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Memento Films International continues to focus on ambitions

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Tanja Meissner • Exporter

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- Cineuropa spoke to Memento Films International's Tanja Meissner: focus on the line-up and international sales strategy of the French company a few days before the European Film Market

Tanja Meissner  • Exporter

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, etc. The French sales company Memento Films International, headed by Emilie Georges and led by Tanja Meissner is one of the top operators. Meeting a few days before the European Film Market of the 65th Berlinale (from 5 to 15 February 2015).

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Cineuropa: With Body [+see also:
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interview: Malgorzata Szumowska
interview: Malgorzata Szumowska
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 by Malgorzata Szumowska, Memento Films International is selling a Golden Lion nominee for the sixth time in seven years.
Tanja MeissnerMalgorzata Szumowska is a regular in Berlin. Dieter Kosslick really likes her movies and they’re really in line with the festival agenda. However, Body is very different to what she has done in the past. It’s an odd film, a bit bizarre, about characters that have dysfunctional relationships with their bodies. We’ve been working with Malgorzata for a number of years now and we think she’s great: she’s a genuine, unique voice, with a lot to say and she has a very modern approach.

What are the other major movies in your line-up?
Louder Than Bombs (read the article) will be ready in the spring. We had excellent presales because it’s got a super screenplay, a wonderful director and a fantastic cast. Joachim Trier is a filmmaker we adore and who is taking his first steps in the English language. We really wanted to accompany him and it was a successful gamble in our opinion. We’re also counting on Marguerite by Xavier Giannoli (article), one of the most important French films this year. It’s very original and we will release it ourselves in cinemas in France. At the Rendez-Vous of French Cinema in Paris, we screened a real promo that was very well-received and that has already had presales: the distributors are well-acquainted with Xaxier Giannoli’s movies and they love Catherine Frot.
We also have two fantastic projects arriving in the line-up: Des nouvelles de la planète Mars (lit. News from planet Mars), the new movie by Dominik Moll which will be a comedy with François Damiens and Vincent Macaigne, as well as Cate Shortland’s next work, an adaptation of Berlin Syndrome.

Memento has always prioritised a targeted line-up, without seeking to expand it at all costs. What’s your strategy?
We sell 8 to 10 films per year. We’ve always sought to differentiate ourselves by wholly accompanying our films, in our opinion in any case. That’s our policy and it works. We choose our films very carefully, and we’re probably a bit more selective in our choices than other sellers. We focus on favourites, by trying to remain loyal to directors. In addition, we’ve been experiencing a growing fondness for English language films, be they genre films or bigger productions, like recently with Still Alice that has just received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. But we also want to continue with films by prestigious filmmakers. We want to put everything together because that allows us to avoid projects encroaching on each other by addressing the same audience and the same buyers.

In general, the distributors have become very cautious in their acquisitions.
With strong projects, good screenplays and well-known directors, one can pre-sell the movies. It’s also equally important to be able to class a film based on its potential for success in theatres. The distributors’ caution is reflected in the amount of MGs that we were offered. These days, we often work with a bonus system linked to box-office success. We’ve been doing that for years in addition to "capping" release fees so that they don’t become unreasonable, but without excessively limiting them.

What’s your opinion of the European Film Market?
It’s a very effective market, with very good working conditions and excellent quality screenings. It’s always been a very good market for us, with a good turnover. It’s not as big as Cannes but it allows us to kick off the year with a good start and to prepare for the future.

(Translated from French)

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