TV Globo leads push for representative association

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian screenwriters are assembling a national association to form a united front on certain issues, but will not engage in collective bargaining.

An official launch for the still-unnamed org is set for late July in Rio, when scribes will convene to elect a board of directors. A group met for the first time in May to establish guidelines and to choose a temporary board.

Scribes from top-rated broadcaster TV Globo — which is the biggest TV producer in the country and the main employer– are leading the drive. But the org aims to recruit nationwide among TV and film writers, and plans to borrow a page from the American model.

“We would like to create an organization following the patterns of the Screenwriters’ Guild in the USA,” said Antonio Fontoura, a TV Globo writer, veteran film scribe and director, and now a member of the temporary board. “Currently, screenwriters in Brazil have no representation at all.”

Fontoura said the association will embrace several causes, such as labor demands and guarantees of authors’ rights.

The org will also lobby the government to introduce quotas for Brazilian shows in the local broadcasters’ programming.

However, the screenwriters’ association will not be directly involved in contract negotiations, Fontoura added.

TV Globo denied rumors that it frowns upon the new association. “Globo will negotiate with the screenwriters association, as it has always negotiated with organizations representing actors, directors and other categories,” a spokeswoman said.

Unlike the struggling film industry, broadcast TV is profitable in Brazil. For years, TV Globo has hired the country’s most prominent writers to pen scripts for its telenovelas, series, comedy shows and other programs.

TV Globo has a team of more than 200 screenwriters, and a top telenovela writers can make as much as $83,000 per month while their soaps are on the air.

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