- WHAT IS FIA?
- WHEN WAS FIA FOUNDED?
- WHO RUNS FIA?
- WHAT DOES FIA DO?
- WHO ARE THE MEMBERS OF FIA?
- CAN INDIVIDUAL PERFORMERS JOIN FIA?
- HOW MANY ORGANISATIONS BELONG TO FIA?
- HOW DO ORGANISATIONS APPLY TO JOIN FIA?
- HOW IS FIA FUNDED?
- DOES FIA BELONG TO AN INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNION CENTRE ?
The International Federation of Actors (FIA) is an international non-governmental organisation representing performers’ trade unions, guilds and associations around the world. It voices the professional concerns and interests of actors (in film, television, radio, theatre and live performance), broadcast professionals, dancers, singers, variety and circus artists and others, with the exception of musicians and visual artists. FIA is a strictly a-political organisation, committed to an equal opportunities policy, regardless of gender, race, colour, ethnic/national origin, religious beliefs, sexuality, age or marital status.
Set up in 1952 by British Actors' Equity and the Syndicat Français des Artistes-Interprètes, FIA has today grown into a truly global organisation with affiliated members in every continent.
FIA's current President is the Norwegian actress, Agnete Haaland. There are six Vice Presidents from Australia, Canada, France, Spain, the UK and the USA. The Executive comprises members representing Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Hungary, Japan, Morocco, Russia and Switzerland. The FIA Executive Committee meets annually and the Congress takes place every four years.
The FIA Secretariat is based in London and in Brussels. Legal counsel is provided by the Danish Actors' Association.
FIA's agenda of policy and activity is broad and busy. Our work encompasses several fields of activity, among which:
FIA's key function is the representation of its members in the international arena. Most national performers' organisations do not have access to this important sphere of activity and FIA is able to participate on behalf of its members in international forums, which deal with issues affecting the life and status of professional performers.
FIA is active in lobbying governments, international and European organisations and institutions, and it is a recognised non-governmental organisation with UNESCO, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the International Theatre Institute (ITI) and the Council of Europe. At meetings of these and other bodies, FIA has the credibility that comes from its widely based membership and its many years of experience.
Union co-operation and solidarity
Performers' working lives and concerns are increasingly global in their nature and FIA exists to help its members share information and co-operate. To do this, FIA encourages the creation of platforms and forums for regional and linguistic groups among its members. The English and French-speaking unions meet regularly to discuss issues of mutual concern, share expertise and experience, and explore solutions to common problems, as do FIA affiliates in North America (within FIA-NA), Latin America (within FIA-LA), Africa (within AfroFIA) and in the European Union, Switzerland and the European Economic Area (within EuroFIA).
The FIA Secretariat provides support and information for many of these activities, co-ordinating joint meetings and seminars of its member organisations in their many fields of interest.
In addition, FIA aims to work towards establishing international standards, norms and model collective agreements designed to protect performers wherever they may work. It is also committed to the co-ordination of performers' work, which can often take place in many countries but for the same employer.
The growing concentration and internationalisation in the media and entertainment industry makes it all the more necessary to work together with colleagues in related sectors. FIA, together with FIM (the International Federation of Musicians) and UNI-MEI (Union Network International – Media, Entertainment and Arts, which represents other media workers), form the International Arts and Entertainment Alliance, which is increasingly active in the international trade union movement and is officially recognised by the ICFTU as a Global Union Federation.
Information exchange and lobbying
Performers' representative organisations need access to the most up-to-date information on a range of issues, for example on developments in collective bargaining, new technologies, cultural funding and policy, and a whole range of issues relating to the social and professional protection of performers, including intellectual property rights, taxation, social security, health and safety. FIA is instrumental to its members in securing that information, thanks to its experience and its contacts in the sector around the world.
In addition to lobbying and discussion documents, surveys and summaries of relevant information, the Federation also publishes a journal, FIA Focus, in French, English, German and Spanish. Model contracts in relation to both film and television production, live theatre and television commercials are in preparation and FIA's Secretariat provides its members with advice, guidance and examples of best practice for use in a national context. Where appropriate, it also lends assistance to national lobbying initiatives.
Trade union development
A fundamental aim of FIA's work is to encourage the sharing of knowledge and experience and to make its member organisations more effective. It believes that performers in every country should have the protection of a strong and effective trade union and it provides assistance and support to all its members, and to some that are not yet members, whatever their stage of development.
