Country Focus: Greece
Greek feature-film and documentary guilds launch Creators Under Threat
by Joseph Proimakis
- The Greek Documentary Association and the Film Directors-Producers Guild of Greece have joined forces to launch the Creators Under Threat movement (CUT), which aims to draw attention to what they are referring to as a direct threat to the viability of the Greek audiovisual sector.
The cause of their financial woes, said guild representatives in a joint press conference on Tuesday, is rooted in the abrupt shutdown of local national broadcaster ERT last summer. “Once the government’s decision to dismantle ERT was implemented, all of its financial obligations were transferred to National Television,” explains their joint statement, referring to the new broadcasting entity set up by the Ministry of Finance as a transitional measure after ERT’s demise.
Ever since, the Ministry has delayed fulfilling its obligations to independent producers and creators, both for work that has already been delivered and royalties for audiovisual works broadcast by ERT. “It’s not some sort of grant that we’re expecting; it’s payment for work that we’ve done and delivered,” adds documentarian Anneta Papathanasiou.
Another facet of the affair was highlighted by the open letter sent out by Panos H. Koutras on Monday (see news) regarding his film Xenia, which is in danger of losing its EURIMAGES funding owing to the Ministry’s apparent unwillingness to follow through on ERT’s commitments. Referring to the issue, producer Markos Holevas notes, “The only thing that seems to rattle them is when the image that they project to Europe and their EU counterparts is involved.”
To that end, the guilds are planning a set of actions during the upcoming Thessaloniki Documentary Festival in order to promote their cause. “We won’t turn against the festival, of course,” notes Greek Documentary Association spokesperson Angelos Kovotsos, adding, “We need to let the press, as well as our international colleagues, know about the situation we’re facing.”