Secretary General’s February Digest, 2023

In February, we were back to the Berlinale, we closed the SAA 2022 accounts and prepared our upcoming General Assembly meeting. We welcomed filmmakers from Romania, Slovenia and Croatia to our Board of Patrons and organised an online event with authors and experts from Latin America and Europe on audiovisual authors’ rights.

In February we announced three new additions to the SAA Board of Patrons: Sebastian Voinea, Romanian film and TV director, Špela Čadež, Slovenian animation director, and Dalibor Matanić, Croatian film and TV director. As I mentioned already last month, we are making an active outreach to our member organisations to invite additional Patrons to enhance the diversity in terms of female authors, young authors, authors from different genres, non-Western regions, etc.

February was the Berlinale again after 3 years of absence! The festival is not only about screenings but also a hub for the audiovisual industry to meet. My colleague Annica and I went to Berlin for the SAA board of directors’ meeting on 17 February, kindly hosted by our German member VG WORT. I stayed on for another couple of days to attend events, conferences, meet colleagues and friends and make new contacts. Among my activities, I chaired the Cineuropa General Assembly meeting as I am the President of the board of directors for now. I joined an interesting seminar by the European Commission announcing their – soon to be released – findings of a new ‘Media Outlook’ survey that asked about European audience behaviours and preferences. Moreover, the European Parliament’s LUX Audience Award organised an interesting seminar about empowering young generations of European filmmakers and cinema goers, with the participation of a few Members of the European Parliament.

A part of my work is to support SAA members if they need European backing when advocating their national governments to efficiently implement European copyright legislation and better protect audiovisual authors. The SAA does this by e.g., sending letters to their decision makers or participating in high-level meeting together with our members. This month we published an open letter to the Polish authorities calling for support to the Polish model of statutory remuneration for audiovisual authors to be extended to on-demand usages. I also took part in an online meeting with the North Macedonia authorities to put pressure on them to lift the obstacles that prevent AZAS, the collective management organisation for audiovisual authors, performers and producers to start collecting royalties. When they become operational, AZAS can get reciprocal agreements with CMOs in other countries and become eligible to apply for the SAA membership.

February was also very much about internal administration to prepare for the general assembly meeting: with my hard-working team, we finalised the annual activity report and passed the audit of the 2022 accounts. I was pleased that auditor had no remark, and it is always a good exercise to look back and remind us of how much we accomplished in a year!

In case you missed our online event on 1st March organised together with CISAC and FESAAL about audiovisual authors’ rights in Europe and Latin America, we will soon share the recording. The event was a big success with two hundred participants from all over the world. SAA Patrons Urša Menart and Aleksander Pietrzak were among the speakers: they shared their experience of intense advocacy to improve audiovisual authors’ rights in Slovenia and Poland. You can watch their testimonies here.

Before the general assembly meeting on 21 March, we have been organising the meetings of our three working groups with SAA members to discuss the implementation of the Copyright Directive, the retransmission right, and equality and diversity.

Upcoming, on 28 March, we will be partnering with the European Film Agencies and the Swedish EU Presidency for a screening of “Breaking Social” by Fredrik Gertten, who will be joining us at Cinema Galeries in Brussels (EU institutional officials and politicians, as well as relevant stakeholders will receive an invitation), and some tickets will also be on sale at Cinema Galeries.

My 3 reading tips:


Best regards,

Cécile Despringre