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THE BUSINESS STREET 2014

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The need to keep a distributor-friendly environment

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- The award-winning Swiss-French filmmaker Ursula Meier is appointed as Europa Distribution‘s new President of Honour

The need to keep a distributor-friendly environment
From left to right: Europa Distribution president Jakub Duszynski, President of Honour Ursula Meier, Europa Distribution managing director Christine Eloy and Europa Distribution vice-president Laurent Dutoit

At the General Assembly of Europa Distribution at the Rome Film Festival, the independent European distributors organization appointed the French-Swiss filmmaker Ursula Meier as new President of Honour. "For me this is a natural step because as an independent filmmaker I really want to talk to each distributor who is releasing my film," underlines Ursula Meier. "With my last film Sister [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Kacey Mottet Klein
interview: Ursula Meier
festival scope
film profile
]
I travelled two years around the world and was very moved because of how much the distributors fought for my film. The future of filmmakers relies on that because without an audience there won‘t be any films anymore."

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

One of the key issues which the members of Europa Distribution worry about is the single market online idea that was pointed out in the dossier by the new EU President Jean-Claude Juncker to the Commissioners. "It is not feasible to have a single market online because the cinema is based on territoriality in Europe," emphasizes Christine Eloy, managing director of Europa Distribution. "A distributor who invests in a film and takes the risk, needs to have the theatrical, television and VOD rights in order to recoup their investment." A single market online would mean non-exclusive rights so that the VOD rights could be exploited by others. "It is a problem if a distributor releases a film locally and creates awareness for the film but somebody else gets the profit from his work."

But it is not enough to make a film available because that doesn‘t mean necessarily that there is an audience for that film. "Distributors are still the key to create demand for films", stresses Jakub Duszynski, president of Europa Distribution. "They are the part in the food chain that tries to create interest for a specialized film. If you make the environment to difficult for distributors, they will move to something safer like genre films that sell well on the internet. We want to make sure that the environment is still friendly for distributors to take risks and release European movies."

The independent distributors are worried that the audiovisual eco system will collapse if one essential element gets changed. "A single release all over Europe is completely impossible for a distributor who wants to make a film by Ursula Meier visible in his country: she can't be in every country at the same time to do the promotion", says Laurent Dutoit, the new co-president of Europa Distribution. This might work if Angelina Jolie is on a promotion tour in London (every journalist will make the trip to interview her), but European films would not be noticed in other countries if there is no distributor/cast to promote them. "It is important that the local distributors can do what they know the best," says Lauent Dutoit. "To find the perfect release date and a good festival to launch the film."

At the General Assembly of Europa Distribution there was also a new board elected. Besides the president Jakub Duszynski from Gutek Film in Poland and Laurent Dutoit from Agora Films in Switzerland as the new co-president, the following distributors join them as board members:

Gabor BOSZORMENYI

Mozinet

Hungary

Margherita CHITI

Teodora

Italy

Annemie DEGRYSE

Lumiere

Belgium

Eduardo ESCUDERO

A Contracorriente

Spain

Emma KLOPF

Prokino

Germany

Stefano MASSENZI

Lucky Red

Italy

Unnur SANDE

Arthaus

Norway

Marie STRAUSS

Folkets Bio

Sweden

Régine VIAL

Les Films du Losange

France

Eric VICENTE

Sophie Dulac

France

Andy WHITTAKER

Dogwoof

UK

Astra
EPI Distribution
LIM
 

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