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Krsto Papic asks for your international support to protest against copyrights violation in Croatia for films shot before 1990.
Dear film professionals and members of the EFA...
At the recent World Film Festival in Montreal, I (successfully) participated with one of my films (Cvjetni trg, Flower Square) in the World Competition and I met Bruno Chatelin, board member at the European Film Academy and my old friend, Pierre-Henri Deleau again; this time, I complained to him about terrible violations of human and authors' rights in Croatia, affecting film authors, whose films were made in the socialist Yugoslavia before 1990. Pierre Henri told me: "The only people who can help you with this are Wim Wenders, the President of EFA and Yves Marmion, the Chairman" and Bruno Chatelin mentioned he would like to help convey the message.
These are mostly directors who created their most important movies in and around the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s in the former Yugoslavia.
In Croatia, films were largely financed by the state. However, we film directors, along with members of our crew, invested a part of our earnings in the production of these movies, which makes us in a way co-owners of these films (this was allowed in the self-managing socialist system of the former Yugoslavia). During the 1990s, following the collapse of the Eastern Bloc and of Yugoslavia, the Croatian state sold, or rather, gave away our movies to its favourites – the new capitalists, and nobody asked us whether we agreed with this or not.
These movies were a public cultural good, and we wished them to remain so, as we were afraid that the greedy nouveau riche would not respect copyright or care about film as a part of our national culture. All that we feared ultimately happened.
These new owners do as they please with our films, never paying royalties to the filmmakers or their heirs.
Our films have been seized from us. We have simply been robbed, not only in terms of our royalties but also in terms of the moral rights which we have been denied.
I would like to conclude this letter with an appeal: can EFA do something in the European Union to rectify this disgraceful situation, as all my previous pleas to the Croatian politicians and the Croatian Government have been fruitless.
I believe it would be good if EFA addressed the European Parliament, which would in turn demand that the Croatian Government resolve this grave situation, before Croatia joins the European Union.
Thank you in advance.
Please accept my cordial greetings and best wishes.
Krsto Papić, film director, member of EFA
Visoka 14A, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Telephone: 00385 98 301 878
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