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European film directors have called for a common contract setting out “rights and responsibilities” at the annual meeting of their trade body in the Hungarian capital Budapest.

Istvan Szabo, the Hungarian-born president of the Federation of European Film Directors (Fera) — a body that represents directors from 28 countries across the continent — told the closing session of its general assembly Saturday that defending the economic and creative rights of directors was essential for cultural reasons.

“This is not about money; it’s about keeping alive the unique voice of European film in world culture,” said Szabo, whose “Mephisto” won an Oscar for best foreign language film in 1982.

The federation was the key defender in Europe of the economic and creative rights of directors and its members recognized that along with these rights they had moral responsibilities to properly reflect, along with other creative folk, the concerns and aspirations of the society they inhabit.

“The director must take responsibility for the content of his or her film and this responsibility is not possible without rights,” Szabo said.

A common European contract that addressed both rights and responsibilities at a time when economic crisis and technological development was driving rapid change in the film industry was a key challenge for directors, the federation said.

“We need to explore new models of distribution in order to give European film greater visibility among audiences around the world,” the org said in a statement issued after the Budapest meeting, which was attended by more than 60 directors.

“Creative authorship is a vital area of growth today, but the Internet increases the need to re-establish the link between a work, his or her author and the audience. The federation supports the director’s vision and the daily struggle to maintain the integrity of their work.”