in berlin | economic woes

by eug
February 7, 2009 8:14 AM
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It's hard not to become numb to all the talk of the deepening economic crisis. Yet the conversation continues and, like the economic downtown, will probably persist for some time. Numerous close friends are currently out of work and I doubt I'll be totally shocked if and when others lose their jobs. A generally optimistic person, I have to admit that it's a seriously scary time.

Walking around the halls of the European Film Market this afternoon in Berlin, the economy came up in numerous conversations. It's a constant subject during small talk. Movies are certainly still getting made, but with fewer entities funding them and dwindling revenues for those films that do get produced, what does the future hold? More collaboration, in the form of international co-productions, argued independent producer Jen Meurer at a rather bleak panel discussion I covered today for indieWIRE. And, he added, fewer films clogging the system can't really be a bad thing, can it?

No doubt, deals will still get done at markets like the EFM -- and at the Marche du Film in a few months in Cannes -- but, dropping prices for films seems to be the biggest fear facing sellers right now. With fewer buyers spending less money, brokers are looking for ways to get more out of the marketplace for their films. Witness the recent sale of Lee Daniels' "Push" to Lionsgate out of Sundance. Over dinner the other day here in Berlin, one veteran acquisitions executive speculated that Harvey Weinstein -- who is suing Lionsgate and Cinetic claiming he had a deal for the movie -- quipped that Harvey was a mere pawn, strung along simply to drive up the price of the film. Yikes!

Idle chatter, I'm sure...

Martin Gropius Bau tonight in Berlin, site of this week's European Film Market.
[photo by eugene hernandez]

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