In a joint statement released today, international film festivals, trade organisations and unions of the global film industry call national authorities and regional institutions across the globe, including in the European Union, for immediate relief measures for 2020 operations and an exceptional post-Covid strategy for international film festivals to safeguard the existing film festivals ecosystem at national, regional and global level.
Since March, spring festivals have been obliged to cancel or postpone their 2020 editions, while the festivals due to be held later in the year have to play it by ear. Uncertainties, delays and extra costs caused by Covid-19 have created severe challenges for the festivals ecosystem’s sustainability. For those that will be able to take place physically, the likely reduced attendance resulting both from the sanitary measures to be set up and the difficulty in travelling will have a cost.
International film festivals are not only important contributors to the cultural, economic and social development of the territories where they are established, but they are also an essential link in the film industry chain, as they offer international outreach for films, distribution deals opportunities, reviews in the press and audience attention.
This significant economic weight of international film festivals needs to be preserved with dedicated measures and a firm commitment from local, national and regional decision-makers in accompanying festivals’ Covid-related transition – whether they can or cannot operate in 2020 – and their future operations from 2021 onwards.
What is needed?
Where such measures have not been already decided, signatories call national authorities and regional institutions across the globe, including in the European Union, for immediate relief measures for 2020 operations and an exceptional post-Covid strategy for international film festivals to safeguard the existing film festivals ecosystem at national, regional and global level.
Matthew D. Loeb, Intl. President of IATSE and chair of UNI MEI said: “We stand with the Festivals, and festival workers, who have been hit hard by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Public support now and beyond COVID-19 is vital for the sector as well as cities and regions where festivals are creating, year after year, economic activity and jobs in other services industries.”
“Film festivals are of great importance for the film industry and play a key role in the complex ecology of the sector. Support to sustain their activity post-COVID-19 is an economic as well as cultural imperative: the platform they offer does not only facilitate the promotion of bigger productions but is also vital for low budget films, new talents and creations to reach an audience and access the film market” said Johannes Studinger, head of UNI MEI.
UNI Global Union – media, entertainment & arts is a co-signatory of this Call to policy-makers from 41 international film festivals and trade associations.
Download the full statement here.