Restrictions in Both the U.S. and the E.U. Increase the Difficulty and Cost for Producers
Part II: How will the new the New E.U. Restrictions Impact Film Making?
Note: this is the part II of a series on how current Immigration Policy may affect the finances of the Film Making Industry. You can read Part I Here: HOW NEW U.S. POLICY MAY EFFECT CASTING AND STAFFING FOR MANY PRODUCTIONS
So, what exactly does the European Parliament’s vote mean? Since knowledge of European Union governance is probably a bit hazy for most Americans, here’s a quick refresher:
*The E.U.’s legislative branch is the European Parliament, and the European Commission is its executive branch. Your initial thought might be that since immigration is the purview of the executive branch, a vote on this issue by parliament is a vote without teeth, but unlike the American tradition, the European Commission’s President is appointed by parliament, and parliament can sack the whole commission through a vote of no confidence.
*This makes parliament’s resolutions about immigration more powerful than resolutions on immigration from the U.S. Congress. The European Commission has two months from March 2nd to implement a visa program with the U.S. and signs point to a minimum duration of one year. The commission may be able to carve out work-related exceptions, limiting the new visa requirements to tourists, but that remains to be seen.
Marco Mehlitz, a German producer whose credits include David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method and Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, is quoted by the Hollywood Reporter as saying the new E.U. restrictions “will have a huge impact on our business. Visa restrictions like this will make everything about setting up projects and co-productions more complicated and difficult.” The impact is already here, however, in the form of uncertainty, which often stops a production from being green-lit in a particular area. In a year or two, immigration and travel abroad may not be at the forefront of public debate, but we will likely see a decrease in shoots in the E.U. during that time period because of ambiguity that exists now regarding U.S. visas.
Film production thrives on access to people and locations. It is our hope that leaders of all nations find ways to balance security and law enforcement concerns with common sense policies which still support the great American ideal of the “melting pot”. The film industry….and all industries for that matter will benefit from it!