The 16th edition of IPIFF – Indie Film Festival for Independent Film Producers, kicked off May 5, bringing film fans the best independent films of the past two years, from seven countries. Thus, until May 8, 2022, at Cinema Muzeul ranului, independent feature films (including animation), feature films and short films (fiction, documentaries and animation) are waiting to be viewed and appreciated. The IPIFF16 jury consists of: Adrian Titieni (actor), Mihai Orășanu (sound engineer and producer), Ioan-Pavel Azap (film critic).
The first day was an opportunity for those wishing to meet, in a master class, with Mihaela Todorac, lawyer and associations of Todorash, and Loreno Opera, General Director of UPFAR-ARGOA – Federation of Romanian Film and Audio Producers – Romanian Association of Audiovisual Business Management, who discussed the protection of the rights of film producers and audiovisual in the context of the new European regulations for the digital single market. Ideas were pointed out about video-on-demand, pay-per-view, and subscription platforms, but also about content-sharing platforms (youtube), and the audience was constantly asking questions, who learned a lot that copyright is a form of intellectual property. Just because someone appears in a video, photo or audio recording does not mean that they own the copyright to that content. Copyright is regulated by Law No. 8/1996 on copyright and related rights. It protects, from a legal point of view, labor – human creation. The law does not provide a definition of human creation, but the enumeration of copyrighted works indicates that any literary writing (of any kind), scientific writing, computer programs, speeches, pleadings, or musical compositions may be considered man-made. From art, as long as it is original. Human creations may also be considered translations, adaptations, and any other transformations of a literary, artistic or scientific work that is an intellectual work of creativity. In addition to originality, it is important that the work be in a concrete and tangible form. Thus, copyright does not protect scientific ideas, theories, concepts and discoveries.
Laurențiu Oprea, General Director of UPFAR-ARGOA – Romanian Federation of Film and Audiovisual Producers – Romanian Association of Audiovisual Opera Administration, answered some questions during the break between events of the Indie Festival of Independent Film Producers.
Loretta Popa: Why is it important to talk about copyright at the Independent Film Producers Festival?
Laureniu Oprah: Film is one of the key areas of the creative industry and we can’t talk about a movie outside of copyright. It is one of those industries that were born, developed and solidified with the support of copyright law. Without strong copyright legislation, we cannot talk about this creative industry: music, film, software, television and all related fields. In the field of film, things are very complex, because we are talking about a very complex intellectual creativity in which we have the contributions of many creators. If in a book we have a work created by one author (usually we have a few authors), in the case of a movie we always have a lot of rights holders. We have actors, we have producers, we have neighboring rights holders, and the success of a film also depends on the copyright assignment contracts. Especially since they are owned. Be careful not to infringe the rights of other owners in order to make the movie. Thus, all copyrights are those that can support the monetization of the use of the film, and the benefit of its success on various types of exploitation. Basically we have an egg and a chicken relationship, a movie can exist and be able to maintain its income primarily because of copyright law.
There are a lot of young people who want to be directors and want to make a movie. Certainly most people are not aware of the legislation. What is the first thing a young man who has just finished directing should think of when he embarks on this journey?
Laureniu Oprah: First of all, they must have their own intellectual creativity, the concept of directing and working with a producer. In general, producers are those who know the law and also have input from professionals who advise them in the legal and copyright field. It is very, very important that the manager initially joins a collective management body where he will find professional help and support, often at no cost. If we are talking about copyright, it is important to register with DACINSARA. This body will help the young director with the necessary advice to enter the field, with those related to the registration of the work. It is important for him to have evidence that he recorded his work, and therefore the value, for income from the benefits that his work brings to the categories of rights for which the law provides for mandatory collective management. Producers of audiovisual recordings must also register with UPFAR-ARGOA, which manages the rights of film producers, and will also benefit from the assistance, as well as a reimbursement method for the use of work and production.
Can the director be considered the main author of the work and that he decides everything related to making a film?
Laureniu Oprah: Copyright law states that in audiovisual productions we have a lead author, the person who directs, who coordinates the audiovisual creation, and that lead author is either the director or the director. Usually in film production is the director, television production, audiovisual production, director. It is a role assigned by law and it is the person who decides when the work is ready, double 1, 2, 3 … 5, 7, which includes additional costs for the product. The director decides when the film is ready, he is the only one who can oppose the use of the work as a whole. The director plays a very important role.
Let’s say you were in a movie, but for various reasons, you didn’t sign any contract, nothing. You worked, you appeared in the movie, but you are not generic and you are not rewarded in any way. What are your rights and what can you do in such cases?
Laureniu Oprah: Copyright has two broad categories of rights: moral rights and property rights. Moral rights are precisely those related to the recognition of authorship, including by mentioning them in the year and these rights cannot be limited by contracts, they are absolute rights, they cannot be infringed, and the author always has the right to use these rights in order to be recognized, first of all something, as an author. Copyright embezzlement is a crime under Roman law. In practice and through criminal proceedings, the author has the right to be recognized as the offender. I don’t think this is the practice in Romania, that everyone steals from everyone or copyright is blatantly violated, I think we have a mature market and, in general, the correct high-performance audiovisual production area is the majority in the Romanian market. I think things have evolved a lot. The assignment of rights can only be established by a written contract. If there is no written contract, the producer is the one who will not be able to defend himself in the event of a lawsuit and will not be able to win. The law somehow protects the weaker party with less chance of interaction between producer and author, specifically through this mandatory requirement, to obtain a written contract of assignment.
What is the significance of the Independent Film Producers Festival?
Laureniu Oprah: It is a tradition to support this festival. I hope this year’s edition will have a more significant engagement. Last year was a pandemic-dominated release due to the restrictions on the spread of the coronavirus. I think this is a very useful thing for the market.
The Best Production Awards in each category will take place on Sunday 8 May 2022 from 18.00 at the Odeon Theatre. Admission to performances at the Peasant Museum Cinema is free, and admission to the Awards Ceremony at the Odeon Theater is by invitation only.