We are screenwriters. Our stories give birth to series and movies. We create the characters and spin the plots. We write the dialogue. Our scripts form the basis for every film and television project in Germany, but our crucial role is not adequately recognised by the industry nor respected in the filmmaking process. Our rights as authors are not protected in our contracts. We want to change all that.
We want to introduce contractual and behavioural standards to Germany that have long been a matter of course in other countries We maintain that these improvements will be reflected in the quality of the work on screen.
From 1 July 2018, the signatories of this declaration will enter into contract negotiations only if they are guaranteed the following:
The author is responsible for the script until the final version, unless otherwise agreed in writing.
The author has a say in the selection of the director or the director. The decision will be made by mutual agreement.
The author is invited to table reads with the actors.
The author is granted the right to see and comment on the dailies as they come in and on the rough cut at the earliest opportunity. The author is invited to internal screenings or rough cut presentations with the network.
The author is mentioned by name in all communication materials about the project (press releases, program notes, posters, etc.) and invited to all project-related public events.
The signatories undertake to accept orders for script revisions to another author’s project (rewriting, polishing, etc.) only if they have previously agreed the author who is leaving the project.
Signatories of „Kontrakt ’18“
(state of today)
Sebastian Andrae, Leo P. Ard, Klaus Arriens, Markus B. Altmeyer, Holger Badura, Nick Baker-Monteys, Rolf Basedow, Wieland Bauder, Jens Becker, Felix Benesch, Esther Bernstorff, Johannes Betz, Miraz Bezar, Regine Bielefeld, Khyana el Bitar, Gabi Blauert, Marc Blöbaum, Steffi Blöbaum, Bettina Börgerding, Ariela Bogenberger, Bettine von Borries, Ben Braeunlich, Jan Braren, Uli Brée, Valentina Brüning, Jochen Brunow, Katrin Bühlig, Katrin Bühring, Jana Burbach, Rainer Butt, Jano Ben Chaabane, Murmel Clausen, Silja Clemens, Michael Comtesse, Oliver Czeslik, Bora Dagtekin, Anika Decker, Kristin Derfler, Matthias Dinter, Doris Dörrie, Brigitte Drodtloff, Karen Duve, Christina Ebelt, Michael Ehnert, Karlotta Ehrenberg, Florian Eichinger, Max Eipp, Barbara Engelke, Marija Erceg, Orkun Ertener, Rainer Ewerrien, Rafael Sola Ferrer, Dörte Franke, Thomas Franke, Kalle Freynik, Gerd Roman Frosch, Katja Früh, Dagmar E. Gabler, Michael Gantenberg, Günther Gerlach, André Georgi, Klaus Gietinger, Mario Giordano, Peter Gitzinger, Dinah Marte Golch, Benedikt Gollhardt, Tina Gorf, Gernot Gricksch, Christian Grohmann, Katja Grübel, Julius Grützke, Patrick Gurris, Hanno Hackfort, Ingo Haeb, Kai Hafemeister, Rochus Hahn, Florian Hanig, Meike Hauck, Nicholas Hause, Roland Heep, Peter Henning, Elisabeth Herrmann, Gerrit Hermans, Marcus Hertneck, Annette Hess, Hans-Henner Hess, Kerstin Höckel, Hendrik Hölzemann, Niklas Hoffmann, Vivien Hoppe, Frauke Hunfeld, Christian Jeltsch, Holger Joos, Catharina Junk, Mika Kallwass, John-H. Karsten, Abraham Katz, Claudia Kaufmann, Oliver Keidel, Matthias Keilich, Oliver Kienle, Friedrich Klütsch, Andreas Knaup, Andreas Knop, Bob Konrad, Frank Koopmann, Manfred Kosmann, Gernot Krää, Sophia Krapoth, Richard Kropf, Lena Krumkamp, Bernd Lange, Christian Limmer, Sylvia Leuker, Christian Lex, Alexander Lindh, Dominique Lorenz, Conni Lubek, Georg Marioth, Beatrice Meier, Michael Meisheit, Paul J. Milbers, Clemens Murath, Julia Neumann, Arne Nolting, Ruth Olshan, Sebastian Orlac, Nils-Morten Osburg, Christine Otto, Oliver Pankutz, Monika Peetz, Julia Penner, Maggie Peren, Jeanet Pfitzer, Andreas Pflüger, Henriette Piper, Michael Proehl, Sabine Radebold, Maike Rasch, Marie Reiners, Stefanie Ren, Katharina Reschke, Martin Ritzenhoff, Bernd Roeder, Benedikt Röskau, Elke Rössler, Marco Rossi, Tillmann Roth, Heike Rübbert, Karsten Rüther, Astrid Ruppert, David Safier, Nesrin Samdereli, Ronny Schalk, Jan-Martin Scharf, Christian Schiller, Lea Schmidbauer, Holger Karsten Schmidt, Susanne Schneider, Mathias Schnelting, Sarah Schnier, Dorothee Schön, Nicola Schreiner, Don Schubert, Elke Schuch, Simon Schulz, Silke Cecilia Schultz, Daniel Schwarz, Thomas Schwebel, Helmut Schweiker, Peter Schwindt, Heide Schwochow, Horst Sczerba, Xaõ Seffcheque, Marcus Seibert, Elena Senft, Marc O. Seng, Daniel Speck, Eveline Stähelin, Lorenz Stassen, Silke Steiner, Ulli Stephan, Freya Stewart, Claus Stirzenbecher, Britta Stöckle, Sandra Stöckmann, Andrea Stoll, Arndt Stüwe, Hardi Sturm, Boris von Sychowski, Annika Tepelmann, Marc Terjung, Vladislav Tinchev, Sabine Thor-Wiedemann, Ruth Toma, Ulf Tschauder, Hansjoerg Thurn, David Ungureit, Stefanie Veith, Jürg Wehrli, Steffen Weinert, Thomas Wendrich, Marianne Wendt, Joe Wentrup, Thorsten Wettcke, Marco Wiersch, Thomas Wilke, Anna Winger, Doron Wisotzky, Daniel Douglas Wissmann, Andreas Wrosch, Eva Zahn, Volker A. Zahn, Frank Zeller, Silke Zertz, Ipek Zübert
Signatories (PDF to print)
In 2018, the German Television Award (DFP) caused public outrage among screenwriters, many of whom were not invited to celebrate when their own projects were nominated. As a result, the DFP are changed their mind last minute and the authors of the nominated works were subsequently invited.
The authors Kristin Derfler, Orkun Ertener, Annette Hess and Volker A. Zahn founded the initiative "Kontrakt '18".
At an authors conference at the International Film School (ifs), the initiators came together with Arne Nolting, Jan-Martin Scharf, David Ungureit, Thorsten Wettcke and Eva Zahn formulated a first draft for the "Kontrakt '18".
A second author meeting took place at the Berlin Savoy Hotel with about 30 authors. The "Kontrakt '18" is fine adjusted and adopted together.
Ninety-five authors/screenwriters signed Kontrakt '18 'prior to its publication.
Press release on the initiative "Kontrakt ’18" was linked to numerous interviews with the signatories.
First public panel at the Munich Film Festival about the initiative Kontrakt '18 Annette Hess and Kristin Derfler discuss with Oliver Berben (Constantin Film), Michael Polle (X-Filme), Sven Bohse (Director), Dr. Manfred Hattendorf (SWR) and Bastian Wagner (ZDF) the new role of screenwriters in Germany.
Meeting with the Producer Alliance in Berlin. Annette Hess, Kristin Derfler, Thorsten Wettcke and Volker A. Zahn discuss the application of contract '18 in contract negotiations with five representatives of the producer alliance: Barbara Thielen (Ziegler Film), Doris Zander (Aspekt Telefilm), Uli Aselmann (Die Film), Andreas Knoblauch (Studio Hamburg/Letterbox), Fritz Wildfeuer (Constantin).
Kristin Derfler, Letterbox and ZDF agree on additional contract passages in the name of the authors of the ZDF series Notruf Hafenkante. These passages will define Kontraktt '18 with special regard to the format and its production conditions for the future cooperation.
ZDF and VDD invite you to the
"Writers In The Room".
High-ranking station managers formulate the wish to establish new forms of cooperation between authors and station. It is agreed that they will meet again in a small group in a timely manner with Kontrakt '18.
In Berlin, a very constructive and open discussion takes place with the fiction directors of the network Yvonne Weber and Stefan Gärtner. From Kontrakt '18 Seite Annette Hess, Kristin Derfler, David Ungureit, Thorsten Wettcke, Richard Kopf and Hanno Hackfort are on board. In response to Kontrakt '18, ProSieben SAT.1 has drawn up a Code of Conduct to improve future cooperation between editors and authors. A joint industry day is planned for 2019 in cooperation with Kontrakt '18.
NDR workshop talk in cooperation with Filmfest Hamburg: "Kontrakt '18 und die Folgen" (Kontrakt '18 and the consequences)
Third meeting of authors at the Savoy Hotel in Berlin with about 30 authors.
