The new guard of French cinema is worried about its copyright

A column published in Le Monde on the initiative of the SRF (Society of Film Directors) and signed by a new generation of filmmakers sounds the alarm on the “crumbling” of the rights to broadcast works on video platforms at demand and calls for more transparent legislation in this area.

They are more than 150 signatories, have only a few feature films to their credit and are already among the most important directors of contemporary French cinema: Julia Ducournau (Palme d’Or for Titanium), Audrey Diwan (Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for The event), Xavier Legrand (César for best film and Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival for Up to custody), Filippo Meneghetti (nominated at the Golden Globes for Of them), but also Andréa Bescond (The Tickles), Mati Diop (Atlantic), Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet (The loves of Anaïs), Thomas Bidegain (screenwriter of Stillwater), Samir Guesmi (Ibrahim), Stéphane Demoustier (The girl with the bracelet), David Dufresne (A country that stands wise), Aïssa Maïga (Walk on water) or Arthur Harari (Onoda: 10,000 night in the jungle) – to recite nobody else but them. All are co-signatories of this platform, relayed by Le Monde, which denounces “ the uberization of the majority of fiction and documentary filmmakers “. The latter compare their current working conditions to the economic model that allowed their ancestors to prosper: the rights donated by the SACD (Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers) linked to the broadcasting of works on television, framed by the famous media chronology, have so far allowed the authors ” to live between two films and initiate new writings “. A method of remuneration endangered by the game of VOD platforms.

Louise Orry-Diquéro, Luàna Bajrami and Anamaria Vartolomei in The event © Wild Bunch© Wild Bunch

There where ” a film which passes for the first time on France 2 or France 3 gives rise to copyright allowing to live between ten and thirteen months at the minimum wage », Remind the signatories, the distribution of a work on a platform does not guarantee any fixed amount and depends entirely on the number of views and the quantity of works cataloged. According to this press release, ” a pre-purchase on Netflix would ensure a minimum fixed portion allowing to live between three days and two weeks at the minimum wage ”And four months on average for a film first broadcast on the platform – ie directly after theatrical release – and accumulating 500,000 French views. The filmmakers therefore warn of the peril of a model which has so far succeeded in protecting authors and calls for the creation of a method of remuneration more suited to the distribution of their works on streaming platforms: ” The chronology of the media is closely followed by the entire sector, and we indeed believe that this precise supervision of production and distribution is essential (…) if the minister is indeed that of the artist-authors, then she must propose a framework legislative and transparent regarding our broadcasting rights (…). The impoverishment of authors is not inevitable, it’s a choice of company “.

An impossible agreement?

If the streaming giants (Netflix, Disney + and others) now have financing obligations vis-à-vis French cinema – a total participation estimated at 80 million euros per year – the question of the distribution of works continues to grow. to divide the actors of the audio-visual one, as much on the plan of the remuneration of the authors as on the thorny question of the diffusion of works. On the one hand, video-on-demand platforms are awaiting an overhaul of the media chronology that would allow them to broadcast the films a few months after the theatrical release against the 36 months provided by the media chronology; on the other hand, a historical player like Canal +, committed to donating a substantial portion (12.5%) of its turnover each year to French film production, refuses to give up its exclusivity and is opposed to this reform . The encrypted channel, a subsidiary of the Vivendi group, would also consider drastically reducing its contribution to French cinema (between 71 and 88 million euros of loss) by splitting its offer in two – on the one hand cinema and series, and on the other sports. A forum had already appeared in Le Monde last March where many filmmakers such as Jacques Audiard, Cédric Klapisch, Agnès Jaoui, Claire Denis or Olivier Assayas were opposed to a reform of the media chronology to the advantage of platforms.

At this point, the negotiations still seem to have stalled. The deadline for a new agreement on the chronology of the media, recalled by the Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot at the last ARP Meetings, is set for February 10, 2022.

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The new guard of French cinema is worried about its copyright