Lindsay Peters • Market and industry director, Frontières Market
"Genre has a passionate, devoted audience and a passionate, devoted generation of filmmakers"
by Valerio Caruso
- Cineuropa sat down with Lindsay Peters, market and industry director of the Frontières Market, to discuss the recent evolutions in genre films
Lindsay Peters, market and industry director of the Frontières International Co-Production Market, chatted to Cineuropa about the genre-film industry, how it finds its funding and her plans for the upcoming edition of the market, for which the early-bird deadline for accreditations is 20 February – more information can be found at frontieresmarket.com.
Cineuropa: Because you are a specialist in genre films, what, from your point of view, are the trends and the evolution of this particular sector?
Lindsay Peters: I think we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of European genre films in the past year that are coming from unexpected places. Historically, Europe has a fantastic tradition of doing very, very well and being pioneers in genre. But now we are seeing more and more genre films coming from developing markets like Lithuania, from Latvia and Croatia. We also have a great resurgence in science fiction and dystopian narratives in Europe, which I think speaks to the political shifts that we’ve seen in the last year.
Do you see a difference between Europe and the US or Canada, from this point of view?
Yes, absolutely. I think that overall, there is a great resourcefulness when it comes to genre filmmakers in terms of new distribution models and in terms of new marketing methods. Genre filmmakers all over the world are very much at the forefront of these trends, and continue to be so. And what the genre industry has is an incredibly passionate, devoted audience, as well as an incredibly passionate, devoted generation of filmmakers that are emerging. And this is a very international scene; I think there are a lot of great commonalities going on in terms of US independent genre and European independent genre. So, I think, honestly, the commonalities are there more than the differences.
But the US has a long tradition – correct me if I’m wrong...
Yes, absolutely. I think, for example, that in the US, in the 1990s, there was The Blair Witch Project, which changed everything for independent film in general, and for distribution and different marketing models as well, and we’ve definitely seen that trickle over to Europe in the last ten years, too.
What are the particularities of the financing models for genre films with respect to normal films?
There has been a difference in terms of the approach for public institutions as well. I think public institutions are getting far more involved in genre film than they were previously. For example, at Frontières, one of our projects that screened at the European Film Market, Turbo Kid, began as a project in 2012 and ended up receiving Telefilm Canada funding and also encountered its partners at Frontières.
Private funds are more heavily involved, for example...
Yes, absolutely. In the US, obviously, you are far more dependent on private funding than you are in Europe. However, what we have found with a lot of the American projects that we’ve been able to put in our market is that they can greatly benefit from a lot of the resources in Europe, such as post-production. For example, there is the project of the film Spring, which came from a pair of emerging US filmmakers, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, and they did their post-production in Estonia. So we’re finding that’s a key area where we can bring Europe and the US together.
Tell me about the evaluation of last year’s market in Brussels.
Our first European edition was in April 2014, and we were hosted by the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival, and we were incredibly pleased with how that went. We ended up with about 230 accreditations. The great thing is that we saw a surge in sales agents and institutions. And it was really great because we were able to carry that over to Montreal and also have an increase in both sales and institutions. And we had a great cross-section of projects in Belgium and Finland that are doing extremely well at the moment. We also had a number of Quebec and Canadian projects as well that we were able to bring over.
Can you tell me about the new edition? Are there any new elements?
This year, we are expanding our pitch session. Previously we had 12 projects pitch; this year, we’re going to have between 16 and 20. Genre is very much a story- and concept-based type of filmmaking, so the pitch session is incredibly important. And we have a wide cross-section of emerging and established filmmakers.
In Brussels this year, we’re introducing a market spotlight, where we are partnering with two other industry initiatives that specialise in genre: we have the European Genre Forum at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival and Blood Window at Ventana Sur. And in the last few years, there has been a surge in genre-film industry initiative. And we realised that there’s a nice little community going because one thing that genre film has going for it is that we have an incredibly passionate and incredibly devoted community of filmmakers – as well as an audience with these same qualities. So, at Frontières we’re aiming to cultivate that communal feeling and bring the best of the best of the genre film industry to Brussels, and have Tallinn and Ventana Sur each present two projects that they’ve had at their events in the last year, so we’re very excited about that. We have two projects from Spain that are being presented by Blood Window, and then we have a project from France and a project from Finland being presented by Tallinn. This year, we’re also introducing a Seeking Director spotlight. And we had three really strong projects that came from very strong producers – one from the Netherlands, one from Canada and one from Ireland. The idea is that they do not currently have a director attached, but they’re actively looking for one. And the projects were so strong that we felt that it would be an interesting spotlight to have as part of the Brussels edition this year.
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