Una ricetta per il successo dei film europei sotto la lente dell'EAO
di Birgit Heidsiek
- CANNES 2018 (In inglese): Alla conferenza dell'Osservatorio europeo dell'audiovisivo a Cannes, gli esperti del settore hanno discusso dei vantaggi delle coproduzioni internazionali
Questo articolo è disponibile in inglese.
There are some very good reasons to make international co-productions because they travel much better than national films – even outside of the countries involved in the co-production itself. In Europe, 24% of all films are international co-productions and generate 35% of the admissions. They have an export rate of 71%, while only 35% of national films are distributed abroad. Furthermore, co-productions are often successful at the box office. “By all indications, co-productions are released in more markets,” stated Gilles Fontaine, head of department for Market Information at the European Audiovisual Observatory, which organised a conference on exactly this topic at the Cannes Film Festival.
“Co-productions demonstrate our European identity,” underlined producer Dariusz Jablonski, from Apple Film Productions in Poland. “In our countries, co-productions are a way to support independent creativity in a very practical sense. This is a crucial issue.” For Diana Elbaum, producer at Beluga Tree in Belgium, co-productions are the lifeblood of her company. “Our market is too small to finance a film completely in Belgium.”
In Europe, France and Germany are the co-production champions. “But the reality is much more complex than this,” underlined Roberto Olla, executive director of Eurimages. Producers don’t have to co-produce if they can find the resources in their own territory. “In countries like Germany or Italy, comedies are extremely successful in their national territory but are often unexportable. Meanwhile, smaller co-productions don’t generate a lot of money within the co-production countries, but they do circulate much better.”
Not a single co-production could be found among the top ten films in Germany in 2017. In fact, last year, almost 40% of the films released in Germany were international co-productions, but they only had a market share of around 5%. “They don’t perform very well, because the distributors have doubts about investing P&A money,” said Peter Dinges, chairman of the Federal Film Board (FFA). “We have to persuade those distributors and producers who are still hesitant to do co-productions. Some producers won’t do co-productions, because they don’t want to share their revenues.” On the other hand, top German arthouse films such as Toni Erdmann [+leggi anche:
scheda film], Transit [+leggi anche:
scheda film] and the 2018 German Film Award winner 3 Days in Quiberon [+leggi anche:
scheda film] are international co-productions.
“I think it is our job to bring out what the people want; that is a big responsibility,” stressed Esther Van Messel, CEO of Swiss company First Hand Films, which mostly produces and distributes documentaries. “I have observed that nobody wants to see anything foreign anymore; everybody wants their own stories. The people want to understand their own world. That is a huge trend in non-fiction.”
When Swedish producer Helena Danielsson started working in the film industry 20 years ago, she wondered why films were not co-produced internationally. “In Scandinavia, there is a support-system culture where we tend to back each other,” explained the Brain Academy producer. “But this is a real danger when it comes to regionalism. If I had not co-produced, I would not have had these international successes.”
For Lucia Recalde-Langarica, head of unit for the Audiovisual Industry and MEDIA support programmes, the starting point is always to ensure the best possible circulation of European content. “Co-production is a way to make films circulate better,” she maintained. All four MEDIA-supported films that were presented in the official selection at Cannes this year were co-productions. “Besides the various schemes we already have in place, the idea is to create a breeding ground for co-productions, to create a community. In Europe, we promote the freedom of services, but actually, we have not promoted enough free circulation of creativity and culture.”
The evaluation that has been carried out relating to the MEDIA programme has shown that beyond the value of circulation, even more value can be created by nurturing a community so that people from the industry will be working together. “I think that has been a very convincing argument,” summed up the head of MEDIA. “The European Commission has put a proposal on the table for the MEDIA budget, with a significant increase of more than 30%. It is important to see co-productions not only from a strictly economic point of view, and not only thinking about the circulation of content, but also really creating a shared community of values.”
In a co-production, every co-producer has to co-own and have some rights, explained Maja Capello, head of department for Legal Information at the European Audiovisual Observatory. This was also an issue in the case of Terry Gilliam’s Cannes closing-night film, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote [+leggi anche:
scheda film]. This co-production caused a legal dispute between the producers over the ownership of rights.
“In every work, there are many issues that you have to face, such as taxes or corporate differences. You sometimes have to ask for legal advice. But if you have a cooperative partner, there is nothing that can’t be solved,” concluded Dariusz Jablonski. “You have to look at your partner, listen to him and understand what he wants to achieve. You only have to find one partner in another country who wants to achieve the same thing.”
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