As part of its mandate to raise the profile of film and television writers, the IAWG participated in the commissioning of an international study of film festivals to get an accurate picture of the participation level of writers at these important industry events. The survey itself acted as an awareness-raising exercise and resulted in the publication of a report called Written Into The Picture.
As a follow-up, the IAWG adapted the WGA’s film festival checklist for guilds to make available to its members. This document also includes a summary of the WGA Minimum Basic Agreement’s section on creative rights. Writers and/or their representatives who are negotiating contracts are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these guidelines as an excellent example of the kinds of protections that writers can secure for themselves.
Research into the visibility of screenwriting at Film Festivals around the globe has highlighted the need for the screenwriter’s role in filmmaking to be given a higher profile according to an authoritative survey.
The report, launched on Saturday, November 10, 2012 at the World Conference of Screenwriters in Barcelona, illustrated that only half of the film festivals surveyed invited screenwriters to the last edition of their film festival. Financial limitations and wider assumption of the public’s belief in auteurism were found to be key factors in prohibiting Festival’s from including more screenwriters.
Importantly, the survey acted as an awareness-raising exercise to which festivals responded positively; with many seeking to include screenwriters and screenwriting events in further festivals.
The study has led to a greater understanding of the needs and priorities of Festival organizers and opened up a debate within the industry about how these meet these with the mission to educate audiences about filmmaking. 40% of festivals surveyed declared a mission to educate audiences about the process of filmmaking: this report begins a campaign to ensure that the role of screenwriting in the creation of film is clearly articulated at film festivals, impacting on both the industry and public.
The 159 screenwriters surveyed underlined the importance of film festivals for networking, career development and understanding international audience reaction to their work. “Coming from a small country with a small industry, film festivals are hugely important to me,” wrote award-winning screenwriter Jan Forsström.
The research found many Film Festivals around the world to be demonstrating best practice in celebrating the work of screenwriters with Festivals in North-America and the UK proving more supportive than festivals in continental Europe of screenwriting. The top three festivals surveyed for their commitment to exploring screenwriting were:
The report is based on a global survey of film festivals and screenwriters across five regions of the world, sponsored by the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds and the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe.
Read the full report.
For more information please call the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain on 020 7833 0777.
The commissioners of this report are the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds (IAWG) and the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe (FSE) who represent more than 55,000 writers working in film, radio and television on five continents.
A mutual goal of the IAWG and FSE is to broaden the festival spotlight usually cast on directors and actors so that more than the edges alone illuminate writers. Whether Guilds refer members as speakers, or are approached to be sponsors, there are several low to no cost measures that may be negotiated, or at least mentioned, which will increase the writers’ status at such events.
Here is a checklist for Guilds to consider:
The Writers Guild of America Theatrical and Television Basic Agreement (“WGA-MBA”) provides Creative Rights guidelines for contractually covered films that screen at United States film festivals or premieres. Writers and/or their representatives who are negotiating contracts outside of the terms of the WGA-MBA should familiarize themselves with these guidelines as they are an excellent example of the kinds of protections that writers can secure for themselves.
Examples of WGA-MBA creative rights provisions that can be included in your contract are:
If you would like further information on the WGA-MBA Creative Rights provisions, please contact the WGAW Creative Rights Department at 323-782-4741. Please note that the WGA-MBA is subject to change during WGA-MBA negotiations.