At the German Arthouse Fair, “exclusivity is a matter of survival”
by Birgit Heidsiek
- The 15th Filmkunstmesse Leipzig brings together German arthouse exhibitors and distributors
Cannes competition films such as Youth [+see also:
interview: Paolo Sorrentino
film profile] by Paolo Sorrentino and Carol [+see also:
film profile] by Todd Haynes are among the 64 titles that will be presented at the 15th German Arthouse Fair in Leipzig. At this five-day event, distributors bring along several directors such as Gunnar Vikene (Here Is Harold [+see also:
interview: Gunnar Vikene
film profile]), Thomas Stuber (Herbert), Götz Schauder (Conduct – Jede Bewegung zählt) and Ullabritt Horn (Can a Man Make a Difference), who will introduce their new films to the exhibitors. The success of German films will be an issue at several industry discussions. Bernd Neumann, former Minister of State and president of the Federal Film Board, writer-director Dietrich Brüggemann (Heil [+see also:
interview: Dietrich Brüggemann
film profile]) and Vincent de la Tour, general manager of 20th Century Fox Germany, will discuss whether films are made for the cinema. “We are supporting the theatrical window and expect the distributors to do the same,” says Christian Bräuer, president of the independent arthouse cinema association AG Kino. “Exclusivity is a matter of survival, particularly for cinemas in small villages that don’t get the films right away.”
A hot topic that leads to many discussions in the industry is the new German film law. “We need more outstanding films such as Victoria [+see also:
interview: Sebastian Schipper
film profile],” says Bräuer. “A paradigmatic change is needed towards quality orientation.” A key demand is to extend the support for those exhibitors that have to modernise their cinemas, but also to promote their programme online in order to capture the attention of the audience. The cinemas will also need more support for the next wave of digitisation, which is expected to take place step by step. Furthermore, a new audience study will highlight what it takes to attract a target audience with an age between 14 and 39.
The biggest competitor for exhibitors is still piracy. “VoD is not going to work as long as the same films are available online for free,” underlines the AG Kino president. “Mainstream movies are dominating the online sector even more strongly while European films are less in demand there than they are in cinemas.” Therefore, it is not a business model for cinemas wishing to start up their own VoD platform either. “We really hope that the EU is going to give up the combination of day-and-date and VoD,” emphasises Bräuer. “The European cinema network needs to be strengthened.”
The German Arthouse Fair will be rounded off with the Gilde Film Awards 2015, which will be given out on 17 September in the categories of best international and national film, best documentary, and best children’s movie.