August 27, 2020
Update: The IFTA office remains closed as a precaution against COVID-19 with our staff continuing to work remotely from home. We are all available by email and phone to assist you during this time.
Advocating for Independents
Since the pandemic began, IFTA has been deep in the details to understand the industry and the Independents’ need to re-start and working on measures to get there. As always, IFTA continues to advocate for independents. Most recently the organization has taken the following actions:
In the U.S., IFTA is at the forefront of the production insurance issue throughout the industry, on the Hill, and in the media: IFTA has emerged as the most vocal of advocates for a federal insurance solution to fill the “communicable disease gap” evident in new policies. Working with Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s (D-NY) staff and other Hill offices, “film and television production” have been included in the recently-introduced Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (PRIA). The drafters’ intention is to cover business interruption insurance and the key aspects of Cast/Essential Elements insurance as part of a broad, all-industry package with federal insurance kicking in as excess insurance for pandemic-related claims in the future. The introduction of PRIA in Congress is a first step to what likely will be a lengthy negotiation amongst Congressional members.
IFTA has spoken out about this several times in the last few months as an expert source and educating various sectors on what the Independents need to get films financed and into production. Representative Carolyn Maloney will hold a roundtable for decision-makers on Capitol Hill in early September. IFTA’s CEO, Jean Prewitt, has accepted the invitation to speak at the event.
IFTA appeared along with its members Nicolas Chartier (Voltage Pictures) and Brian O’Shea (The Exchange) in the July 9 Reuters article Lack of insurance threatens supply of Hollywood films, TV shows in 2021 which garnered attention in D.C. and was picked up by other leading media, including FOX News and The New York Times. Deadline, THR, Variety have all also covered the topic with input from IFTA.
While the U.S. debates on recovery continue, other countries have begun to respond to the production industry’s needs with bespoke insurance solutions funded in full or in part by the government. France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, the UK, and Australia have all announced bespoke programs to cover re-start costs (and in some cases losses) associated with COVID 19 stoppages, while others including Canada, are considering proposals.
In early July, IFTA and eleven other organizations from news, sports, and entertainment fields, including the DGA, MPA, NAB, NASCAR, National Football League, PGA and SAG, called on key Congressional Leaders for continued support in moving forward legislative solutions to secure insurance coverage for pandemic-related work stoppages - a key factor in the effective re-start and recovery of these respective entertainment-related industries which employ millions of American workers. Read the full letter here.
IFTA and the MPA also joined with SAG-AFTRA, the DGA, and IATSE to seek Congressional action on tax and insurance measures to support resumption of film production and employment activity. The joint letter was sent to Congress on June 29 and also received coverage and support from the media: THR, Variety, Screen.
Through our membership in FIAPF and the international film community, IFTA has participated in the outreach to the European political and funding bodies to advocate for substantial financial support for the industry, despite potential cuts in programs specific to the creative industries. In the U.K., IFTA and IFTA’s members have been active in industry-government consultations and in framing the case for the U.K.’s independent producers and sales agents who are essential to the task of getting British film and television exports flowing again.
IFTA Continues to Press House Judiciary Committee for Notice-and-Staydown on Section 512 Roundtable
On August 13, Eric Cady, IFTA Senior Counsel, participated in a bipartisan video conference roundtable with House Judiciary Committee Staff to discuss the Copyright Office’s recently issued Report on Section 512 of the Copyright Act. Section 512 is the basis of the U.S. “notice and take-down” system for infringing works online and the Report marks the first government study of the effectiveness of the system since its enactment over twenty years ago.
In general, IFTA was pleased with the Report’s conclusion that the balance between rightsholders and ISPs that Congress originally intended in 1998 has “tilted askew.” They also agreed with its observation that, “the shift…has resulted in an increasing burden on rightsholders to…monitor and enforce their rights online, while providing enhanced protections for ISPs”.
IFTA has long been on the record calling for a rebalanced approach to the Section 512 system through legislation that provides a notice-and-staydown framework, incentivizing all stakeholders in today’s high-speed digital ecosystem to take effective and rapid action against online piracy. While the Report falls short of suggesting a full-scale rework of Section 512, it may motivate Congress to act in this important area.
On the Senate side, the Judiciary Committee’s IP Subcommittee has embarked on a series of related hearings throughout 2020 with the goal of crafting new legislation to modernize the DMCA system for today’s internet.
IFTA Welcomes Buyers to AFM 2020 Online with Complimentary Access
The American Film Market announced that all Accredited Buyers will receive complimentary credentials for AFM 2020 Online, taking place November 9 - 13, hosted by IFTA. Registration is now open at AmericanFilmMarket.com. Details on sessions and events will be unveiled shortly. See the full press release here as well as coverage by Variety, Screen and Deadline.
Ongoing List of Worldwide COVID-19 Film Production Guidelines
To help you stay informed, IFTA and AFM are continuing to track COVID-19 production guidelines all over the globe as countries open their doors to film production.
View our running list of current Worldwide COVID-19 Film Production Guidelines here. We are updating this resource frequently with relevant information as it becomes available, so check back often.
IFTA Pavilion at FILMART Online 2020
IFTA has a significant presence at FILMART Online, taking place now through August 29, with 40 member companies from around the globe exhibiting as part of our official IFTA Pavilion. The companies include:
Adler & Associates, AMBI Distribution, American Cinema International, Arclight Films, The Asylum, Blue Fox Entertainment, Cardinal XD, Cinema Management Group, CineTel Films, CMC Films Inc., Epic Pictures Group, The Exchange, Film Mode Entertainment, Filmexport Group s.r.l., Foresight Unlimited, Glass House Distribution, High Fliers Films, Highland Film Group, Independent, Indie Rights, International Film Trust (IFT), KOAN, Lakeshore Entertainment, MarVista Entertainment, Myriad Pictures, Octane Entertainment, Odin's Eye Entertainment, Premiere Entertainment, Princ Films, Screenbound, Screen Media, Summer Hill Entertainment, TBA Studios, TriCoast Worldwide, Troma Entertainment, Vision Films, VMI Worldwide, Voltage Pictures, WaZabi Films, and XYZ Films.
Visit The Film Catalogue to see a lineup of films, TV programming, and projects available at FILMART. Wishing everyone attending FILMART a successful Market.