CineAsia to honor copyright activist John Polson


CineAsia will honor film director, Tropfest founder and pro-copyright crusader John Polson with the “MPA Asia-Pacific Copyright Educator (A.C.E.)” award at the 2012 convention. Polson will receive the honor at the Awards Luncheon on Dec. 13 at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong.

“In addition to being an award-winning actor and director and founder of Tropfest…John has made great strides with the MPA in promoting copyright education,” stated Robert Sunshine, executive director of CineAsia. “We are delighted to partner with the MPA to give this award each year. The partnership is one of the many good things that has emanated from CineAsia.”

Polson has been the creative force behind Tropfest’s success and global expansion since its humble beginnings as a screening of one of his own short films at Sydney’s Tropicana Café in 1993. Tropfest screenings and events have been held in cities around the world including Berlin, London, Bangkok, Paris, Beijing and Aspen, to name a few.

Over the last 18 months, Polson has turned his attention toward the major issue facing filmmakers across the globe—the need to protect the work of the creative industry from illegal file sharing. In December 2011, Polson joined the Motion Picture Association’s film workshop in Beijing as a guest speaker along with some of the leading film executives from China and the Asia Pacific region. He shared insights into the opportunities for collaboration between emerging filmmakers, especially those involved with short film production.

In January 2012, Polson and the MPA jointly initiated a significant partnership between Tropfest and the Motion Picture Association, Asia Pacific. The nature of the partnership is to illustrate how Tropfest kick-starts careers and the MPA supports life-long careers in the screen community. Polson recognized the importance of raising awareness about the challenges emerging filmmakers face when trying to establish careers in the film industry, especially the need to promote the message that a creator’s work should be recognized, valued and protected. An exciting element to this partnership is the opportunity to share value propositions about film and TV content subtly through the large-scale social media undertaken by Tropfest events.

On June, 4, 2012, Polson was the leading industry voice in support of the release of new piracy research launched by the Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation (IPAF) in Australia. The research revealed that 27% of Australians access illegal movies and television content online on a regular basis, with 10% of those doing so at least once per week or more.

Commenting in the media, Polson said, “I’ve worked in the Australian film and television community for more than 25 years and witnessed the emergence of an incredible number of talented Australians both in front of and behind the camera. Online movie theft casts a dark shadow over any young artist or technician wanting to make a living in the film and TV industry. It’s good to see some of the long-held myths about online content theft being discredited.”

Polson’s involvement in the campaign greatly influenced media attention toward the issue of movie theft. Said Polson, “Artists need support, time and money to develop their ideas and if people rip stuff off, you don’t have to be that brilliant to figure out that you’re ultimately going to affect the end product.”

Polson has become one of the screen community’s leading spokespeople on the need to respect the work of filmmakers and the need for copyright protection. He is often quoted in media releases, in film industry snapshots distributed by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft, and in media interviews.

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