The Secretary of State for Cinema, Audiovisual and Media, led by Nuno Artur Silva, decided to hand over the elaboration of the strategic plan for cinema to an English private consultant, a decision contested by Plataforma do Cinema in a letter addressed to parliamentary groups and with knowledge for the minister. of culture.
That platform, which signs the letter on behalf of a dozen entities, including associations, festivals and a union, considers that the use of a foreign company to outline the strategy for the sector “is in itself the passing of a certificate of minority policy inflicted by guardianship itself and the sector it regulates ”.
The consultancy in question is Olsberg SPI, founded in 1992 by producer Jonathan Olsberg and whose curriculum includes consulting work for, among others, the BBC, the Council of Europe, the European Audiovisual Observatory, the Barcelona Film Commission, the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and Chile and other entities in Australia, Canada or Norway.
The former Institute of Cinema, Audiovisual and Multimedia, predecessor of the Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual (ICA), is also on the client list of the consultant’s website.
The criticisms presented by Plataforma do Cinema do not receive unanimity in the sector. Several cinema and audiovisual associations do not criticize the attribution, by the Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual, to a foreign consultant, of the creation of the sector’s strategic plan, moving away from the Cinema Platform that asks the Secretary of State to resign.
The Portuguese Association of Screenwriters and Playwrights considers that the use of a foreign consultant to outline the strategic plan for cinema and audiovisual does not constitute a problem at the outset, and that the content will be more relevant.
“For us, it is not a problem that it is a foreign consultant”, he referred to Lusa Patrícia Muller, of the Portuguese Association of Scriptwriters and Playwrights (APAD), noting that she is an experienced consultant, and now it remains to know the content of what she proposes, within the scope of the strategic plan for the sector.
Patrícia Muller does not follow the position of Plataforma do Cinema, considering that, “when hiring a company with experience in Europe”, it allows “to align more with what is being done abroad”.
The same official says that the resignation of the Secretary of State is “a little incomprehensible” when the legislative process for transposing the European directive that regulates the activity of television and audiovisual services on demand is also underway.
The general secretary of the Association of Independent Television Producers (APIT), Susana Gato, preferred not to comment on the option for a private consultant to design the sector’s strategic plan, stressing that, in order to do so, she would have to know the criteria of this sector. choose, which doesn’t.
“I can’t say anything about choosing [da consultora] because I don’t know what the criterion was. There must certainly be a reason, but we don’t know what it was, ”he told Lusa, adding that the answer to these questions from APIT should have been given on Friday, during a meeting between representatives of the sector, Olsberg SPI and ICA to presentation of the methodology and work schedule on the strategic plan.
The meeting was eventually postponed, at the request of some participants, due to the lack of simultaneous translation from English to Portuguese, according to an ICA source explained to Lusa.
Regarding the resignation request, made by the Platform of Cinema, of the Secretary of State, and which is extendable to the Directorate of the ICA, Susana Gato chose not to comment, emphasizing that APIT “does not take this type of path”, because what she defends and intends “it is an audiovisual with a future”.
Also director João Maia of the Portuguese Association of Directors and Fiction Writers (APRAF) does not consider it a problem to hire such a consultant.
“She is a consultant who has already done this type of work in other countries and it is important to let her say what is coming,” he told Lusa.
In the letter, the Cinema Platform also appeals to parliamentary groups to postpone the discussion and vote on the law proposal PL 44 / XIV – scheduled for next Tuesday – for “manifestly there are no conditions to carry out this seriously. assignment”.
Also on this point, some of the people in the sector heard by Lusa do not follow the position of Plataforma do Cinema, with Patrícia Muller saying that there does not seem to be “any sense” in postponing it, and João Maia not also finding reasons to have a postponement, remembering that the legislative process already has several months.
Frederico Serra, from the Association of Cinema and Audiovisual Producers (APCA), has a different position, who calls the use of a foreign consultant “strange”, but declined to comment on the Secretary of State’s resignation.