In the face of continued disruption of creative markets, a list of more than 80 notable European directors today issued a call at the Cannes International Film Festival for “internet giants” to invest more in the region’s film scene.
Cannes has already been swirling with controversy this year due to the inclusion of two Netflix original films that had not previously been screened in movie theaters. This stoked fears that Netflix, and other video streaming services, would continue to upset a carefully balanced system that exists across many European countries, collecting money from theater tickets and cable subscriptions to fund original films.
The members of La Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques, or SACD, made it clear they felt these new streaming services offered new opportunities for European creatives. But they remain nervous about the risks.
“This new digital environment that awaits us with open arms is full of promise and hope,” they wrote. “It is also full of high stakes for the creators.”
At the same time, the members said they wanted companies such as Facebook, Google, Apple, and Netflix (which they did not name specifically) to contribute more to these financing systems, whether voluntarily or by better enforcing existing taxation rules.
“Europe has to guarantee a better match between tax collection and the location where works are shown,” they wrote. And in a nice little dig at Silicon Valley, they wrote: “Europe is not the Wild West, without faith or laws. It has to apply the same laws to all broadcasters, platforms, sharing sites, or social networks.”
Likewise, SACD members are currently nervous about European Union efforts to reform copyright laws as part of a push toward a Digital Single Market. The EU wants to make it easier for residents to watch their content, downloaded or streamed, across Europe.
The directors are worried that the breaking of geographic markets will also reduce protections for their work, as well as the collection of taxes that finance films.