This applies in particular to the transfer of knowledge, expertise and resources to unions in the developing world and in new democracies. Development projects are a priority for FIA and money is raised both by members and from outside organisations to fund training programmes, information packages and the provision of equipment. FIA's greatest resource is the expertise of its many members and officials who provide invaluable assistance and training to colleagues in other countries.
Many of FIA's member unions were founded in the live theatre and view live performance as the essence of the performing arts and an indispensable expression of national culture. FIA works to safeguard and extend national and local funding for live performance in all the forms in which performers work, including theatre, opera, dance, variety and circus, and for acceptable rates of pay and the highest standards of health and safety.
Media and new technologies
FIA's member unions are very active in organising broadcast professionals and performers working in radio, film, television and recorded music and they are now dealing with the impact of newer technology - the growth of multimedia, the problems in controlling the use of performance in the digital environment, the ability to manipulate, change and create new performances and the rise of vast international media companies. FIA is busy working to develop standards for the employment of actors in international co-production and to co-ordinate work in dubbing.
Performers’ intellectual property rights
As well as negotiating collective agreements to regulate the use of recorded performances, in many countries performers are also able to exercise intellectual property rights. Building high, harmonised standards for the protection of performers' intellectual property, both nationally and internationally, and in particular in audiovisual media, is a key activity for FIA and, as digital methods of exploiting performances increase, this work is ever more critical.
Performers’ collecting societies
Where performers have been granted certain intellectual property rights, collecting societies have been established to administer these rights. FIA takes an active interest in the work of such societies - both in developing new rights and in practical questions of rights management - and works with a large number of them on a joint and bilateral basis.
FIA believes that all performers have a right to work in their chosen profession, free from the fear of political or religious sanction.
The Committee for Artists' Freedom was set up by FIA to act quickly and mobilise the international performer community to defend any performers whose rights and livelihoods are threatened as a result of war, political or religious oppression, or who face emergency situations of other kinds. The Committee's work consists of fund-raising through the national affiliates, organising letter-writing campaigns, deputations to ministries and embassies, and raising public awareness.
FIA has been active over many years in promoting equality of rights and working conditions for women performers. In many parts of the world, women performers do not yet have earning parity with male colleagues, face discrimination and lack of opportunity because of age, and portrayal of women is often still negatively biased. FIA has produced a Charter for Women Performers and, whenever possible participates in forums to discuss equal opportunities issues.
Performers’ professional and social concerns
FIA's unions are all involved, either directly or indirectly, in social provision for performers' lives - pension and health schemes, taxation, unemployment and other benefits - as well as in training and professional development. Exchange of information and experience between affiliates in these fields is frequently very useful in developing high standards and good practice. Performers have always worked in other countries and FIA unions co-operate with each other through exchange and other arrangements to try to protect performers wherever they are working in the world.
The members of FIA are unions, guilds and associations of professional performers representing actors, dancers, singers, variety and circus artists and others. FIA, together with its sister federation, the International Federation of Musicians (FIM), represents the vast majority of organised performers throughout the world.
Membership of FIA is open to performers’ unions, guilds and professional associations only. FIA does not represent individuals other than through their respective representative organisations. Though we cannot provide advice or assistance to individual performers, we warmly encourage them to become members of a trade union in their country.
Membership of FIA is above 100 organisations in more than 70 countries around the world. Exact numbers can fluctuate according – among other things – to new affiliations. For an updated membership description, please see our list of members on this site.
FIA is always glad to welcome new members and interested organisations should contact the Secretariat in writing or by any other means, to receive an application pack, including forms, the FIA Constitution and other relevant information. The application pack is also available for download on this Web site. The Executive Committee considers all new membership applications annually. The Secretariat is happy to answer any questions about joining the Federation.
FIA is mainly funded by its own member unions and is run with the membership's full participation and representation in all areas of policy-making and activity. Occasionally, external funding can be sought from trade union centres, the European Commission, UNESCO or other sources to support specific projects. FIA also cooperates actively with a few collecting societies who, in return, help the Federation meet some of its operating costs.
FIA as such does not belong to any centre. It is independent and free to orientate its policy as its members see fit. However, together with sister federations FIM and UNI-MEI, it forms the International Arts and Entertainment Alliance, which is officially recognised as a European Industry Federation by the ETUC (the European Trade Union Confederation) and as a Global Union Federation by the ICFTU (the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions).