In France, a huge movement is taking place, in order to face the difficulties which the film industry has to face, to redefine the specificity of Cinema: “l’Appel pour les Etats Généraux du Cinema”. Global, transdisciplinary, and enthusiastic, it is a space where the cinema thinks itself.
We are a collective that includes directors, screenwriters, technicians, interpreters, producers, distributors, cinema operators, festival directors, press officers, film critics, numerous trade union organizations in the industry such as SRF, DIRE, SDI, SCA, ACID, ADEF, SCARE, but also the Syndicat de la critique or numerous organizations of technicians such as AFC or Les Monteurs associés. For several months, despite our differences, we have gathered around a common passion, cinema, and a real concern: the risk of disappearing the diversity that is the richness of our cinema.
With this in mind, on October 6 we organized a day calling for a general assembly of cinema. This was a great success. We were over 2,000 people who gathered at the Institut du Monde Arabe and followed the event through social networks. This meeting confirmed what we felt: a great need to dialogue all together after two years of exceptional solitude, French cinema in its uniqueness and diversity must continue to be tenaciously defended and protected. Some beautiful victories have been won, but today there is an urgent need for Estates General, an open space for dialogue and collective reflection, for voting on solutions to be found in the face of the upheavals we are going through.
Much has been said and written since October 6. We are accused of not being clear in our proposals, precisely because we want to take the time for this concertation with all the actors of the sector throughout the country. We are accused of not wanting to discuss this with the authorities. On the contrary, we have always made it very clear that these General Estates cannot take place without the support of the public authorities. We are suspected of wanting to demand more and more money and of thinking that the state is Santa Claus. This is wrong, we do not demand more money but call for a concerted reflection on the way it is distributed. Our collective in no way wants to replace union work. On the contrary, it is complementary, these general stands will be a place to produce thoughts that can then be carried by the organizations. We have in common the knowledge of the sector, the experience on the ground, and a certain know-how that we want to put at the service of the defense of the great principles of the cultural exception.
Why Estates General?
We have lived through a thousand crises, cinema has died a thousand times. What saved it was all of us. Each time it was necessary, others have come together before us to defend, protect, enrich and adapt this great instrument that is the envy of the whole world: the cultural exception. We still live on the great legacy of the 1987 Estates General initiated by Jack Ralite, who was a faithful guest and spectator, including at ARP meetings. Today, this idea of cultural exception is threatened by the rise of platforms, whose dominant players are all from the United States.
Cinema, like culture, is not a market value like any other, but one of the breeding grounds of democracy. In a world in transition, it is of the utmost importance to fight against the standardization of creative work and the liberalization of our production systems, and to reaffirm the importance of our cultural exception. And as we look to the future, we must remember that cultural work with the youngest must be one of France’s priorities. It is of vital importance. It requires a diversity of cinemas. But this diversity will only exist in a world where the big groups and the independent producers, distributors and operators can work together and develop in solidarity. We have a common goal, that of an ambitious cultural policy. We therefore want these general states of film to exist under the auspices of the State. In dialogue with it and under its protection, France’s cultural exception can be permanently safeguarded.
We call for a broad gathering on a scale that does not currently exist: The historical partners who share with us the defense of diversity, the French television channels (Canal Plus, OCS, France Télévisions, Arte), the organizations BLIC, BLOC and L’ARP, representing the entire film industry, but also the actors of the cultural action, the numerous technicians’ organizations, the actors, the regional organizations or even the independent press, who are present and share this desire for dialogue. A space for dialogue of this magnitude does not currently exist. The aim of this General Assembly is to promote dialogue.