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MIA's webinar proves the future of the sector also depends on the big platforms


- In a webinar hosted by Rome’s MIA Market, several European producers discussed possible ways of getting the industry back on its feet

MIA's webinar proves the future of the sector also depends on the big platforms
(l-r) Alvaro Longoria, Alexandra Lebret, Giannandrea Pecorelli, Marta Donzelli, Carole Scotta and Jonas Dornbach

“Back to the Future: Post-lockdown scenarios for audiovisual production”: This was the title of the webinar held on Thursday 14 May and organised by Rome’s MIA Market (14 -8 October 2020), in collaboration with EAVE and EPC; a panel which saw various European producers discuss different options for getting the sector up and running again, moderated by journalist Nick Vivarelli.

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One industry professional hoping to resume filming in July is Giannandrea Pecorelli, who, by way of his company Aurora TV, produces the RAI TV series Il Paradiso delle signore, one of the many Italian sets shut down by the health crisis: “since 6 March, we’ve been looking for a way out of this situation which would comply with the social distancing and personal safety guidelines set out by the government. We have developed highly detailed production protocols which we will use on set, off set and on location, and which also include a Covid-19 supervisor. We’ve also agreed specific protocols with trade unions for each region”, Pecorelli explains. “The real problem relates to the actors, who have to wear masks if they’re less than a metre apart, and the question of insurance, because broadcasters like RAI want to leave this up to producers.”

Italian producer for Vivo Film Marta Donzelli suggests a model in which the risks are shared by all the players; not just by producers, but also by broadcasters and financial funds: “in the worst case scenario, where we can’t see productions through to the end, we should have the comfort of knowing we won’t lose all our money.”

In Germany, a number of sets are already back up and running, insists Jonas Dornbach of Komplizen Film: “They’re the ones which are supported by platforms or broadcasters who have their own insurance or who even take on all the risk. Independent producers, on the other hand, are stuck; although there are some who are thinking of resuming activities without insurance”.

In terms of the possibility of some sort of funding for insurance, as provided by several countries in the wake of 9/11, the president of the European Producers Club and producer for Morena Films Alvaro Longoria explains that there are two ideas on the table at present. One is to create a fund which “ensures insurance”, while the other is “to take the place” of insurers, also through the setting up of funds, an option several other countries such as France and Germany have already taken: “they don’t use insurance; if something happens they can turn to these funds”.

The Italian government has just approved a package of measures lending further support to the audiovisual industry: “I hope this doesn’t lead to the cancellation, by way of compensation, of the automatic, selective funds which we fought for for so many years and which lend our European system so much balance”, warns Marta Donzelli, similarly reminding us of the increase in tax credit - up from 30% to 40% - that has been introduced so as to cover the greater expenses involved in observing the new protocols.

Global streamers could and should make a contribution towards the European economy, suggests Carole Scotta of Haut et Court, who describes these platforms as “the big winners of the crisis, who should pay taxes in the European countries in which they operate as well as investing directly in their economies, and not just via local production which is something we were already doing before the crisis”.

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(Translated from Italian)

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