Locarno starts Step In - a win-win situation for everybody
by Birgit Heidsiek
17/08/2012 - "The distribution of European film becomes more and more difficult," says Nadia Dresti (photo), Head of the Industry Office in Locarno. "We have to find a way to reach the audience again and make it curious about European cinema." The aim of the new initiative Step In is to develop new approaches to increase the distribution and marketing of European films d‘auteur.
Launched with the support of the MEDIA programme, the first edition of Step In focused on the situation of European films in the Eastern and Central Europe. Film New Europe provided an overview about the markets in twelve MEDIA member states as Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic or Slovenia.
At the industry session in Locarno, several independent distributors and exhibitors which had been selected in collaboration with Europa Distribution and CICAE met with representatives from various world sales companies. "The world sales often ask for a minimum guarantee which the distributors in the Eastern European countries can‘t afford," explained Dresti. "The result is that the distributors don‘t take the film. That improves piracy because the films are not legally available in those countries."
Another consequence of digitization is that film production in Europe is exploding but many of these films are never released. "The festivals can‘t become distributors," the Head of the Industry Office added. "A festival should only launch a film and create a certain awareness for it." To create more awareness for the films from eastern and central Europe, the Industry Office presented a slate of recent films in the Digital Library that had been chosen by the Film Institutes from the different regions. "We provided a visibility for their cinematography in the festival and stimulated the world sales to see those films," Dresti concluded. "This was a win-win situation for everybody."