Creative Rights Minimum Terms for Feature Film
The aim of our Creative Rights Minimum Terms for Fiction Feature Film campaign is to protect the status of the director, improve working conditions and, of course, enshrine directors’ Creative Rights.
When signing a contract to work on a feature, some provisions that can significantly help a director to do their job are ignored. It can be particularly hard for newer directors and agents to insist on these provisions, so our Minimum Terms are there to establish reasonable best practice and core requirements across all UK fiction feature film contracts.
So, next time you sign on to direct a fiction feature film, make sure these Minimum Terms are inserted into your contract.
The terms were developed following extensive consultation with directors and important industry stakeholders. Key industry stakeholders including Pact, the BFI, the British Film Commission, BBC Films, Channel Four Films, the Production Guild and the agents’ body the Personal Managers Association.
A number of leading feature film directors including Amma Asante, Danny Boyle, Gurinder Chadha, Sarah Gavron, Jim Gillespie, Paul Greengrass, Tom Hooper, Mike Leigh, Philippa Lowthorpe, Kevin Macdonald, John Madden, Roger Michell, Tony Palmer, Alan Parker, Lynne Ramsay, Guy Ritchie, Iain Softley, Charles Sturridge, Susanna White, Mat Whitecross, and David Yates all publicly leant their support to the terms ahead of their launch in December 2017.
The provisions set out in the terms include the following, among other requirements:
- A pre-production period of 20 days or the number of shoot days (whichever is greater)
- The disclosure by the employer of any and all rights of script approval, cast approval and final cut authority contractually reserved to any other person
- 1st AD approval
- Casting session attendance
- Dailies/rushes made available withing a reasonable time
- Established minimum cutting periods
- The right to at least one public preview screening of his/her cut on any film with a budget greater than £5m
Iain Softley, former Directors UK Film Chair, and director of Hackers, Inkheart, K-PAX and The Outcast, said: “Reaction to our document has been very positive. There is recognition that the creative rights we are asking for ought to be the least that any director should have, and that protection of these rights will benefit producers, financiers and the quality of the film itself.”
Susanna White, Chair of the Directors UK Film Committee, and director of Woman Walks Ahead, Our Kind of Traitor and Generation Kill said: “We believe these new terms will help create better industry practices that will create a fairer and equal environment for all directors to progress in the industry, especially those from under-represented groups. The terms will protect and support directors at every level of their careers.”
Max Rumney, Deputy CEO at Pact, said: “Independent Producers recognise the importance of the creative partnership that they have with directors during the course of the production process and welcome the Directors UK Creative Minimum Terms, which set out clear and fair terms and best practice for the engagement of directors.”
Andrew Chowns, CEO of Directors UK said: “Established directors will have become accustomed to more extensive rights than those defined by these terms, but directors who are just starting out are being denied them. These terms set the new standard for producers as well as directors.”
Since their launch in December 2017, directors have been successfully incorporating the Minimum Rights Terms into their contracts. You can read their testimonials below.
Al Mackay, Directors UK member: “For me as a first-time feature director the new minimum terms offer a clear and practical document in an industry that is filled with over-complicated contracts. Including the terms in my contract was very straightforward, as any reasonable production company would find objecting to the terms very difficult. In fact, if your potential production company did object to them, this is a possible warning flag that they may not be the best partners. I’d strongly recommend any director to include these minimum terms at the very least.”
Gene Fallaize, Directors UK member: “I think the minimum terms are fantastic for directors, as they provide the terms and benefits for us to best operate effectively and creatively in our roles.
The process of including them in my contract was very simple. My manager is based in Beverly Hills and had not dealt with a Directors UK director contract previously, but was extremely supportive of the new terms, and they were easily incorporated into the contract itself. The producers of the film were very accepting of the new terms also, and had no problems with including it in the contract.
I would absolutely recommend that other Directors UK members include the new minimum terms, not only to ensure consistency across Directors UK members, but because the terms also offer an easier contracting process by setting the basic standards that producers should meet to ensure directors’ job security, satisfaction, and creative position.”