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Bernie Stampfer, Andrea Olsson, Ulrich Michel • Essential Legal Framework training series, Erich Pommer Institut

“We looked at the importance of drawing on insight and data to identify problems and design solutions that help you stay relevant in a changing market”


- Three experts from EPI’s international workshops reflect on the institute’s latest round of training activities, and the main takeaways and concerns

Bernie Stampfer, Andrea Olsson, Ulrich Michel • Essential Legal Framework training series, Erich Pommer Institut

The Essential Legal Framework training series (supported by Creative Europe – MEDIA) has been a long-standing staple of the Erich Pommer Institut (EPI), one of the leading providers of advanced training in Europe’s media landscape. The series and its yearly workshops are designed to meet the specific needs of industry professionals and enable them to update their knowledge – with an emphasis on legal and financial aspects – quickly and effectively. 2021 marked a return to an on-site workshop, which tackled a variety of relevant topics for audiovisual professionals.

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In detail, European Co-Production gave participants working in film and TV series the knowledge they need to successfully handle and navigate the many intricacies of European co-productions. Leading Innovation and Change introduced participants to a range of entrepreneurial approaches, perspectives and frameworks to help them anticipate change, innovate in their business models and build sustainable businesses. Lastly, in The Art of Negotiating Agreements, participants dove deep into the psychological dynamics involved in any negotiation, and received a comprehensive overview of VoD platforms and other potential business partners.

Bernie Stampfer (head of studies, European Co-Production, and also founder of International Film Partners), Andrea Olsson (trainer at Leading Innovation and Change, as well as strategic coach, consultant and director of Ypperlig) and Ulrich Michel (head of studies, The Art of Negotiating Agreements, and also business mediator and attorney at Noerr) look back at the workshops and what the participants were able to take away from the sessions.

The Erich Pommer Institut is one of the leading providers of professional training in the German and European media industry, and an independent think tank. With expertise in media law and economics, the EPI accompanies the process of digital transformation in the media industry in a variety of formats and publications. The EPI was founded in 1998 as an independent non-profit limited liability company in Potsdam-Babelsberg, and is an affiliated institute of the Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf and the University of Potsdam.

Cineuropa: What were the most relevant topics or concerns at this year's workshop?
Bernie Stampfer:
More than two years of the pandemic have permanently altered the cinema and television markets. The big question has been whether European support and funding mechanisms, in particular, are strong enough to provide independent producers with a sustainable position in the markets. And another central question was about the changing legal frameworks with a view to the streamers' national production obligations.

Andrea Olsson: We put audiences, customers and users in sharp focus, and explored how to stay relevant and evolve your business with their changing needs front of mind. And we explored how to embed a “test, learn and iterate” approach to continually innovate your business and emphasised the importance of asking the right questions. We also looked at the importance of drawing on insight and data to identify problems and design solutions that help you stay relevant in a changing market.

Ulrich Michel: Reflecting on and training the competence to interact (communicate, negotiate and resolve conflicts) with other people in a professional context.

What were the main benefits and tools that participants were able to take away from the workshops?
S: Small and medium-sized independent producers have to deal with many new realities and widening new opportunities. The workshop gave clear signals that rethinking content and business strategies can lead to successful new positioning in these changing markets.

AO: The workshop offered a valuable opportunity for participants to take time out from day-to-day business to consider the wider market and the changes affecting their audience and customers. With an interactive approach and plenty of opportunity for reflection and discussion in breakout sessions, we explored a range of frameworks to inspire new perspectives. These included The Lean Canvas, a one-page business model, which helped us interrogate existing business models and innovate new solutions, approaches to developing and testing assumptions, and how to hone your unique value proposition or match market opportunity.

UM: Becoming aware of what it takes to interact in an adequate and constructive manner with others; becoming aware of our own inner dynamics and their perception by others. Also, training professional communication, negotiation and conflict resolution.

What did you personally take away from the workshop?
S: It is not about arthouse versus streaming; it is arthouse and streaming. It is not just about “projects”; it is about projects and business. And I have seen exactly this amongst the participants. Onwards!

AO: There is a lot of value in holding space for reflection. In our always-on world, it’s rare that we get the headspace for meaningful reflection. There was real energy in the breakout sessions, and some real “aha” moments came out of engaging in conversation and being challenged in a safe space, among peers.

UM: In my role as a trainer, I have very much enjoyed engaging in intensive discussions with the participants about their perception and experience of the subject matter of the workshop.

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