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"Purchases are made based on the intrinsic marketing of the film"

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Camille Neel • Exporter


- The trump cards of the line-up for Cannes and decoding market trends with Camille Neel, director of international sales at Le Pacte

Camille Neel  • Exporter

A few days away from the opening of the Film Market of the 69th Cannes Film Festival (which will be held from 11 to 22 May 2016), we caught up with Camille Neel, director of international sales at Le Pacte, Jean Labadie’s company. This year’s Market promises to be a good one for the Parisian company, which is most notably selling three films that will be unveiled in Directors’ Fortnight (After Love [+see also:
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interview: Joachim Lafosse
film profile
by Joachim Lafosse, The Together Project [+see also:
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by Solveig Anspach and Endless Poetry [+see also:
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by Alejandro Jodorowsky) and documentary Wrong Elements [+see also:
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by Jonathan Littell, which will have its world premiere in a special screening of the Official Selection.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Cineuropa: So Le Pacte will be heading to the Film Market with four films appearing in the various sections of the festival.
Camille Neel: After Love was so right for us that we were on board as soon as we saw the screenplay, the actors are impressively meticulous and it’s a great film that we’ll go far with, as it speaks to everyone. As for The Together Project, it’s really admirable that Solveig Anspach managed to successfully complete it before sadly passing away, especially as the result is so positive, inventive, cheerful, funny and full of life. Turning to Endless Poetry, we’re big fans of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s work, and we loved the screenplay and were delighted to work with him on this magical film that will make for a lovely screening at Cannes. And as the trademark characteristic of Le Pacte’s line-up is its eclecticism, we also have a documentary in the form of Wrong Elements. This is a genre that we’re fond of, as it also represents the reason we chose this profession: to try to portray as many chains of thought as possible, to put those who have something intelligent to say in the spotlight. Moreover, our line-up also includes This Is Our Land by Lucas Belvaux (see article), filming for which has just kicked off and the screenplay for which will be available to buyers. It’s a film that should be ready in time for Berlin and should make an impact. We will also have the market premiere of A Kid by Philippe Lioret and off-the-chain comedy Ouvert la nuit by Edouard Baer starring Audrey Tautou, without forgetting The Outsider by Christophe Barratier, which we will be releasing in France on 22 June, and Orphan by Arnaud des Pallières, the screenplay for which is worthy of all the meticulous editing that is currently taking place, and which we’re very much looking forward to showing.

What is the current frame of mind of buyers?
Although there are obviously exceptions to the rule, they are generally very meticulous in their choices ; they’re very reflective and there’s a lot of to-ing and fro-ing. Wherever they’re from, purchases are made very cautiously, in a calculated way, based on the intrinsic marketing of the film. For pre-sales, as we do have films that fall into that category, a film needs to have certain marketing qualities even before it is seen, such as the name of the director, the actors, the subject, whether or not it has been chosen for any festivals etc. 

What are the trends in the different territories?
It really depends on the markets and the line-ups. There are films that aren’t expected to sell well and then sell everywhere, and others that are considered highly exportable but then don’t do as well as expected. We’ve sold a considerable number of films in the United States in recent years, but it’s hard to draw overall conclusions from that. We also sell very well in China where we don’t have access to mass distribution channels in cinemas and are still subject to a quota system, but we have found other forms of distribution with VoD and TV: the economy is still not up to the dream scenario that over a billion inhabitants can bring about, but we’re nonetheless exporting a lot, hoping that it will create a tradition in the type of films we sell and that we will be able to secure some bigger deals when things really get going. Overall, prices have been stable more or less all over the world for two or three years now, but we’re never safe from economic jolts such as the one that hit Russia three years ago or Brazil and Argentina last year. Then there are bidding wars over certain films from time to time, which push prices up, but rarely to obscene heights, as distributors give up after a while and we try to keep things reasonable.

What about the emergence of VoD platforms?
Our priority is always to try to find a distributor that does the same thing as us in their territory, i.e. sell films with "full rights attached". Dividing up rights comes at a later stage. There is multi-territorial interest from stakeholders of the likes of Netflix, but they place a lot of options on the table that don’t always materialise. Separating rights is a lot more difficult to manage with sales and the timeline of holdbacks you have from buyers in different territories and in the same one. Then you have the factor of remuneration, and even if it’s starting to take off in certain countries such as China for example, we’ll have to see how things progress in this area...

(Translated from French)


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