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VILNIUS: The Lithuanian parliament has approved an increase in tax incentives from 20 to 30% starting 1 January 2019 as the legislation has been renewed for the next five years.

European and international authors and performers' organisations from all sectors urge Member States to support the much-needed Article -14 providing for fair and proportionate remuneration for authors and performers in the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.

Proposed by the European Parliament and backed by a large majority of its members on 12 September, the opening provision in Chapter 3 sets a fundamental guiding principle for the remuneration of authors and performers, which should be fair and proportionate to the potential and actual value of the transferred or licensed rights.

Capital and business in the cultural and creative industries have long enjoyed a dominant position over authors and creators, who are grossly underpaid for their work and can barely sustain a decent living as freelancers or employees. The overall regulatory environment does not adequately protect them, as the weakest party, it mostly supports the industry.

The core value of the copyright licensing system relies on the creativity of authors and performers. Their remuneration should therefore be at the heart of the industries’ business model and not be considered merely as an adjustment variable.

This is what the European Parliament’s Article -14 aims to acknowledge: that authors and performers must get a fair share of the revenues generated by their work. In light of the unbalanced bargaining position of most authors and performers when discussing their terms and conditions of engagement, various mechanisms exist today to warrant their proportionate remuneration across cultural and creative sectors worldwide. The proportionate remuneration of authors and performers and the principle asserting it must encompass all such mechanisms. Art -14 therefore clarifies that, in addition to implementing the principle of fair and proportionate remuneration in contracts, Member States may provide for additional mechanisms, such as collective bargaining agreements, collective rights management or statutory remuneration mechanisms, to collectively protect authors and performers and address the specificities of each sector and category of creators.

Establishing common remuneration rules mitigates the potential volume of litigation and provides legal security and economic predictability for the cultural and creative industries. Ensuring a level-playing field for European authors and performers is also paramount as global content producers are emerging on the European market. It is therefore a future-proof solution both for Europe’s authors and performers and for the industries as a whole, particularly in the online environment.

As strong supporters of the Parliament’s proposal, we reiterate our calls on EU institutions to safeguard Article -14 and caution against the adoption of any legislation that would marginalise authors and performers or deprive them of a fair and proportionate share of the revenue generated by their work.

It is now up to the Council and Member States to actually deliver on previous general statements in favour of authors and performers. It is time to agree, in the trilogue negotiations, on an Article -14 that will strengthen Europe’s creative community and its cultural wealth in the digital era. 

Association of European Performers’ Organisations, Xavier Blanc, General Secretary
International Council of Music Creators, Eddie Schwartz, President    
International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, Gadi Oron, Director General
European Federation of Journalists, Ricardo Gutierrez, General Secretary    
European Visual Artists, Carola Streul, Secretary General
Federation of European Film Directors, Pauline Durand-Vialle, Chief Executive
International Federation of Actors, Dominick Luquer, General Secretary    
International Federation of Musicians, Benoît Machuel, General Secretary
Federation of Screenwriters in Europe, David Kavanagh, Executive Officer
International Federation of Journalists, Anthony Bellanger, General Secretary    
International Artists Organisation, Nacho Garcia Vega, President
UNI MEI, Johannes Studinger, Head of UNI MEI
Society of Audiovisual Authors, Cécile Despringre, Executive Director    
Writers & Directors Worldwide, Horacio Maldonado, President

MIDPOINT´s feature-length film orientated program Feature Launch offered the post-production follow-up for its alumni project ZANA (writer and director Antoneta Kastrati).
This project was developed within MIDPOINT Feature Launch and has been awarded by the MIDPOINT Development Award of 8.000 EUR.
Moreover, ZANA has been selected to this year´s Works in Progress presentation at connecting cottbus.
First intensive 5-day session of “MIDPOINT Feature Launch 2018 – Editing Residency” has been organized in Prague the first week of December in collaboration with Studio FAMU.

Click here to find out more information about the Editing Residency.

Lithuanian parliament has approved a boost to the country’s film production tax incentive, increasing it from 20% to 30%. The new level will take effect from January 1, 2019 and the legislation has been renewed for the next five-year period.

Country‘s filming profile has been rising in recent years, with high-profile, big-budget. dramas. Lithuania has hosted numerous major  international productions in recent years, including HBO‘s Chernobyl, BBC‘s War and Peace, Netflix’s Tokyo Trial and many more.  During the first 4 year period until 2018, Lithuania received €24.4 million worth of investment from foreign film producers. A total of 68 filmmakers made use of the tax incentive, and 23 international movies benefited from the scheme.

2018 has been a grand year to Lithuanian film industry - expenditure on film production is expected to be total €27 million  with more than €5 million of that amount coming from local businesses.

During the 4 year period when the tax incentive for film production was offered Lithuania managed to entrench itself in the market of audiovisual services exports and successfully compete with both neighbouring and Western European countries. Local film professionals have earned trust of the most prominent film production companies. This enhances the image of the Lithuanian film industry as a reliable partner.

The updated tax incentive is available for fiction films, TV films, documentaries and animation films. At least 80% of eligible film production costs must be incurred in Lithuania and the total amount of eligible spend in Lithuania has to be no less than 43,000 EUR. The incentives has been extended until the end of 2023.

Film Center Serbia announced the latest round of 2018 grants on 5 December 2018.

BUCHAREST: The Austrian company Cineplexx, one of the most important operators in the CEE region, enters the Romanian market and plans to open eight cinemas with an investment of 25 m EUR until 2021. Moreover the company is prospecting a refurbishment project.

On December 3rd at 15:00 Armenian producer Hovhanness Galstyan has started the Huger Strike to show a protest against government injustice towards film project "My Grandma's Locks" - coproduction between Armenia, Bulgaria and Germany.

The Government of Republic of Armenia didn't give promised financing for the film and this fact damaged production plan and stopped the whole production process. 

According to the agreement (13.11.2015 , number 329) signed by National Cinema Center of Armenia and Parallels Film Production Company the film project “My Grandma's Locks “ should get all the financings till the end of 2018 and this didn't happen. In 2018, the Cinema Center has adopted a new Regulation and cancelled its previous responsibilities of financially supporting the film by breaking the law.

The company has filed a lawsuit against The National Cinema Center of Armenia. In case of no guarantees for the fulfillment of responsibilities that were taken by the National Cinema Center by the end of 2018, the international partners and investors of the film will also file a lawsuit against the Republic of Armenia demanding a compensation for the invested money and their losses.

Despite all these obstacles international co-producers from Bulgaria (Vasili Sharkevich, Jelfim) and Germany ( Laura Clever, Clever Production) support their Armenian colleague in this fight and continue to strive for justice. 

Also, one of the main film distributors is the biggest Russian distribution company, who is very interested in implementation of the project and continue to cooperate with production team.

This Hunger Strike is the 1st phase of the consistent battle to publicize the vicious things that have been happening in the State regulation of the Culture for decades and to reform the system of the Film Management in Armenia.

The following grants were announced by the Czech Film Fund on 10 December 2018.

The Macedonian Film Agency announced the second deadline decision for production grants for feature, short, animation films and documentaries on 7 December 2018.

BERLIN: Actors from Estonia, Macedonia, Poland and Serbia are among the ten European Shooting Stars 2019, who will be presented during the Berlinale from 8 to 11 February 2019.