Global Producers Express Concerns About Intellectual Property Retention Issues With Streamers – Deadline
A host of global independent producers at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival have expressed concern over the issue of intellectual property retention when working with broadcasters in their local territories and are asking for more agreeable terms. in partnerships.
“You can’t run a business with production costs, you have to run it by exploiting intellectual property,” said Czech producer Filip Bobiñski, co-founder of Dramedy Productions and board member of the European Association of independent producers.
In a panel hosted by Deadline and Ace Producers as part of KVIFF’s Industry Days program, Bobiñski was joined by birdman American producer John Lesher, Rome Mexican producer Nicolás Celis and Polish producer Joanna Szymańska to discuss production opportunities and challenges with streamers in the post-pandemic ecosystem.
While the past few years have seen streamers gradually increase their investment in international projects, independent producers continue to navigate choppy waters when it comes to funding, production and distribution and there are often cases – especially in the small territories – where bullish streaming deals force the hand of independent producers to give up intellectual property and lose any residual long-term benefit.
“In the Czech Republic, we have a lot of content produced here by streamers, but the added value and creative value comes from elsewhere,” Bobiñski said, adding that the territory also faces a problem of incentives, given that the government has announced. would suspend film production incentives this year.
Lesher noted that the intellectual property issue was not specific to European territories: “They are trying to do this in the United States as well. If you have one or two companies dominating a market, prices go up because they compete with each other and once they start dominating the market, they start putting downward pressure on some of these things. I would say that all companies, including in the United States, try to enter into agreements where they own 100% of the intellectual property copyright in the world. »
The challenge, Bobiñski said, would be to ensure that small local territories are not in the crosshairs or at risk of becoming small local producers for hire, hampering the growth trajectory of local industry. . He said that in the case of the Czech Republic, it was imperative that the government flex its muscles and take advantage of the AVMS directive which “gives us the opportunity to convince the state that it is good for the industry and that, legally, it is possible [to leave producers with secondary rights].”
Szymańska said the content boom also poses a difficult challenge for local producers in the current climate.
“There’s not enough response from the industry to form a new quality team because everyone has ambitions to be a producer these days and all of these producers are competing for the money. a streamer,” she says.
However, she pointed her project Operation Hyacinthshe made with Netflix, as being one of the “best experiences” she had as a producer.
“It was an LGBTQ story and nobody really wanted to pick it up, I guess, because there was kind of a ‘controversy’ about it,” Szymańska said. “But Netflix was the partner that said ‘we loved the script, we love the idea of the package and we want to do it. They ordered it as a Netflix Original in 2019.”
She continued: “They have proven to be a super reliable partner who not only helped us develop the story further, but insured us against the repercussions of Covid and provided cash flow, which we really needed. Professionally, it’s the best experience I’ve had so far.
For Celis, who worked with Netflix for Rome, said his experience with the streamer was a big learning curve for him. The Alfonso Cuaron project, which he described as a “totally unique experience”, was buoyed by a big awards push from the streamer, which saw him win an Oscar for Best International Feature Film.
“The big lesson for me with this movie is that if you go with, say, a first-time director, a second-time director, or an internationally renowned director’s film, you’ll probably get lost on the flat. -shape if you don’t have a lot of festival presence and marketing,” he said.
He added: “After RomeI realized Netflix was the best partner for this movie, but you really need to have as many elements as possible and the movie needs to be as strong as possible to go further.