European Film, TV Bodies Unite to Call for Action in Tackling ‘Profound’ Coronavirus Crisis

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Over 50 European film and TV organizations have issued a joint statement this morning calling for E.U. and member state decision-makers to take urgent action to safeguard the future of the sectors in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The statement has been co-signed by 51 organizations and companies including producers’ alliance Pact, the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), the MPA’s Europe, Middle East & Africa arm, the Film Distributor’s Association, the International Federation of Film Producers (FIAPF), the Premier League, the Independent Film & Television Alliance, and the International Video Federation (IVF).

The timing of the joint statement is significant as it comes just ahead of a video conference this afternoon between E.U. ministers of culture and media on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the culture and creative sectors.

The statement says it wants action to follow in the footsteps of initial emergency measures announced at national level, including by film funds and other bodies.

“We are facing a profound crisis for creativity and culture in Europe — for businesses and for individuals. Our sector is at the heart of Europe’s cultural, creative and social identity and a key contributor to the European economy and employment; immediate intervention is therefore crucial and indeed strategic for European and national unity going forward.”

The text says that without a firm commitment from European and national leaders, the film and audiovisual sector in Europe will not recover from the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus health crisis.

“Our sector could play a major role in the healing and recovery process that our societies are going to face in the months and years ahead — but only if its basic infrastructure can be saved.”

It explains that the film and AV industry is characterized by its project-based nature and irregular business cycles, describing a vast interconnected eco-system from project development through creation, financing, production, exhibition, distribution, and all forms of broadcasting.

The organizations say the negative impact of the pandemic will not stop when normal activities resume in their societies, but will continue through the medium to long-term due to the long development and lead time nature of the sector.

“Although gathering around screens at home has contributed to a sense of unity during the crisis, this has not stopped the current wave of mass job and income losses in the film and audiovisual sector, nor will it translate into recovery of investments, simple resumption of interrupted production, exhibition or distribution activities, or indeed funding for development of future projects,” reads the statement.

“What is needed? Urgent financial support now and in the months to come to safeguard the existing film and audiovisual eco-system and the future of the sector in Europe which is suffering grievously because of valid social distancing measures and related societal consequences. The crisis in our sector will be felt way beyond the confinement period.”

Signatories also include Audiovisual Producers Finland (APFI), the European Producers Club (EPC), the Federation of Screenwriters Europe (FPE), the International Federation of Actors (FIA), La Liga, Europa Cinemas, and the Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA).