PARIS (AP) â€” Major international video news agencies face the prospect of having their coverage of the annual Cannes Film Festival limited by severe restrictions being placed by festival organizers on regular newsgathering activities at the May 12-23 event.
The agencies are now in dispute with the festival organizers and are trying to ensure that some kind of "acceptable" coverage can be provided, according to a statement sent to clients by Reuters, AFP, Getty TV and Associated Press Television News.
The agencies each "may be forced to suspend their presence at the festival altogether" if agreement on coverage is not reached with the festival organizers, the statement said.
The organizers of the Cannes festival verbally have informed the news agencies that the restrictions may apply to red carpet events and news conferences, according to the statement. In addition, agencies would be restricted from archiving red carpet and premiere footage. In previous years, no restrictions have been imposed.
The restrictions are linked to contracts the festival has signed with French broadcaster Canal Plus and pay-TV service Orange for exclusive video coverage of official festival events.
The Festival had no immediate comment Monday.
"The proposed restrictions would dramatically reduce the agencies' ability to provide subscribers with an adequate audiovisual record of public events at the Festival," the agencies' statement said.
At other major entertainment events such as the Sundance Film Festival, Academy Awards and Grammy Awards, no restrictions are imposed on footage shot by news outlets. Typically at such events, guidelines are only placed on material shot by the controlling body such as show highlights and backstage interviews.
"We believe that the coverage we provide at the Cannes Film Festival is in the public's interest and that we shouldn't be prohibited from broadcasting material from such a large, public event," said Lou Ferrara, AP's managing editor for entertainment. "Wide exposure of films and their producers, directors and performers would be in the festival's interest."
In a letter to the festival, the agencies said they were "deeply concerned" by the ongoing disagreement and that they could not "accept any impingement on our copyright." The agencies asked the festival be allowed to provide the same kind of coverage as in previous years and assured the festival that any coverage would be used for "editorial purposes only."
The 63-year-old festival often highlights some of the major releases and Oscar contenders for the year ahead. "Pulp Fiction," ''Up" and "Inglorious Basterds" were all first shown at Cannes. American movie director Tim Burton will preside over this year's jury.
"Robin Hood," which is directed by Ridley Scott, is set to open this year's festival. The full lineup will be announced Thursday.
More than 4,000 journalists are expected to be accredited to this year's festival.