TIFF Issues Statement on Need of Geoblocking at Online Festivals
The Thessaloniki International Film Festival (TIFF) has recently launched a global initiative to encourage the use of geoblocking for competition films. The overall aim is to protect creative works and the festivals themselves in the digital era. With forty international festivals having already signed the plea, TIFF is calling for further signatories to support the plea in order to use geoblocking more widely acros Europe and the World.
The statement issued on June 25 by Thessaloniki International Film Festival reads: "Since the pandemic breakout, most festivals have faced or are bound to face an unprecedented situation. Film production has stalled, cinemas are closed, releases are postponed, markets are paralyzed, technicians and artists are left unemployed and directors see no sign of prospect.
In this weakened environment, film festivals of all sizes and all genres, but also TV and documentary festivals, had to react urgently.
Each of them followed different paths adapted to their industry, their audience, their size, their sponsors and partners. Some decided to digitize all or part of their program, others to cancel or postpone their 2020 edition (...)
For most of us, the digital shift was taken in an emergency, without any predefined course of action, depending on negotiations with rights holders and filmmakers. The abrupt transition to digital did not have time to be the subject of a global consultation between the key players of the audiovisual industry.
We believe that if digital is here to stay, in whatever form and whatever the importance we attribute to it within our programming, we must, in consultation with the filmmakers, producers, sellers, distributors, national and international public institutions, agree on a few rules. We have to protect the ecosystem of the audiovisual industry by guaranteeing a healthy circulation and diversity of audiovisual programs and films, a fair remuneration of rights holders as well as a committed dialogue with the audience
We therefore call for concerted action between the festivals and the industry players likely to be impacted by this digital revolution of non-commercial screening (associations, national and European institutions, representatives of rights holders)."
The actual appeal by TIFF consists of the two points below, which aim to prevent any further weakening of the audiovisual sector:
- Geo-block for the audience the online diffusion of national and international premieres
- Loosen, as much as possible, our rules on international premieres for films that have been recently premiered online
As of early July, forty festivals from across the globe have already signed the plea for a festival pact. The full statement can be read and signed here.
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