FIAD & Europa Distribution Issue Joint Statement on Covid-19 Impact
European film distributors, represented by Europa Distribution and FIAD - the International Federation of Film Distributors' Associations, have issued a statement highlighting the urgent need for support during the Covid-19 crisis to avoid disruptive long-term effects, not just regarding the film industry and employment situation on the whole but also in view of the EU's commitment to cultural diversity. The main statement and press release can be found in the article below.
Distributors represent the critical link between production and audiences and the closure of cinemas has forced the cancellation and postponement of film releases at a key time with consequences for the entire industry.
The lockdown has already tragically undermined the reach of some potentially important works, and those held back for release post-crisis will have to take their chances in an overcrowded and disrupted market. The lockdown has seriously impacted distribution companies and has implications for the entire film ecosystem, putting at risk:
- Investment in existing and future productions
- The marketing and profile of culturally diverse film, across all platforms
- And the international circulation of film
The much-hyped increase in online film audiences has created a route to release for some films but it only represents a fraction of the revenues generated by a full theatrically-led campaign. Indeed, online success is still heavily linked to successful physical release.
Distributors stand together with the whole value chain to ensure that the film industry survives one of the greatest challenges in its history. Distributors are calling for support at national and European level that will benefit all parts of the film value chain and ecosystem, from employment support measures, tax alleviation measures and anti-piracy action.
However, specific support is required for distributors, including an Emergency Fund and immediate access to the Creative Europe-MEDIA Automatic and Selective schemes grants. The call for such support needs to be understood from a broad perspective, that goes far beyond business since the national and non-national circulation and effective promotion of European films is the keystone of cultural diversity.
Europe’s film distributors, in their role of publishers and promoters, will be among the most important assets in that mission. They are in the front line of sharing and promoting the values and culture of Europe, that will play a crucial role with the recovery. Distributors will also help ensure that European values of diversity, integrity and tolerance can overcome other threats, including a narrow nationalist populism, which may try to exploit a narrative of hate during a difficult recovery.
As citizens emerge from isolation in need of psychological well being, the European Union will need to promote the great strengths of Unity in Diversity and cultural and social cohesion. The essence of European distribution is cultural diversity, connecting and engaging audiences with stories, ideas and values that bring us together and create a better world. That must not be allowed to be a casualty of the Covid-19 crisis.
More information including details on the kind of support that is now needed, can be found on the FIAD website here.
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