Secretary General's May Digest, 2023

Among our many activities in May, we welcomed new Patrons, attended meetings and networked during the Cannes Film Festival and we shared updates about the implementation of SatCab II and the Copyright Directives. 

I hope you are enjoying the spring, just like I am. Last Sunday I put on my sport shoes and a cap and walked for the first time the ‘Brussels 20 km’ with friends. The 5 last kilometers were difficult, but we did it in 4 hours and 7 minutes, which I am proud of! 

I am happy to announce that Weina Zhao (Austria) and Monica Boracco (Norway) are the latest to have joined SAA’s Board of Patrons. At the start of 2023 we made a commitment to make our board more diverse and gender equal. Halfway through the year, we have gone from 24% to almost 40% women represented, we now have authors from almost all the 25 countries where we have CMO members and 5 of the Patrons are in their 30s. Indeed, it is progress, especially considering that only 30% of all authors members of collective management organisations are women. To support our work for authors’ rights, we will continue to improve how we reflect the diversity of screenwriters and directors in Europe!  

May is the month of the Cannes Film Festival. I enjoyed watching a couple of interesting films and moreover I was glad to take part once again in the many interesting meetings and networking occasions with the international and European film sector. The European Parliament was participating with its team of the LUX Audience Award and a delegation of Members of the European Parliament, including Vice-President Evelyne REGNER. The 3 topics that stood out this year were: 

  1. The Commission proposal for a European Media Freedom Actthat is currently being discussed in the Council working party on Audiovisual (Member States’ representatives) and the Culture Committee of the European Parliament. The vote in the Culture committee is planned in September and discussions are ongoing on amendments. You can read the SAA position highlighting that media freedom and pluralism must equal, not undermine audiovisual policies and cultural diversity. 
  2. Artificial Intelligence is a topic discussed most everywhere nowadays. Our French member SACD organised a roundtable on the future of cinematographic creation with AI with interesting contributions from Simon Bouisson, a director who used AI to write a script, Armand Joulin, an AI expert who worked for Meta, Alexandra Bensamoun, a professor of law, Gilles Gaillard, a producer and Laurence Farreng, an MEP. You can read Cineuropa article on the roundtable here.  
  3. The LUX Audience Award was also a hot topic as the European Parliament decided to move the Award ceremony from the EU Parliament in Strasbourg, where it has been taking place since 2007, to the Parliament in Brussels. The Award is a unique opportunity for the Parliament to display its commitment to culture and cinema and casts an annual spotlight on films that go to the heart of the European public debate, and the subtitling of the finalists’ works into all the EU languages allows them to travel widely. You can see the 5 film finalists and rate them here. We have, in partnership with the Federation of European Screen Directors and the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe, been collaborating with the LUX Audience Award since 2014 on the occasion of the ceremony and hope to continue so. This year the award ceremony will be on 27 June.  

Moreover, this month we published two blog posts by our legal officer Evangelos Chatzoulis on the implementation of the SatCab II Directive and the Copyright Directive. If you would like an overview of the legal development for authors’ rights in Europe, I recommend you read them. In short, some Member States are doing a great job by creating a protective legal framework that make sure that authors are fairly remunerated for the exploitation of their works. Other countries unfortunately leave too much leeway to producers and users to do as they please, leaving authors without the legal protection they need. A few countries have not transposed the directives yet.

Lastly, Cineuropa held its annual meeting, and I was pleased to be re-elected President to its Board of Directors. Cineuropa is a non-profit organisation, supported by the EU Creative Europe MEDIA programme, to promote diversity in the European audiovisual industry worldwide. Its publications are made available in 4 languages, with contributions from 40 professionals from across the EU. If you aren’t yet following their news feed, I recommend you subscribe.

I wish you all the best until next month when I get back with some more updates. 

Best regards,

Cécile Despringre

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