Beki Probst’s European Film Market grows 10% in 2012
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
10/02/2012 - When in 1985 Turkish-born journalist-lawyer Beki Probst (pictured) took over the European Film Market in Berlin, it was still a fair – FilmMesse. ”Festival director Moritz de Hadeln asked me to come up with one or two new ideas, and the first was the name, the European Film Market,” she recalls.
”It was logical to me, because with the American Film Market around, I wanted to show that in Europe we have one, too. There were too many Messes (fairs) around anyway. The name has been discussed over the years – is the market for Europeans only? But I am glad we stuck with it; today, everybody in the film business worldwide is aware of what it is.”
When Probst began, the European Film Market had a couple of hundred participants. Yesterday’s registration statistics – 27 years later - show an overall attendance of 7,412 film professionals from 57 countries, including 1,685 buyers, preparing for 1,134 screenings of 760 films.
403 companies have stands or offices at the market, now based at the Martin-Gropius-Bau and the Marriott Hotel – newcomers this year are Colombia, Philippines, Republic of Kosovo and South Africa. 598 of the entries are market premieres, which will unspool in one of the 39 screening rooms, updated to all technical standards – ”quite a challenge these days”, added Probst.
With most figures 10% up on 2012, pessimism is difficult to keep up for Probst, who has over the years experienced several ups-and-downs with the industry. ”I remember the year when the Iraq war started, and practically no Americans showed up.
”And not so long ago, in 2010, it was a very slow market, in the middle of the financial crisis. The following year business was picking up – since we are first in the year, we are like a test place, we could see what would later come to Cannes and the AFM. Same thing now goes for all the technical changes in the industry – this way, life never gets annoying.”
And Probst’s second new idea for the market? ”It seemed good at the time, but was never carried through and thank heavens, because I wanted to organise theme days, so all German films screened one day, all French the next and so on. But with 760 films in the catalogue...” she concluded.