Further discussion with Degeto boss Christine Strobel and editor-in-chief Sascha Schwingel with contract '18 representatives.
We cordially welcome 56 students of Film Acadamies as newcomers to Kontrakt '18.
Large authors' conference with all Kontrakt '18 signatories and subsequent BIG PARTY!
Around 20 agents from all over Germany accepted our invitation and took part in the exchange of experiences regarding the previous contract negotiations under contract 18. A closer networking and a regular information update were agreed upon.
Second round table with representatives of the producer alliance
K´18 Core team meets in Cologne to discuss strategy. Among other things an initiative at the universities is agreed upon, as well as a panel in November with K18 undersigned inside to a special topic. In addition colleagues of the direction, camera and other trades are invited.
Interim results: 216 authors have signed the Kontrakt '18.
For more than two decades, fictional storytelling has witnessed a steady increase in quality on television, which has led to considerable innovation and great artistic achievement, especially in the United States, Great Britain, the Scandinavian countries and France. In these countries, this is primarily due to the outstanding creative role of the screenwriters, who not only provide book templates, but accompany, control and co-responsibility the entire process of film and series creation from the initial idea to final assembly.
Germany is still a developing country in this regard, despite recent encouraging examples. No longer up-to-date traditions and structures in this country regularly not only lead to the creators being deprived of creative control over their own works, but unfortunately also prevent the potential inherent in the work of the authors from being used to improve the quality of the programs becomes. This is accompanied by a lack of recognition for the creative work of the authors, as for example the scandalous events surrounding the invitation practice of the German Television Prize at the beginning of the year. For many producers, editors and directors and has been rethinking for some time. The TV-price discussion followed a large wave of solidarity for authors, and in interviews, industry representatives repeatedly point out the outstanding importance of screenwriters in the process of film making.
To make sure that it does not pay lip service and in order to improve an overall unproductive situation for the industry, Kristin Derfler, Annette Hess, Volker A. Zahn and Orkun Ertener founded the association- and organization-independent initiative "Kontrakt '18" in February this year Form of a self-obligation formulated future contract and behavioral standards that have long been self-evident in other countries and contribute to the quality of film works there. At a conference in Berlin's Savoy Hotel, many authors agreed on a 6-point catalog at the end of May this year, which has now been signed by 95 well-known and award-winning screenwriters. From 1 July 2018, they will only enter into contract negotiations for new film or series projects if they are granted more control and co-determination rights. a. for the artistic control of the book, a consensual agreement in the occupation of the direction as well as the inclusion of the authors in the rehearsals and rough cut. In addition, all signatories undertake to accept orders for book revisions (rewrites, polishing, etc.) only if they have previously agreed with the colleagues leaving the project.
The initiators of the "Kontrakt '18" are pleased about the networking among their colleagues and consider the initiative as an invitation to their creative partners from production, broadcasters and directors to enter into a productive dialogue, to the creative power of the authors and to use authors for an increase in the quality of fictional film works in Germany - together and at eye level!
Press release (PDF to print)
1st row from the left front: Dorothee Schön, Clemens Murath, Thorsten Wettcke, Johannes Betz, Gerrit Hermans, Marc Terjung
2nd row behind from the left: Annette Hess, Sarah Schnier, Heide Schwochow, Kristin Derfler, Esther Bernstorff, Volker A. Zahn
3rd row offset: Thomas Wendrich, Sebastian Orlac, Richard Kropf, Bob Konrad, Oliver Kienle, Hanno Hackforth, Rolf Basedow, Susanne Schneider, Britta Stöckle, Katrin Bühlig, Christian Jeltsch, Orkun Ertener, David Ungureit, Michael Comtesse, Kai Hafemeister, Eva Zahn, dahinter: Stefanie Veith
"I very much welcome the fact that even after shooting begins, we actors can talk to the author about his or her vision of a character." Maria Furtwängler (actress)
"I welcome the initiative, because above all else it is the work of the author that enables me to develop my true game. The discourse about the stronger position of the author in our country is long overdue and must finally be won." Henning Baum (actor)
"I am pleased about the authors' important initiative, strengthened position and responsible cooperation." Thorsten C. Fischer (director)
“Solidarity!" Dietrich Brüggemann (director)
"We think this initiative is great and fully support it." GrandHôtelPictures GmbH
"Dear Authors, Thank you for your initiative, I think it is very important and it is time! For us, the proper handling of you and your work has always been a common practice, and for me it is simply incomprehensible that this is not the case across the board. We all want the highest quality and can achieve it. This requires teamwork at eye level and professionalism on all levels. I hope that the Kontrakt '18 initiative can and will support our films, our industry, our culture!" Fabian Massah (producer)
"I support Kontrakt '18.
