The International Affiliation of Writers Guilds (IAWG) was established in 1986 to address the globalization of the entertainment industry and improve the working conditions of professional film and television writers worldwide through collective action, mutual support and common representation internationally. Its member guilds work on behalf of 50,000 writers in the areas of collective bargaining, standard contracts, credit disputes, government lobbying, and the promotion of the essential role of the writer as first creator in the filmmaking process.
Originally formed by guilds from English-speaking countries, today the IAWG includes members from the Film Writers Association (Mumbai), La Guilde Française des Scénaristes (France), the New Zealand Writers Guild, the Scriptwriters Guild of Israel, the Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma (Québec), the Writers Guild of America, East, the Writers Guild of America, West, the Writers Guild of Canada, the Writers Guild of Great Britain, Verband Deutscher Drehbuchautoren (the Writers Guild of Germany), and the Writers Guild of Ireland. Associate members include Sección de Autores y Adaptadores de Trabajadores de la Producción Cinematográfica (Mexico), and the Writers Guild of South Africa. Links to member web sites can be accessed by clicking on the relevant logo.
In 2009, the IAWG strengthened its relationship with the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe at the first World Conference of Screenwriters in Athens, Greece. Since then, the two groups have converged in Barcelona, Spain (2012) and Warsaw, Poland (2014).
Through financial, professional, and collegial support, the IAWG plays a mentoring role in assisting emerging guilds in their development and helps to build professional working relationships among more established organizations. Its annual general meetings focus on the exchange of information on bargaining strategies, developments in technology, legislation, the work of collecting societies, and copyright law. The realization that writers’s struggles are universal in nature is in itself empowering.
In what proved to be its most significant action, in November, 2007, the IAWG co-ordinated an International Day of Solidarity in support of the WGA strike against multi-national media conglomerates. Writers demonstrated in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, English and French Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico and France.
“Their fight is our fight,” asserted Rebecca Schechter, President of the Writers Guild of Canada. “Screenwriters around the world are entitled to receive their fair share of revenues from the internet, and that is what our American colleagues are fighting for.”
Katharine Way, Chair, Writers Guild of Great Britain, argued that “The future of our industry is shifting toward new media. Writers have always had to fight for a small share of the revenues generated from their work and this case is no different.”
Audrey O'Reilly, Chair, Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild, added that “Our solidarity means that no self-respecting screenwriter in any country will undermine the US strike. The overwhelming majority of our members will never take work from striking American colleagues because the fight now taking place in the US is a fight for screenwriters across the globe.”
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