ARTSCENICO Open Forum #6

We are pleased to offer you another OPEN FORUM on June 24, 2024. 18:00 CET / Paris time, via Zoom. We will take a closer look at the topic of working conditions.

This time we have Johannes Studinger, head of the “Media, Entertainment and Arts” sector of UNI, the European trade union federation for 7 million service workers, as our guest. 
Kurt Brazda from  IMAGO working conditions committee will be presenting the results of the latest IMAGO study.

The British Production Designer Sonja Klaus will guide us through this evening as our moderator.

The film industry is under immense economic pressure, leading to long working hours, poor working conditions, burnout as well as other health problems among filmmakers. Common problems include a lack of affordable childcare facilities, unpaid overtime, and weak union support. 

Ideally, good working conditions should lead to better films and happier producers. Despite claims of adherence to labor laws and discussions about the demands for diversity or inclusion, trust points in different countries and code of conducts on the part of productions – on panels across Europe – working conditions did not change significantly. The lamentable conditions are usually justified by decreasing budgets and increasing demands. We’re looking forward to discussing this vicious circle with interesting guests! 

Kurt Brazda (Image IMAGO)

Kurt Brazda was born in Vienna in 1947. He studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (MDW) in the Film and Television Department, earning a diploma in image technology. Additionally, he holds a degree in art history and studied cultural management.
Since 1970, he has worked as a cameraman, contributing to approximately 600 productions for the film and television industry. He co-founded and served as chairman of the Association of Austrian Cinematographers (AAC) until 2009, after which he was appointed honorary president. Kurt Brazda is a board member of the Society of Visual Artists, Künstlerhaus, and led the “Film” section of the Künstlerhaus for twelve years.
He is also engaged in artistic photography and has held various exhibitions both domestically and internationally. As a director, he primarily focuses on documentary films.

His accolades include the Austrian Camera Award “Goldener Kader” twice, the Golden Medal of the Künstlerhaus, the Erasmus Seal, the Adult Education Television Award, and the EUXXL Film Award. He is also an honorary member of the Künstlerhaus.
Kurt Brazda has held several teaching positions, including at the Higher Graphics Teaching and Research Institute in Vienna (until 1992), the FH Salzburg (until 2010), and the University of Vienna in the “Werkstatt Kunstberufe” program (until 2002). He has also taught at FH St. Pölten and SAE Vienna. He is the founder and lecturer at the Filmcollege Vienna and delivers lectures and seminars on “Image and Film Language” and “Documentary Film.”
As a court-certified expert for film and television, he served as chairman of the Vienna Film Archive of the Labor Movement (WIFAR) for ten years.

Johannes Studinger has been Head of UNI – Media, Entertainment & Arts (UNI MEI Global Union) since August 2009, representing 140 unions and guilds in the media, entertainment, and arts worldwide. Prior to his present position, Johannes held the position of Deputy Director of UNI MEI Global Union. Before joining the international labour movement in 1999 he worked with the Secretariat General of the European Commission (1998-1999) and Graham Watson, Member of the European Parliament (1998) as well as the Brussels’ office of the Friedrich Naumann-Foundation (1996-1998). Since 2013, Johannes has served as chair of the Advisory Committee of the European Audiovisual Observatory. Johannes is of German nationality and holds a master’s degree in politics and international relations.

The European Region of the Media, Entertainment & Arts sector of Union Global Union (UNI MEI), represents over 70 unions and guilds in the media, entertainment and arts sector in Europe. The membership of its affiliates includes technicians, screenwriters, film directors, and other workers in broadcasting, cinema, theatre as well as in visual arts.

Johannes Studinger (Image UNI Europa)
Sonja Klaus (Image Sonja Klaus, IMDB)

Sonja Klaus is a leading Film and Television Designer based in London, UK. First beginning as a set decorator, Sonja soon rose to become one of the most prominent names in the industry with credits including Oscar-winning epic Gladiator, American Gangster, Prometheus, Tomb Raider I and II, Robin Hood, Kingdom of Heaven, as well as X-Men First Class.

Throughout her career, Sonja gained a taste for Production Design and helmed projects such as Ridley Scott’s A Good Year, Mathieu Kassovitz’s Babylon AD, and Tom Hardy and Steven Knight’s award-winning BBC drama Taboo. Recently, Sonja designed Tim Miller and James Cameron’s much anticipated Terminator: Dark Fate reboot and Steven Knight’s re-imagining of A Christmas Carol for the BBC/FX.

In 2019 Sonja started designing a new Amazon Prime series, The Power, based on the best-selling novel by Naomi Alderman, which took 3 years to complete because of the delays caused by the Pandemic. She has just finished Designing Great Expectations with Olivia Coleman playing Miss Haversham, produced by BBC /FX and Disney.
Sonja has worked all over the world in the USA, Canada, Thailand, Cambodia, South Africa, India, Kenya, Morocco, Greece, Italy, Hungary, The Czech Rebublic, Turkey, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Monaco, Hong Kong, China, Malta, and Portugal.