Hiring Personnel

There are several contract models in Colombia that can be used to hire artists, technicians and authors and, generally speaking, logistical services required in production projects.

These are a few of the most common:

 Civil/Commercial contract

These are independent contracts not seeking to establish any labor relationship between the contractor (producer) and the contractee.

For this reason the contract must not refer to any of the common elements found in labor contracts such as subordination and dependence, although the necessary mechanisms of coordination between the parties must be stated.

This type of contract is free and is signed once an agreement is reached regarding obligations, amount and type of payment.  A written document is recommended  but is not usually obligatory.

Parties are free to fix the domicile for legal purposes: Colombia or the producer’s country of origin.

This type of contract can be used to hire persons considered to be “authors” of the work (screenwriter, director, animation designers or composers of original music) when it is necessary to define the rights each of these authors grants to the produce of the film work (public communication rights for formats, territories, adaptations, reproductions, etc.) and which rights, when applicable, are reserved, since assignment of rights is presumed in Colombia; all type of agreements to the contrary are accepted.

This type of contract is also used to hire artistic services (actors, directors of photography, art directors, set designers, editors, etc.) and technical services provided by individuals or legal entities, as well as a wide range of logistical services (transportation, locations, rooms outside of hotels).

As in all contracts, it is important to state the amount of remuneration for each product and whether said remuneration is definitive or if part of it is subject to commercial exploitation of the work, which depends entirely on the parties since there is no obligatory royalty system in Colombia.

It is convenient, and in certain cases obligatory (depending on national copyright legislation contained in Law 23 of 1982) for the contents of contracts with “authors” of the work to be filmed, with actors and phonographic producers or composers of music to be synched to the film to be recognized and notarized at a nominal cost (about 3 US dollars per contract) and with very little delay.

It is also important to a production that the contract state that personnel hired are to assume their own responsibilities with the national health care, pension and professional risk systems, even though the production company may contract additional accident or life insurance coverage.

 Associated work cooperative contracts

Generally speaking, associated work cooperatives are organized to attend to the needs of the economic and cultural sectors, among others.  They are comprised of 10 or more individuals who pool their individual jobs in a cooperative but establish no labor relationship with the coop itself.

Cooperatives sign contracts with third parties to produce goods or provide services in exchange for a global payment.

Film productions contract the cooperative which then assigns several of its associates (technicians, actors, artists) to provide services required by the production.

The producer must require proof that coop associates are indeed part of the coop.  Otherwise, the employee is considered the producer’s subordinate and the producer is responsible for all labor obligations.

 Labor contracts

These contracts cover all forms of labor governed by Colombia’s Substantive Labor Code.  This model is not often used for film productions requiring work for limited periods compared with other fields.