Letter from Plataforma do Cinema

by Porto/Post/Doc / 12 10 2020

Associations and entities from the film and audio-visual sector were convened by SECAM, the  Secretário de Estado do Cinema, Audiovisual e Media (Secretary of State for Cinema, Audio-visuals and Media) and the board of the Instituto do Cinema e do Audiovisual (ICA/ Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual) for a meeting held this Friday, October 9th at the ICA’s premises that aimed to approach the Multiannual Strategic Plan for Cinema and Audio-visuals 2021/25. For this meeting, no documents or guidelines were shared in advance with the participating entities. Following requests by various associations to see the working agenda for the meeting, the ICA’s board announced that it would "unveil the timetable and methodology applied for the development of the multi-annual strategy for cinema and audio-visuals", as well as present the company contracted by SECAM/ ICA to work on the preparation of the Plan.

At the meeting, led by Mr. Nuno Artur Silva for SECAM and the President of the Board of the ICA, Luís Chaby Vaz, the sector’s entities and associations were presented with an agenda that included a presentation by the English consultancy Olsberg SPI – the company contracted –, which revealed its work plan in English, without simultaneous translation of the presentation and without leaving any designated time for questions and answers. By way of reaction, a significant number of participating entities decided to leave the meeting as a form of protest and, consequently, the promoters of the meeting (SECAM and ICA) decided to suspend it.

In view of these events and considering that:

1. The contracting of a foreign company for the task of drawing up the basic studies for the Multiannual Strategic Plan of the sector by SECAM and ICA is in of itself, an evident sign of political belittling inflicted by the tutelage on its own institution and to the sector that it regulates, we, among others;

2. The associations and entities that constitute the Plataforma do Cinema refuse, on principle, to discuss in English with a private company, the Secretary of State and the direction of ICA, the fate of the Portuguese CULTURAL PUBLIC POLICY and, therefore, the promotion of this sector’s activity for the coming years;

3. This initiative, regrettable for its form and content, took place a few days before the discussion and vote (scheduled for Tuesday, October 13) on a Draft Law that aims to amend the Law on Film and Television to accommodate the Directive of the European Parliament and Council, Directive (EU) 2018/1808, in the national legal order;

4. The Draft Law, PL 44/XIV, of a legislative instrument of crucial importance, was presented by SECAM with an unrealistic deadline for public discussion and parliamentary consideration. This fact was unanimously recognised by all the parliamentary groups represented in the Assembleia da República (Portuguese National Assembly) that participated in the discussion;

5. Mr. Nuno Artur Silva of SECAM’s draft law does not provide any sustainable solution to the decrease of the ICA’s revenue, caused by the effects of the pandemic and by the inadequacy of the current Cinema Law considering the contemporary trends in the markets of this sector (advertising in the audio-visual commercial media, subscription to television and Internet services, presence on national territory of large multinationals in the providing of audio-visual services on demand – Netflix, Amazon, HBO, etc.); 

6. It is becoming clear that SECAM intends to delegate the definition of Portuguese public policies for the sector to a private English company in drawing up the most important strategic document for the film and audio-visual sector.

The associations and entities that constitute the Plataforma do Cinema are considering taking the following measures immediately:

1. To call on all parliamentary groups in Assembleia da República to postpone the discussion and voting process for the draft law PL 44/XIV, scheduled for next Tuesday October 13th, as there are clearly no conditions to carry out this task in a serious manner;

2. To request that the Ministra da Cultura (Minister of Culture) discharges the Secretário de Estado do Cinema, Audiovisual e Media (Secretary of State  for Cinema, Audio-visuals and Media) and the board of the ICA, and reopen the process of public discussion of the draft law PL 44/XIV, that can only be enhanced by a prolonged, serious and transparent discussion, a greater consideration of the present and future challenges facing this sector and, above all, a genuine and committed public discussion with the players in this sector.

Plataforma do Cinema is composed of the following associations and entities:

Agência da Curta Metragem
APNEIA – Associação de Produtores do Norte e Empresários Independentes do Audiovisual
Apordoc – Associação pelo Documentário
APR – Associação Portuguesa de Realizadores
Casa da Animação – Associação Cultural
CENA-STE – Sindicato dos Músicos, dos Trabalhadores do Espectáculo e do Audiovisual
Curtas Vila do Conde
PCIA – Produtores de Cinema Independentes Associados
Portugal Film
Queer Lisboa
SINTTAV – Sindicato Nacional dos Trabalhadores das Telecomunicações e Audiovisual

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