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Talks in Berlin

Photo of Sydney Levine By Sydney Levine | Sydneys Buzz February 26, 2014 at 10:49PM

Though the market seemed slow on the surface, the usual sales got made: the larger companies selling almost out, the smaller ones busily speaking with others, selling here and there, worrying if this would get better, worse, or stay the same
Berlin 2014

Though the market seemed slow on the surface, the usual sales got made: the larger companies selling almost out, the smaller ones busily speaking with others, selling here and there, worrying if this would get better, worse, or stay the same.

Meanwhile fascinating and energizing conversations were carried on with friends, newcomers, keepers of funds, representatives of countries and their needs to internationalize, to join forces with one another to create new models, internationalize, form cross cultural competent and cooperative ways of working together. We know the past model is failing to keep up with the technology and its fast spawning product. Some would say the old model is old and frail, sucking its old teeth as it pretends to carry on, but in reality, it is carrying its own corpse upon its shoulders. I would never go so far as to say this; the model will be changed, refined and redesigned, but it will survive because some people enjoy theatrical settings and that helps further other sales

Beatrice Kruger
Beatrice Kruger

FBI Casting Director Beatrice Kruger (now working on Fatih Akin¹s The Cut) spoke to us over dinner at Einsteins about her experience on Woody Allen¹s To Rome With Love, how he got involved in the real life politics of Italy as he attempted to cast real newscasters in the roles they play in real life. He didn't want the right wingers. He didn't like them, but he was told he had to hire them if he wanted to access the government monies, ...besides, how could he cast a left wing newscaster into the role off a right wing commentator? The experience of Italian politics did not make him happy. 

Frank Cox, the founder of the Australian arthouse distributor Hopscotch which has been sold to eOne Entertainment, was in the Scandinavian Pavilion and told me he is still carrying on though on a smaller scale with his original company, New Vision Distribution.  He recently acquired We¹re The Best by Lucas Moodyson, a darling film that showed in Cannes and Toronto and totally endeared me to its 13 year old girls as they searched for ways to get into trouble. (Magnolia has U.S.) 

Andrea Kaul
Andrea Kaul

Robbie Little and Elie Mechoulam, Director of Sales and Marketing of The Little Film Company tallying up that $30,000,000 at the box office at $11 per ticket is only 3 million admissions, or 300,000 tickets sold...TV would be failure if it had such numbers. TV makes $46 million in ad sales on one episode of a great series...

Andrea Kaul, the EFM¹s new Co-Director who comes from RTL TV and ad sales was not at that conversation, but when we spoke after the market was finished, such a topic as episodic content and online ad sales was also on her mind. The Berlinale screening of Netflix¹s second installment of Houses of Cards was a great success in the last days of the Berlinale, which was in itself food for thought. Even Dieter Kosslick, in his interview with Indiewire¹s Eric Kohn (Read HERE) said, "We showed, for the first time in history, House of Cards. We have never done such a thing before. Heads were turning last night. Last year, we had [Jane Campion¹s TV series] Top of the Lake (in its entirety),so we are starting this new whole world."

Ted Hope of Fandor pointed out, "Research company Markets and Markets predicts global video-on-demand (VOD) revenue will grow from $21 billion last year to $45 billion in 2018. They define this as the combined revenues of all VOD outlets, worldwide ‹ essentially digital (online) VOD plus cable & satellite VOD. Huge numbers, but actually not a particularly high compound annual growth rate (16%) to get to the $45b number in years. Figure roughly half of this revenue flows to content owners and half to the VOD outlets."

Wafa Tajdin
Wafa Tajdin

To see the excitement of young people just beginning...everything to gain and little to lose, learning to like what they are doing to further their aims at telling stories their way. When I spoke with Wafa Tajdin, a founding partner and lead producer at Seven Thirty Films, an Africa based indie production company she runs with her sister, artist and film maker Amirah Tajdin. This Arab Indian pair of sisters is working to tell their stories of growing up in Kenya and living in Dubai...I asked which parent was what and was told that each parent was also half Arab, half Indian, the same sexes too...I should have told them about Peter, whose Italian Jewish parents also lived in such a ghetto of mixed marriages in east Harlem in the 1910s and 1920s. These are the stories which are forming in world cinema today. You can see her work HERE 

True cross-culture creation is taking place in the Talents section of the EFM. Eleven films of former Talent Campus participants are showing in the  festival this year


One talent, Sompot Chidgasornpongse has formed a new international sales agency (and distribution company) called Mosquito. Thailand¹s leading independent filmmakers ­ Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives), Pimpaka Towira (One Night Husband), Aditya Assarat (Hi-So), Soros Sukhum (Wonderful Town), Anocha Suwichakornpong (Mundane History), and Lee Chatametikool ­ have joined hands to open Mosquito Films Distribution. The new company will handle international sales and festival distribution for the partners¹ films as well as upcoming titles from the new generation of Southeast Asian filmmakers. - See more HERE

Ben Gibson of London Film School,Ira Deutchman of Colombia Film School, German film school dffb, Frances La Femis, FESCAC the Romanian Film and Theater University are continuing their initiative Making Waves, bringing in students to work collaboratively to develop creative campaigns, edit trailers, design posters and plan roll-out packages for actual independent movies in the EFM.

Also exciting was the search for new models, not only in the film world of funding by government organizations, but of society as discussed in such films as Göran Hugo Olsson¹s (Black Mix Tapes) Concerning Violence and Hubert Sauper¹s We Come as Friends , and of women in society. 50% of public funds should be made available for women who not only constitute 50% of the public as moviegoers and should represent 50% of the cinephiles (those working in the film business) but 50% of all societies and therefore should have 50% of the voice of public policy.

Jasmila Zbanic
Jasmila Zbanic

In its second year, the Dortmund Women's Film Festival drew even more women to hear and discuss the status of women in the film business and gender parity. Speakers such as Heike Meyer-Döring of the Creative Europe Desk of Film and Medienstiftung NRW, Bosnian filmmaker and Golden Bear Winner in 2006 Jasmila Zbanic, So-in Hong of the Seoul International Womens Film Festival speaking on aims and projects of the Asian Women Film Network, Melissa Silverstein of the Athena Film Festival and blogger on Women and Hollywood updating on the status of women filmmakers in the U.S., Mariel Macia of MICA/ CIMA, Spain speaking of the proposal for the EU Commission regarding gender equality on state aid for film - all these and more, like Claudia Landsberger head of EYE International, Film Institute Netherlands hosting a panel of Susana de la Sierra, General Director of ICAA, Spanish Film Institute noting that 7% of the leading roles were women and the 2007 Law for Gender Equality, Cornelia Hammelmann, Project Director of the German Federal Fund, Sanja Ravlic, President of the Gender Equality Study  Group of Eurimages, Croatia -- all spoke of what seems as obvious as the noses on our faces, but which has made little impact on the reality of policies yet... We had so many more conversations, I wish I could put them all here.

With all the ideas circulating, one could hardly say that the Berlinale and the European Film Market were not busy.

This article is related to: Berlin International Film Festival, Berlinale, Berlinale Talent Campus, International Film Market, International Film Festival, International Sales Agent, International Film Business, International, Women in Film, Women: By and For, EFM (European Film Market, Sydney Levine , SydneysBuzz, Beatrice Kruger, Andrea Kaul, Frank Cox, Wafa Tajdin, Sompot Chidgasornpongse, Mosquito Film Distribution , Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Dortmund Women's Film Festival, Jasmila Zbanic

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