The Audience Mindset – A Creative Renaissance for Filmmaking, Funding and Distribution
by Ernesto Leotta
- CANNES NEXT: The Göteborg Film Festival presents a speech and a panel aiming to highlight future opportunities and dangers for cinema
Change and new industry trends continued to be the hot topics during the first weekend of NEXT, especially during the Saturday afternoon panel presented by the Göteborg Film Festival, which saw five top European players address today's threats to cinema and bring solutions to the table.
Patrick Donaldson broke the ice first by quickly introducing his company, .film, a brand-new domain that filmmakers can associate their own film title with, thus helping it to stand out on a global level.
After that, the floor was taken by media analyst Johanna Koljonen, who delivered an enlightening keynote speech about the past, present and future of the film industry. The author and project editor of the Nostradamus Project, a survey predicting the near future of film and television, Koljonen started her presentation by stressing how crucial the role of the media has been in modern societies throughout the years. "Films have always moved the viewer, established role models, brought in focuses of conversation and created shareable experiences. In other words, being a filmmaker, or even just a film lover, was a social identity," stated Koljonen. "What has happened in the last two decades is that the overabundance of content, together with the fragmentation of the market and the devaluation of the old system's currencies, have led to a loss of power for film." The expert then went on to stress that as trends tend to undergo dramatic shifts (teens' attachment to YouTube stars is seven times greater than it is to a traditional celebrity), and as film, TV and interactive increasingly overlap, the core solution relies on audience engagement.
Afterwards, Koljonen invited four fellow audiovisual experts to take part in a panel, in which she acted as a moderator. They all agreed on the importance of audiences as a life jacket for content creators. "The European film industry does not appeal to young audiences, and that's a threat for the future," warned Martin Dawson, of Creative Europe, to which Dogwoof founder Anna Godas replied by saying that although making films is easy, staying audience-focused can be a tough challenge.
The other two guests, Lene Børglum of Space Rocket Nation and Protagonist Pictures' Mike Goodridge, wrapped up the conference by sharing their not-so-rosy views about the future and the younger generations, with the latter concluding: "Would I send my kids to a film school? Maybe, but only if they have a plan B. They're going to have a hard life."