EFM2020/ Lia Darjes
Brigid O’Shea announced at EFM that as of today, February 22 2020, DAE (Documentary Association of Europe), the new pan-European body designed to look after the interests of European doc professionals, exists as a legal entity.
In a statement that she read out to a meeting at DocSalon she stressed that “DAE is guided by the same principles at the heart of many documentaries: committed to understanding the world in its multifaceted complexity, respecting linguistic, ethnic, religious and social diversity, working towards a more inclusive and balanced industry and, by extension, society.”
“Crises such as freedom of speech and climate change will not be ignored by the association or its members, who will always work towards a more equal and sustainable distribution of resources, planting both metaphorical and actual seeds for the next generations,“ she added.
She was joined by fellow board member, Hungarian producer Julianna Ugrin. “Documentaries cannot be done alone, so we always need help, we always need each other,” she said. “Especially where I am coming from, from the eastern part of Europe, we could never do such beautiful and rich films without the help of the other parts of Europe, so I [feel] that DAE is important. It is a must to create it.”
O’Shea said that elections for an executive board of maximum five members, as well as an advisory board, would take place during IDFA 2020. “We think that we need time with a very small structure of people to carry the legal responsibility… to make sure that we are creating a legal framework that has the ability to last,” she commented of the work to be done over the coming months.
She also put out a call for “people power” in terms of immediate help with social media outreach, web editing and other administrative tasks. “That also goes with the creation of the bye-laws which I think is something that we really need to carefully think about to make sure that we don’t [face] the challenges that have plagued other networks over the past two years.”
Membership costs are currently set at €100 for individuals, €300 for companies and €500 for organisations such as educational institutes and film festivals. DAE is offering a 50% discount until May 31 2020, O’Shea added.
“I really want to stress that we don’t see Europe as [the countries of] the European Union. We really are open to everybody…Our understanding of Europe is much broader.”
“We are here today to listen,” added Ugrun, “you have to tell us what you think this association should do, what is important, what you want it to embrace.”
“We are in this unprecedented space of creativity where our stories are travelling beyond our borders,” O’Shea concluded. “But we also need to make sure that we are not missing out on the opportunity to claim what is ours, what are our rights.
“Which [means] when discussions around the future of [film finance] are happening that documentary is in the room, because I find myself in a few meetings this week where fiction series and features films are the only thing on the agenda, so we must make sure that we are taking our space back.”