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Audiences across borders at the HFM


- This year’s Holland Film Meeting hosted a panel on the marketing, distribution and sales of co-productions between the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany

Audiences across borders at the HFM
l-r: Marc Smit (Cinéart), Janneke de Jong (Cinéart) and Benoit Roland (Wrong Men)

At this year’s Holland Film Meeting, writer-directors and producers presented several case studies of co-productions between the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Together with marketing, sales and distribution experts, the filmmakers discussed the experiences they had with the distribution of their films abroad.

Produced as a Dutch-German co-production between Amsterdam-based KeyFilm and Coin Film in Cologne, the dramedy Nena [+see also:
film profile
by Saskia Diesing didn't get theatrical distribution in Germany. “The distribution market in Germany is very competitive,” reported Coin Film producer Christine Kiauk. “We found Lighthouse in Berlin, which does straight-to-VoD releases.” Made for a 16-plus audience, the arthouse film was difficult to market. “Teenagers don't know that cinemas exist,” commented KeyFilm producer Hanneke Niens. “The script ended up as more of a drama than a comedy,” added Cinéart joint CEO Marc Smit, “because Nena is confronted with the death wish of her father at the age of 16." In the Netherlands and Belgium, the film took between 10,000 and 15,000 admissions.

Writer-director Raf Reyntjens was in Utrecht for the third time with his Paradise Trips [+see also:
interview: Raf Reyntjens
film profile
– he had previously pitched this road movie as a project as well as a work in progress at the HFM. Shot at a music festival in Croatia, the film is about the inner conflict of the main character. “Everybody wants to be free but has to follow certain rules,” said the filmmaker. “The subculture is more the background of the story.” Belgian producer Frank Van Passel from Caviar Brussels co-produced the film with Marc Bary from Ijswater Films in Amsterdam. The world sales are managed by m-appeal, courtesy of Yvonne Andreas, who handles press, marketing and acquisitions at the firm. In Belgium, Cinéart opened Paradise Trips at the end of August; it is still being screened and has so far taken 12,000 admissions. 

On 7 October, Cinéart will release Prejudice [+see also:
film review
interview: Antoine Cuypers
film profile
, the first feature by Antoine Cuypers, which will open the 30th Namur International French-Language Film Festival. Produced by Benoit Roland with his new company Wrong Men, the story is about a 32-year-old who faces a crisis when his sister announces that she is pregnant at a family dinner. “I met my co-producers at an EAVE seminar,” reported Roland, who got CTM Pictures from the Netherlands and Lucil Film from Luxembourg on board as partners. The world sales are handled by Les Films du Losange

“If a film is good, it has the chance to break through,” summed up Smit, who is releasing the film in theatres in Benelux. For small, independent movies, a digital release is often very difficult. “You have to be very clever to make them work if there is no awareness of a film.”

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