Istvan Szabo calls for piracy crackdown

Director is the new head of Euro film body

BRUSSELS -- Veteran Hungarian director Istvan Szabo, the newly elected president of European film and television directors’ group FERA, has called for tough European Union laws to crack down on the Internet piracy that threatens to ravage the industry.

Speaking at the FERA annual meeting in Dublin, which gathered over 60 top European directors, Szabo said filmmakers needed to work more closely with EU authorities to tackle the piracy scourge. He said digital technologies offered “exciting opportunities” for filmmakers, but Europe had yet to come up with a solution to online piracy.

“We call on EU and national authorities to establish a strong, enforceable level of protection of authors’ rights throughout European countries,” Szabo said. “We encourage them to be visionary, innovative and bold in embracing new technologies.”

Szabo, 70, who directed 1985 Cannes winner “Colonel Redl” and 1982 Oscar winner “Mephisto,” replaces Liv Ullmann, who stepped down after five years as president of FERA, which represents 33 national directors’ associations.

Ullmann told the meeting that Europe still struggles to compete against Hollywood, saying “European filmmaking is like being in a tiny vessel facing huge tankers in a stormy sea.”
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