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Old June 11th, 2007, 08:54 PM   #1
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Getting Release Forms in Foreign Countries

Shortly, I will be heading to the South Pacific to make a documentary/travelogue while aboard a sailboat. Yes I know, it is a tough gig :) During this time, we will be stopping at some very remote atolls, where I plan to film the people in their everyday activities. I imagine there will be a couple of interviews as well.

Would I be required to get release forms from the people? I am hoping the film has some market appeal here in the US. If so, I definitely would like the proper paperwork in order.

If it is necessary to get release forms while filming a documentary abroad, any idea of simplest form possible. I would not want to present someone in the islands with an intimidating legal form. The fewer words the better.

Thanks for any input on this international question.
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Old June 12th, 2007, 05:39 AM   #2
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I am not a lawyer but it's my understanding releases are ALWAYS required with a few exceptions such as filming news coverage in a public place, etc. Now there's not a release police that'll come knocking on your door if you don't obtain them but you may find difficulty in obtaining distribution of your film if you don't have them as broadcast networks, etc, are loath to risk the legal liability. The folks on these remote atolls may not be as naive about filming as one might think and I wouldn't be at all surprised if the village council or whatever demanded payment for permission to shoot and releases - they' got very few sources of needed cash revenue except such things.
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Old June 12th, 2007, 11:52 AM   #3
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I don't think it is a question of naivety, but of customs. No country I know is as litigous as the USA. I would not bother with them unless my producer insisted.
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Old June 13th, 2007, 08:13 PM   #4
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Thanks for your input, guys. You both bring up good points.

I think getting release forms would be more of a necessity with distribution here in the State, not as protection from getting sued by the people. Especially, since they will be portrayed in a positive way and it is not, as you say, their custom. Yes, it is nice to help them out as well through money & supplies. Even if not just for the privilege of filming, but to repay some of their hospitality.

It has not come that far yet, but it would be nice to get to the point where a distributor is asking for paperwork.

Perhaps, there is self distribution. But I guess one hurdle at a time…
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