Report from the Berlin assembly of FSE

22-02 2010



Sveinbjörn I. Baldvinsson Vice-president of FSE reports:

At the recent general assembly of the FSE in Berlin, the representatives of the Nordic guilds agreed to examine the possibility of hosting the 2nd World Conference of Screenwriters as a joint project.

The annual general assembly of the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe was held in Berlin during the first weekend of the Berlin Film Festival. The FSE once again enjoyed the hospitality and help of the VDD, the German guild, with regard to finding an excellent venue, The headquarters of the collecting society society Ver.Di.

Representatives of all but four member guilds were present and it can be safely said that after a few snags were cleared up regarding the minutes from the last GA, the meeting went ahead in an earnest, informative and pleasent atmosphere, as is usually the case.

The activity report and the financial report were both approved unanimously, as was the plan for action in the coming term.

FSE president Christina Kallas and the other boardmembers presented the activity report, which as so many times before was marked by the central catch-22 of the FSE's existance; many things need to be done, but only a few can be done as effectively as they should be, due to lack of funding.

However, several things have been accomplished and more are in the works.

Obviously the highlight of last year's activity was the historical first World Conference of Screenwriters in Athens last November, which gathered around 200 screenwriters from Europe, North-America and South America for a discussion of common concerns, interests and challenges. The tangible outcome of this enjoyable and informative gathering is a Joint Activity Program of the FSE and the IAWG(International Affiliation of Writers Guilds), which has been adopted by the FSE board along with priorities listed in the FSE Policy Paper.

Regarding the prevailing issue of financing, the board has discussed and tried several possibilities. Apart from upcoming applications to the EU, a new approach to FSE activity, adopted by the board is in the form of launching specific projects, to be executed in co-operation with individual member guilds and hopefully local collecting societies.

This approach met with general enthusiasm by the GA, which agreed to a plan of several projects, with active participation by many, if not most, of the member guilds.

The projects include: Obtaining financing for a lobbyist in Brussels; charting the current practices of remuneration for screenwriters in Europe; The publishing of the texts of both the European Conference of  Screenwriters in Thessaloniki 2006 and the World Conference of Screenwriters in Athens 2009; Publishing of Leaflets(as described in the FSE Policy Paper); The Second World Conference; A mentoring program, etc.

Other projects already in the works include a joint letter to film festivals to encourage them to treat writers respectfully, as suggested at the Athens Conference.

According to the statues of the FSE, no elections were on the agenda and because of the two day schedule, ample time was given to going through the reports from the member guilds, which as always provided both insights into specific national situations and fresh ideas of approaches and strategies in the face of common challenges.

This time the streets and pavements of the German capital were covered with snow, but despite the chilly weather, the GA provided plenty of warmth and energy for the members and the board to bring with them into the future.