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ICA jury selection creates rift between Portuguese government and film sector


- A new amendment to the Film Law regarding the selection of the juries for the ICA’s support schemes is causing quite a stir in the Portuguese film industry

ICA jury selection creates rift between Portuguese government and film sector

Eight Portuguese professional associations gathering together film producers, directors and festivals are currently questioning a new amendment to the Film Law, which relieves the national film body, the ICA, of the task of choosing the juries for its numerous financial support schemes.

In a common statement sent to the LUSA news agency, the professionals declare their staunch opposition to the amendment, which, they argue, does not match the professionals’ expectations, as it reinforces the powers of SECA (a Portuguese acronym standing for the Specialised Section for Cinema and Audiovisual) when it comes to selecting the juries. SECA is merely a consulting body with a seat in the National Council for Culture.

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The new version of the forthcoming law – recently sent to film and audiovisual professionals, and still to be approved by the Council of Ministers – states that the names proposed for the various juries must be “submitted for the approval of SECA”. A draft previously sent to the sector mentioned that such a decision would be the exclusive remit of the ICA.

The jury selection for the ICA’s various support schemes has been a recurring controversial issue over the last few years. Several professionals claim that SECA should not propose the jury members’ names to the ICA, owing to a potential conflict of interest, as some of SECA’s members “are directly or indirectly interested in the results of the schemes” – as mentioned in the statement signed by the APCI (Independent Film Producers' Association), the Portuguese Directors' Association, the Short Film Agency, Portugal Film, APORDOC, and the IndieLisboa, DocLisboa and Vila do Conde Curtas festivals.

The jury-list approval process is part of the ICA’s annual plan for support schemes; the one for 2017 has not yet been announced, owing to the pending amendment.

Professionals will continue to question the government’s proposals and are not ruling out some form of intervention at the upcoming Berlinale, where Portuguese cinema will be represented by a contingent of five titles: Teresa Villaverde’s competition entry Colo [+see also:
film review
interview: Teresa Villaverde
film profile
(read more) and four short films (João Salaviza’s Altas Cidades de Ossadas, Salomé LamasCoup de Grâce, Diogo Costa Amarante’s Cidade Pequena and Gabriel AbrantesOs Humores Artificiais).

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