03 September 2020

Call to policy-makers from 41 international film festivals and trade associations

Why Film Festivals Matter?
Call to policy-makers from 41 international film festivals and trade associations

The film industry has been severely hit by Covid-19 with film shooting interrupted, film distribution
frozen and cinemas closed. International Film Festivals across the globe have been also strongly
impacted by the current crisis.

Since March, spring festivals have been obliged to cancel or postpone their 2020 editions, while the
festivals due to be held later in the year have to play it by ear. Uncertainties, delays and extra costs
caused by Covid-19 have created severe challenges for the festivals ecosystem’s sustainability.

For those that will be able to take place physically, the likely reduced attendance resulting both from
the sanitary measures to be set up and the difficulty in travelling will have a cost.

International film festivals are not only important contributors to the cultural, economic and social
development of the territories where they are established, but they are also an essential link in the
film industry chain, as they offer international outreach for films, distribution deals opportunities,
reviews in the press and audience attention.

This significant economic weight of international film festivals needs to be preserved with dedicated
measures and a firm commitment from local, national and regional decision-makers in accompanying
festivals’ Covid-related transition - whether they can or cannot operate in 2020 - and their future
operations from 2021 onwards.

Signatories are international film festivals as well as trade organisations and unions representing the
film industry, including FIAPF representing film producers worldwide and acting as the regulator for
international film festivals that gathers 45 festivals from 29 countries over the five continents.

Why the film festivals’ ecosystem must be supported to mitigate the Covid effects?

>> Film Festivals matter for their cultural contribution to the local development:

  • 4.5 million admissions in 2017
  • Nearly 1700 films had their world premiere in an accredited festival in 2017
  • The accredited festivals record a cumulative total of 32,000 press badges in 2017

>> Film Festivals matter for their contribution to local economies and workforces:

  • Important benefits for the HoReCa sector
  • A significant number of local jobs created each year

What is needed?

Where such measures have not been already decided, signatories call national authorities and
regional institutions across the globe, including in the European Union, for immediate relief
measures for 2020 operations and an exceptional post-Covid strategy for international film festivals
to safeguard the existing film festivals ecosystem at national, regional and global level.

Signatories (sorted by country, in alphabetical order):

Mar del Plata International Film Festival

Sydney Film Festival

Kitzbuehel Film Festival


Minsk International Film Festival – Listapad

Sofia International Film Festival

Toronto International Film Festival

Festival Internacional de Cine de Cartagena de Indias

Dominican Republic
Festival de Cine Global Dominicano

Cairo International Film Festival

Tallinn Black Nights International Film Festival

Tampere Film Festival

Festival de Cannes

Berlinale - Berlin International Film Festival

International Short Film Festival Oberhausen


International Film Festival of India, Goa

International Film Festival of Kerala

Kolkata International Film Festival

Noir In Festival (Como, Milano)

Rome Film Fest

Torino Film Festival

Biennale Cinema - Venice Film Festival

Tokyo International Film Festival

Eurasia International Film Festival (Nur-Sultan City)

People’s Republic of China
Shanghai International Film Festival

Krakow Film Festival

Warsaw Film Festival

MotelX – Lisbon International Horror Film Festival

Transilvania International Film Festival (Cluj)

Russian Federation
Message To Man International Film Festival (Saint Petersburg)

Moscow International Film Festival

South Korea
Busan International Film Festival

Cinema Jove (Valencia)

Gijon International Film Festival

San Sebastian International Film Festival

Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalunya

Zinebi - International Festival of Documentary and Short Film of Bilbao

Locarno Film Festival

Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival

Istanbul Film Festival

Molodist – Kyiv International Film Festival


FERA: The Federation of European Film Directors (FERA), founded in 1980, represents film and TV
directors at European level, with 47 directors’ associations as members from 35 countries. We speak
for more than 20,000 European screen directors, representing their cultural, creative and economic

FIA: The International Federation of Actors represents performers' trade unions, guilds and
professional associations in about 70 countries. In a connected world of content and entertainment,
it stands for fair social, economic and moral rights for performers working in all recorded media and
live theatre.

FIAD: The International Federation of Film Distributors’ Associations gathers national organisations
of film distribution companies and therefore covering the entire range of companies: small and
medium-sized companies specialized in art house films, as well as larger companies focused on
mainstream films. FIAD's members operate in 14 countries where they cover 90 to 100 percent of
the theatrical market.

FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations) represents the film producers
worldwide, gathering 34 national producers organizations from 27 countries across the globe. FIAPF
aims to defend the creative, legal and regulatory interests of the Film Production sector worldwide.
FIAPF also carries out the FIAPF Accreditation Programme for International Film Festivals, which
brings together 45 International Film Festivals from 29 countries on the five continents. The FIAPF
accreditation programme is a trust contract between festivals and producers, which guarantees that
festivals’ operations meet the highest quality standards and the selected films benefit from the best
possible promotion and visibility.

FSE: The Federation of Screenwriters in Europe is a network of national and regional associations,
guilds and unions of writers for the screen in Europe, created in June 2001. It comprises 26 members
from 21 countries, representing more than 7,500 screenwriters in Europe.

IVF: The members of the International Video Federation are associations representing businesses
active in all segments of the film and audiovisual sector in Europe. Their activities include the
development, production, and distribution of films and audiovisual content as well as their
publication on digital physical carriers and via all forms of authorised and legal online distribution
channels (TVOD, SVOD, AVOD).

UNI MEI: The Media, Entertainment & Arts Sector of UNI Global Union represents 170 national
unions & guilds affiliating more than 450 000 creators, technicians and other workers in the media,
entertainment and arts world-wide.

UNIC: The Union Internationale des Cinémas/International Union of Cinemas represents the interests
of cinema trade associations and cinema operators covering 38 countries in Europe and neighbouring


  1. Data from the 2018 FIAPF Directory of International Film Festivals
  2. Hotel, Restaurant and Cafe sector. For example, Berlin International Film Festival and Toronto international Film Festival
    generate EUR 100 million and CAD 189 million in hotels, restaurants and shops respectively in 2013. Cannes Film Festival
    brings in nearly EUR 200 million in the local economy.
  3. For example, Cannes Film Festival counted 2.000 jobs in 2016 (Op. Cit. Le Figaro 2017/05/29) and Toronto International
    Film Festival counted 2.295 jobs in 2013 (Op. Cit. CBC 2013/09/07).

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