For more respect for creative good.
For a better cooperation.
For better movies and series.
Thank you for the courage to change something."
Jano ben Chabaane (director)
"I have just read the interview with you in the FAZ and congratulate you on this very clear statement. Although I work in documentary film where, in my experience, the collaboration with the authors is more professional, I still think that our TV system lacks collegiality and mutual respect for the work of others. In the sense: Continue to be strong and energetic and successful in your endeavor! All the best, Sarah Elena Schwerzmann"
"Hello Kontrakt '18, I find your initiative great and support it with full conviction! Kind regards" Ariane Zeller (director)
"Dear screenwriters. I think your thoughts, the merger and your demands are correct, important and good. Let us work together to create stories in the future under different conditions! I like." Katrin Haase (Producer and Producer, U5 Film Production & BEAUTIFUL OUTLOOK Film Production)
"I wish you, dear scriptwriters and screenwriters of Kontrakt '18, a lot of strength and cohesion - on the absolutely necessary requirements are quickly implemented and adhered to and thus as soon as possible belong to the standard. I will support you without reservation where I can. Your demands become part of my directing contracts. If you have a kind of supporters list I would like to register. Best Success" Uwe Janson (director)
"I just read the Spotlight Film article and was thrilled. Your demands accurately reflect my understanding of scriptwriting and the script as an independent artistic product as well as the screenwriter as artist. I myself have already experienced how the writer is seen only as a service provider in the course of the commercialization processes. It is necessary to fight this trend that started in the 90s. The degradation of the authors has also led to the decline in some areas, especially problematic in the cinema. But I also appreciate your initiative, as someone who deals with material as a producer. Because we need the original understanding of the author artist and of the book as a decisive creative blueprint that is literally protected by copyright in order to finally return to an intelligent production landscape Find. It cannot be long before authors and artists behind the vision of their work are "marked" and selected as "difficult" within the establishment. Likewise, stronger protection against rip-offs is needed. The funding should also be on the side of the authors and artists. The production was supposed to form a community with the artists." Peter Engelmann (producer)
"Great! I would be very happy if you could keep me informed about your activities. As an agency, we are happy to support all the points you have suggested. Best regards, Adrian Karberg"
"Really really good. To be honest, that was long overdue. Not only can I understand your demands as a producer well, I will support you in your search for strength. Who else but the authors are the authors of a film? Well roared lionesses and lions. Ivo Beck"
"That sounds good and important! It's great that you are calling for these long overdue steps!", Florian Bartholomäi (actor)
"I'm there and support the rights of the authors with my name." Francis Meletzky (director)
"I think your demands are absolutely justified and, to be honest, totally reserved." Harry Flöter (producer, 2Pilots Filmproduction)
"Dear Founders of Kontrakt '18, very good initiative. It's high time that respect for authors in our industry is finally established, and that has a lot to do with contracts and guaranteed rights. Exactly right, what you demand, I'm in!" Annette Ernst (director)
"Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for the overdue initiative - what you are asking should be self-evident. Without authors, we would all be nothing. That's why they deserve our maximum respect." Ingo Fliess, (producer)
"I'm happy about scripts from professionals! As an actor, I do not want that after my last stop another colleague comes to the set and plays my scenes again. And in sync then another set everything else again. What you demand must finally become self-evident. Keep it up! " Johann von Bülow (actor)
"In the hope of continued good and respectful cooperation, we welcome your initiative in the interest of good films and series. This requires a professional division of labor with binding agreements. Above all, it needs a good idea, the protected mature was allowed. So that in the end something arises, the result of the creative cooperation of many trades on fair terms. The producers of Odeon Film" Dr. Ronald Gräbe
"The initiator / s deserves the German Honorary Television Award for Courage and the remarkable in this industry (at least announced) solidarity. Another information from times before the private television: at that time there was no buy-out, but only repeat fees, with authors / s received 100% and directors 10%. This ratio quite rationally expressed the respective shares of copyright ..." Stephan Bechtle (producer)
"I declare more than solidarity." Christian Schwochow (director)
"Unfortunately, there has been no such recognition for the authors' achievements in Germany so far. Unfortunately, not even by some of my colleagues who want to register and be honoured as directors, authors' rights. I hope that will change with Kontrakt '18." Dietmar Klein (director BVR)
"I'm in this with all my heart! The authors are not service providers. They must not be missing from the decisive processes of film development." Anja Antonowicz (actress)
"A great initiative, right and on!" Oliver Stokowski (actor)