Stray Dogs branches out into theatrical distribution
by Fabien Lemercier
- The Paris-based international sales agent is trying its hand at theatrical distribution with The Starry Sky Above Me
Founded in 2015, Stray Dogs has already found its niche in the international sales domain, but the Paris-based company is now adding another string to its bow with theatrical distribution in France. Its first release – that of Ilan Klipper’s The Starry Sky Above Me [+see also:
film profile] (first revealed in the ACID selection at Cannes last year) – is taking place today. Nathan Fischer, who heads up Stray Dogs, explained his strategy to Cineuropa.
"I think there’s room in the market for unique films aimed at younger audiences, and that the time is nigh when viewers will have had enough of often seeing the same, overly standardised, movies. The idea is to bring out films that are a bit different, but in a different way, and to become a real label for distributing younger films, as these exist in many other countries, but not really in France. Using more sustained events and a lot of digital marketing, we’re going to launch more dedicated content that we will try to systematically put in the same theatres, to make viewers get into the habit of coming back to specific theatres for specific films, rather than bringing the movies out everywhere and hoping that the viewers will turn up. One possibility is that the films will not be offered according to a full-time schedule, because that’s exactly where there’s a bottleneck in the market, but rather a half-time schedule so that they will be more spread out over time. Plus we are going to try to work on doing national releases with cinemas that are currently only thought of as theatres where a movie continues its run. We plan to distribute five or six films per year." After The Starry Sky Above Me, the next films in the pipeline are Thirst Street [+see also:
interview: Nathan Silver
film profile] by Nathan Silver on 25 July and Psycho Raman by Anurag Kashyap in the autumn.
According to Fischer, this new French distribution activity is also likely to strengthen Stray Dogs’ allure as an international sales agent. "Our occupation is destined to evolve towards offering more services to directors and producers, so that we won’t merely be considered as sales agents on commission, but rather as partners that can also take care of French distribution, press, marketing and talents in the longer term. Since the market is getting more and more difficult, just handling it film by film as a seller is a strategy that won’t pay off in the long term."
Standing out among the titles currently in post-production being sold by Stray Dogs is Koko-Di Koko-Da by young Swedish director Johannes Nyholm. In Fischer’s view, "He’s a very good example, as he’s one of the most interesting filmmakers in Scandinavia. He’s had three short films in the Directors’ Fortnight and has won some impressive awards, including the Special Jury Prize at San Sebastián, with his feature debut, The Giant [+see also:
interview: Johannes Nyholm
film profile]. But this film hasn’t come out in France, which is an important territory for directors and for the furtherment of their careers. For Koko-Di Koko-Da, we are setting our sights on a North American premiere, and of course, we are going to try to sell it in France, but if we don’t manage to, we know that we will be able to bring it out ourselves."
(Translated from French)
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