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 Secretariat General of Communication – Secretariat General of Information

The building of the Secretariat General of Communication – Secretariat General of Information, where the conference is taking place.

The first World Conference of Screenwriters, which took place in Athens from November 6 – 7 2009, marked a historic event as it brought together all of the members Guilds and Unions of the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe – who initiated the project – and the members of the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds.

More than two hundred representatives of more than twenty thousand writers from more than 30 guilds attended the meeting.

Welcoming the announcement of the conference Patrick Verrone, President of the Writers Guild of America West, said: “We are the new Thiasos of Dionysos, the retinue of the God of creativity. At a time of globalization of entertainment content, writers must work together to ensure that our financial and creative standards are maintained and even improved. We look forward to this historic conference; where else should such a meeting take place, except in Athens?”

“The internet revolution has and will have more and more of an inexorable impact on storytellers and storytelling, through the new interconnectedness of our world”, adds Kallas, President of the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe: “Screenwriters are the storytellers of our time and as such are at the very centre of such impact. The creative and financial challenges which we face can only be met if, in the true spirit of such interconnectedness, we join forces and work together.”

The conference also reflects the solidarity of writers for the screen who came together around the world to support their colleagues and friends in the Writers Guilds of America during their successful 100-day strike in 2007.

The event is built on the success of the First Conference of European Screenwriters when more than 120 screenwriters from all over Europe met in Thessaloniki in November 2006 to discuss the state of the industry. The writers had then pointed out that the solution to the problems of the European film and television industries lies in improving the condition for writers in order to improve the quality of scripts in order to improve the quality of films.

They committed to campaign for the implementation of a manifesto (issued in fifteen languages), which defined the role of the screenwriter in the twenty-first century, as agreed at the conclusion of the meeting.

The European Screenwriters Manifesto was discussed all over the world. To quote from the Los Angeles Times “it is about as direct, succinct and no-nonsense as they come. Its first three planks are like sharp gunshots across the bow of the filmmaking industry:

  • The screenwriter is an author of the film, a primary creator of the audiovisual work.
  • The indiscriminate use of the possessory credit is unacceptable.
  • The moral rights of the screenwriter, especially the right to maintain the integrity of a work and to protect it from any distortion or misuse, should be inalienable and should be fully honored in practice.” (Jay A. Fernandez, “European writers issue a manifesto”, in SCRIPTLAND, Special to The LA Times, February 21, 2007.)

The World Conference of Screenwriters was hosted by the Greek Ministry of Tourism, the Hellenic Film Commission, with the collaboration of the Hellenic Audiovisual Institute (I.O.M.).

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