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EPC appeals for EC coronavirus aid

The European Producers Club (EPC) in Paris is appealing to the European Commission (EC) and the governments of European Union (EU) states to help protect the audiovisual industry during the coronavirus pandemic.

With much of Europe now under some form of lockdown, productions being put on hiatus and freelance staff losing work, the EPC has outlined 10 measures it wants to see the EC and governments bring in to help protect the industry.

In a statement on its website, the European Producers Club said: “This industry is made up largely of small companies and both creative and technical freelancers, making it very fragile in the corona crisis.

“This lockdown results in the immediate cancellation of hundreds of productions in shootings phases, disruption in cashflow and the to-be-expected bankruptcies of production companies.

“As a domino effect, it will impact the industry as a whole: all creators-freelancers with no job tomorrow nor any social security; technical suppliers, advertisement agencies, publicity agents, theatres, altogether millions of employees.

“All this will happen very fast and will cause an irreversible breach in European audiovisual creativity with dramatic consequences that are difficult to overestimate, especially since the duration of the suspension period is yet unknown.”

For projects in distribution, the EPC wants to see a European and state scheme to compensate those with stakes in affected European content. This includes producers and distributors, covering losses from reduced box office revenues and presales not fulfilled, as well as promotional campaigns.

It also wants the rules surrounding the release of cinema films through online platforms relaxed, allowing producers and distributors of movies to continue to make money.

For projects in preproduction and production, national governments are being called upon to establish emergency funds and interest-free loans to cover payments to freelance staff, cast, crew and suppliers.

The EPC is also asking for European and state guarantees for insurance companies to help cover the suspension of production and to cover all producers’ coronavirus-related risks, so productions can restart as soon as possible.

Financiers, broadcasters and platforms are being asked to release producers from contractual deadlines and extend the validity of their financing decisions until the suspension is over.

Authorities are being asked to delay tax, social security and other direct or indirect taxes related to shooting and production companies, and to suspend repayments of loans taken by producers in state and commercial banks.

For projects in development, the EPC wants a public funding system to be established to maintain business as usual, without interruption, online if needed, and to provide increased development funding that secures stability for project teams.

Public and commercial broadcasters and OTT platforms are being pressured to continue and increase development in solidarity with the industry, to allow it to get back on track quickly.

Finally, the EPC wants to promote the acquisition by broadcasters and platforms of library content from European producers, with fair compensation, to fill the gaps that the closing of cinemas and productions plus increased online use will generate.


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