mariette Rissenbeek and Erwin M. Schmidt from Germany’s Produzentenverband, the moderator, Screen International’s journalist Melanie Goodfellow, introduced the first speaker, EFAD’s Secretary General Julie-Jeanne Régnault, who briefly talked through the work of EFAD in keeping track of industry and regulation changes in the sector, overseeing 35 different audiovisual centres, and the European landscape of implemented investment obligations and levies.
Next, Marc Missonnier from France’s Moana Films and Lincoln TV focused on the investment obligations and the promotion of independent productions in his country, explaining that a decree had recently been published (awaiting final approval from the European Union and the CSA), as a result of consultations between the French government, professional organisations representing TV producers, film directors and film producers, and several streaming platforms. Part of this decree requires streaming platforms to invest 20-25% of their annual turnover in new European film and TV productions. In this context, “film productions” are defined as pieces of content released theatrically first.
Goodfellow then introduced Doreen Boonekamp, Dutch veteran advisor and chair of several organisations; Chris Marcich, head of the Croatian Audiovisual Center and Natasa Bucar, managing director of the Slovenian Film Center, who touched upon the investment obligations and the promotion of independent productions in their respective countries.
The next focus was on the contractual relations with the independent sector, previewed by Alexandra Lebret from the European Producers Club and Friedrich Radmann from Germany’s Constantin Film. Lebret pointed out the role of independent production as the real “leading force” of the audiovisual industry, whilst Radmann said that the impact of streamers in the market pushed public broadcasters to address their significant deficits in addressing younger audiences. He added that the recent creation of the EBU’s Drama Initiative is one of the latest efforts born as a result of the increasing need for cooperation among pubcasters. In terms of fair remuneration, Radmann explained that producers need “more than just a mere flat fee, an addition – a premium or other forms of payment – on top of that, as well as a proper contingency budget.” He also demanded streamers more flexibility in negotiating rights and asked them to share figures, such as completion rates and views.
The second part of the talk saw individual contributions made by Inga Moser von Filseck from Amazon, Madeleine de Cock Buning from Netflix, Pauline Durand-Vialle from FERA – Federation of European Screen Directors, Luís Chaby Vaz from Portugal’s Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual, Karim Ibourki from ERGA – European Group of Regulators for Audiovisual Media Services, Mariela Besuievsky from Spain’s Tornasol Films and Janine Jackowski from Germany’s Komplizen Film. The event was rounded off by an open debate and Goodfellow’s closing remarks.