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CANNES 2016 Industry

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The European Audiovisual Observatory zooms in on added value for audiences

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- CANNES 2016: At the conference of the European Audiovisual Observatory at Cannes, producers, distributors and sales agents discussed the changes in the exploitation chain

The European Audiovisual Observatory zooms in on added value for audiences
l-r: Stefano Massenzi, head of acquisitions and business affairs, Lucky Red; Daniela Elstner, president, ADEF; Michael Gubbins, moderator; Ted Hope, head of motion picture production, Amazon Studios; and Andrew Lowe, producer and director of Element Pictures

“What enables European film to travel is its quality,” stated Ted Hope, head of motion picture production at Amazon Studios, at the European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO) conference hosted by Cannes. According to Martin Kanzler, a film-industry analyst at the EAO, 45% of the 1,500 films that are produced in Europe every year are released in other countries. But 88% of the admissions are for the top 100 films, and only 26 films are seen by more than one million cinema viewers outside of Europe.

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“Everything is changing: the films, the audience and the exploitation,” said Stefano Massenzi, head of acquisitions and business affairs at Lucky Red, who doesn’t see Amazon and Netflix as enemies, but rather as partners. “It is the cinema that creates awareness of a film,” said Daniela Elstner, president of ADEF (the French Association of Film Exporters), who sold Fire at Sea [+see also:
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interview: Gianfranco Rosi
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by Gianfranco Rosi (which won the Golden Bear at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival) to 50 countries. “We are trying to find the best way to exploit a film and bring it to the audience,” explained the CEO of Doc & Film International.

For Andrew Lowe, co-founder of Element Pictures, which has produced films such as Room [+see also:
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making of
film profile
]
by Lenny Abrahamson and The Lobster [+see also:
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Q&A: Yorgos Lanthimos
film profile
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by Yorgos Lanthimos, it is the talent of the filmmaker that counts. “We want to find material that people are passionate about, material that helps us relate to people who are different,” stressed Lowe. 

“We want to make the involvement in the film more valuable,” explained Hope as he outlined Amazon’s strategy. The audience needs to talk about a film when it ends, as “that is how you build a movie”. Amazon gets involved in films early. “We pay very well for all the movies – hopefully that is starting to change the nature of budgets.”

But the DVD market has imploded, and digital revenues are not replacing it, as Kanzler reported. Part of the problem is piracy. “How can you make audiences pay for European films if they can see Hollywood films for free?” asked Hope. “Amazon believes in long distribution: VoD as a delivery platform is too short.” Amazon’s principle is to bring added value to audiences. “The quality of the overall experience is more necessary than ever before,” he concluded.

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