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Euro peacemaker

Film exporters set up arbitration scheme

European exporters are on the verge of launching their own arbitration scheme to rival that of the IFTA, formerly AFMA, backed by the Cannes Film Market.

After a meeting of the fledgling org’s members in Cannes Tuesday, Jacques-Eric Strauss, head of the European Film Export Assn., said Euro alternative could be in place by the end of this year.

“IFTA is too costly and time consuming. You have to be a member and it is not very rapid. We want to be able to settle disputes more cheaply and quickly,” Strauss said. Currently, litigation is the only other option.

The Cannes Film Market has agreed to support the initiative, which means that members failing to respect the decision of EFEA’s arbitrators could find themselves banned from the Croisette.

“We hope that Berlin and Venice will follow suit,” Strauss said.

In coming months, members in some 20-odd countries will appoint two or three industryites who will be called upon to arbitrate in disputes between exporters and distribbers. The authority of the EFEA’s arbitration process will be enshrined in future contracts between buyers and sellers.

Strauss hopes that the arbitration scheme will swell the ranks of the 2-year-old organization. Heavyweight French players Wild Bunch and Studio Canal are among companies that have said they will join, Strauss said.

“More and more exporters are getting interested. I hope we’ll have 30-35 members by the end of this year,” the topper said.