With a record attendance of audiovisual authors’ societies from around the world, the third edition of the Annual International Congress of AVACI - Audiovisual Authors International Confederation- was carried out between May 2 and May 5, 2023, in the city of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
The event was organized by AVACI, together with the host societies DBCA (Brazilian Film and Audiovisual Directors) and GEDAR (Management of Screenwriters Authors’ Rights), at the premises of the Sheraton Grand Rio Hotel & Resort.
The main purpose of the 2023 Congress focused on supporting audiovisual authors, screenwriters and directors from the entire world -in general- and from Brazil -in particular- in their struggle to achieve a remuneration right law which may allow them to collect for the public exhibition of their audiovisual works.
At the same time, several topics of interest and current affairs, such as gender and complex rights, were addressed during the international encounter and the debate on the use of artificial intelligence in the audiovisual industry was opened.
As a specific political action in support of Brazilian audiovisual authors “a resolution was drafted to urge the Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil to please submit and discuss in the Legislative Branch a remuneration rights law which protects audiovisual creators, screenwriters and directors”, the Argentine director and screenwriter, Horacio Maldonado, Secretary General of DAC/FESAAL and General Coordinator of AVACI, asserted.
On the other hand, the International Confederation of Audiovisual Authors appointed the authorities to hold office for the period 2023-2025, in which the Slovenian audiovisual director and screenwriter, Klemen Dvornik (AIPA), was elected President.
“It is important that the international community be united and support each other, sharing knowledge and practices that may really contribute to authors’ rights and to the collection of authors’ remunerations in each particular country. Here in Brazil, the right of author is one of the most essential legislations that may help authors around the world to protect the future of creative processes, since the economic stability of authors is provided by the right of author. It is one of the most important things authors may achieve, apart from creativity, ideas and creative processes”, Klemen Dvornik, brand-new President of AVACI, stated.
The audiovisual world represented
The different continental alliances, which are part of AVACI, participated in the 2023 Annual Congress. On behalf of Europe, members from Poland, France, Spain, United Kingdom, Slovenia and Croatia were present; on behalf of Asia-Pacific, India and South Korea took part, while the African continent was represented by the Pan-African Alliance of Screenwriters and Directors (APASER).
Likewise, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Paraguay participated as member countries of the Latin American Audiovisual Authors Societies Federation (FESAAL).
The director Henrique de Freitas Lima, President of DBCA, alleged that: “the fact of having hosted this Congress generated a great media exposition for us and will allow us to keep talking about this topic. At a time when we are trying to approve, with the support of the Brazilian Government, the amendment of the law which is so essential for us. Having this amazing group of societies from more than 150 countries here with us validating this struggle, is something wonderful”.
Another of the hosts, the Brazilian screenwriter Thiago Dottori, President of GEDAR, held that “it is really important that Brazil has been chosen to conduct the Congress of AVACI. Our struggle has been going on for so many years and we have a great union among Brazilian creators for a law on remuneration rights to be passed in our country. It is so good to have support during this year, which is essential for us, because we believe this time we will be able to pass the law at the Brazilian Congress”.
The Argentine director and screenwriter Marcelo Piñeyro, Honorary President of AVACI, expressed that “after the Congress of South Korea, the audiovisual authors of such country are only one step away from achieving the laws. Other countries and continents expressed their difficulties, such as India and Africa. The Congress is a very good encounter for authors and creators to exchange experiences, set goals and decide to grow in this direction of recognition”.
Kyu-Dong Min, director, screenwriter and President of DGK, South Korea, highlighted the changes produced after the 2022 Congress held in Seoul. “Draft bills have been prepared and the authors’ right campaign, which had been stuck for three years, has received a great boost and has gained strength. Therefore, I believe this Congress will be a great opportunity to assist those countries that still need support. Now, I feel the strength of the solidarity of our colleagues, who I got used to seeing more often”.
Also on behalf of South Korea, the director and screenwriter Yoon Jung Lee, Vice-President of DGK, explained: “we are aware that Brazilian audiovisual creators are having problems similar to the ones in Korea, so I am really glad I could travel here to support my Brazilian colleagues at this difficult situation”.
Yoon Jung Lee asserted that “big changes occurred in Seoul after the Congress of AVACI and now we hope great changes take place in Brazil as soon as possible so that the rights of authors can be protected”.
Representing the African continent, Laza Razanajatovo, director, screenwriter and President of APASER, held that “it is so important for Africa to be part of the Confederation and to contribute with our vision and collaboration. The fact of being together, of having a word on behalf of all the authors is truly valuable, that prevents us from being discussing alone with large companies. If we are together, it is much easier”.
The Polish managing director Dominik Skoczek (ZAPA), stated that “the Congress shows the need to organize such a Confederation which protects the struggle of audiovisual authors, screenwriters and directors. It is our duty to be here, to tell our experiences and to provide a very strong message to Brazilian authorities and to the societies and countries around the world that are here in Rio to talk about remuneration rights”.
On its part, the French general director Herve Rony, (LA SCAM), expressed that “it is interesting to share problems, even though they are not the same in Europe, in Asia or in South America. It is a valuable exchange, globally, which shows the utility of AVACI, and it is an important step that does not separate authors on one side and managers on the other. It is so interesting to have that international exchange between authors and those who, like me, run audiovisual and collective management companies. As regards Brazil, we need to support them. From France, our Brazilian friends can count on us to provide our assistance with great pleasure”.
The Argentine screenwriter Miguel Ángel Diani, President of ARGENTORES, stressed the importance of the Congress being held in a Latin American country “where everything started and where dreams began” and added that “it is so important to conduct it in Brazil because it is unbelievable that there is no law here yet, and that is why we are here to support them”.
The Slovenian Gregor Stibernik, General Manager of AIPA, expressed that “the Congress of Río will be remembered for a long time since we have addressed an agenda with great decisions that will have a positive impact in the future development of AVACI”.
The Colombian lawyer Adriana Saldarriaga, legal representative of DASC and FESAAL, said: “the fact that all the continents are represented in this Congress means we are doing a good job. Audiovisual authors are conquering their rights worldwide in each of the different countries, which are part of AVACI today. That step has been taken in different countries. The international support we are providing to Brazilian authors today proves that important things can be achieved if we are together. We are sure Brazil will achieve its remuneration law”.
The audiovisual director and screenwriter Anja Unger (LA SCAM-France), declared that “these kind of events are important because audiovisual authors lack global support and it is an opportunity to exchange, to create bridges, to become aware of different works and how they make progress. In addition, this time, we could propose measures that are more specific; in fact, in the new Statutes of AVACI, we had the equality issue added as a priority and as one of the objectives we want to achieve. And that is very good news”.