14-05-2020

Romanian Filmmakers Propose Measures To Prevent Collapse of Film Industry

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BUCHAREST: More than 230 Romanian film companies, 20 film associations and 35 filmmakers have come up with a plan for saving the local film industry from breakdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are appealing to the President, the Prime Minister and the Ministers of Finances, Economy and Culture to declare a Cultural Emergency Situation in Romania.

Ada Solomon, photo: Alex GalmeanuAccording to the plan, the first measure to be taken is the immediate revival of the Cash Rebate scheme, which was halted in November 2019. The Ministry of Economy, Energy and Business Environment was supposed to take over the management of the cash rebate scheme from the National Commission for Prognosis by February 2020, but the take-over was delayed by the pandemic and then sidelined. Filmmakers believe that the state should immediately allocate the budget of 50 m EUR for 2020 and the call for applications should take place no later than 15 June 2020. In addition, they request that an Emergency Ordinance sustains the cash rebate scheme for another three years.
 
The second most important measure is the immediate initiation of a Protection and Prevention Fund to balance the pandemic's effects (a fund estimated at 1.03 m EUR / 5 m RON for 2020), which would be managed by the Romanian Film Centre, as well as the initiation of a Backup Insurance Fund (estimated at 1.68 m EUR / 10 m RON) for accidental blockages during the shooting, which would be managed by the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Business Environment, and which should be open for domestic and international productions.

Romanian filmmakers are also proposing the elaboration of the legislative conditions to require the VoD platforms which are active in Romania but don’t have a Romanian branch (Netflix, HBO, Amazon) to contribute to the domestic production through the Film Fund managed by the Romanian Film Centre.

They also urge the political power to regulate the copyright legislation for authors and performing artists so as to allow the collection from monetised online distribution, and also to enhance the digitalisation process of administrative procedures in the film industry.

“Film industry is not only a cultural domain, but also an economic one, which cannot produce and cannot sell its products at the present time or in the near future,” the appeal says.

“From the very first day of the quarantine, I started to look into what is to be done to have things getting back on track as smooth as possible. I was consulting with friends in Romania and having video-conferences with friends from around the world to understand what and how is to be done. I was getting more and more frustrated seeing that in other countries the authorities are taking care of the film community and find solutions together”, Ada Solomon, who initiated this enterprise together with fellow producers Iuliana Tarnovețchi and Oana Prața, told FNE.

„At home our CNC not only didn’t even ask us what we need and how they can help, they kind of slowed down and postponed everything. Meanwhile, considering the call of our President for the restart of the economy, we decided that it was no time for lamentation, but time to contribute. That was why we started to put together solutions that are easy to be implemented and that are not costly. There are more proposals to get the tools in place functional and sort out non-bugetary sources for our Film Fund. The big satisfaction is the wide response of the community towards the proposals and it is already a big success that we united our forces into one voice that is eventually heard”, Ada Solomon also said.

The Romanian Film Centre (CNC) was not involved in this initiative. Anca Mitran, the head of the CNC, told FNE that the Romanian Film Centre was not consulted and that it holds a different opinion on the matter, which was already presented to the Ministry of Culture.