Romanian directors Cristian Mungiu, Corneliu Porumboiu and Catalin Mitulescu are among a group of 150 filmmakers signing an open letter in support for European films.
The filmmakers are asking the European institutions and EU member states to make the fight against piracy “an absolute and common priority.” They also requested the application of the “country of destination” rule, and the continuation of the EU’s Media Program.
Directors such as Ken Loach, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Claude Lelouch, Isabel Coixet, Luca Guadagnino, and Fernado Trueba are among those signing the letter.
“At the time of Brexit and rising nationalisms, Europe must understand that its strength lies in its ability to trigger dialogue between the Union and specific nations and identities. This is a strength, not a weakness; failing to grasp such a duality would lead to our ruin,” the letter reads.
The signatories of the letter argue that the draft Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market is “a unique opportunity to ensure that authors earn fair, proportional and inalienable remuneration when their films and audiovisual works are watched on digital platforms.”
The filmmakers also called for the application of the “country of destination” rule, where content distributors conform to the laws of the country of destination rather than that of origin.
“A video platform or broadcaster that benefits from the broadcast of a film can in no way be exempted from contributing to the financing of its creation. In the frame of the Audiovisual Media Services directive (AVMS), we must ensure that each broadcast which aims audiences from a Member State, whatever its medium to reach audiences (platform, free or on demand TV channels, terrestrial or digital broadcasting), strictly applies the rules of the country,” the letter argues.
The filmmakers also called for the reinforcing of the EU’s Media Program, “a true symbol of Europe’s attachment to cinema” and “in awareness of its key role in supporting films and having audiences discover them.”
Since 2001, the program has sponsored 14 Palme d’Or winning films. The call for its continuation comes as the program is “at the heart of European budgetary debates and its funds could be further reduced,” the letter warns.
The letter coincides with the yearly European Film Forum (EFF), which takes place at the Berlinale today, February 19. The forum focuses on how the Media Program can further connect with the citizens and how Europe's quality films can better reach audiences, among others. Director Cristian Mungiu is among the speakers at the forum.
Director Cristian Porumboiu has had his latest documentary Fotbal Infinit/ Infinite Football selected in the Forum section of this year’s Berlinale.
The full text of the letter can be read here.
(Photo: Europa Creativă - MEDIA România Facebook Page)