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SEVILLE 2021 SEFF Industry

Miguel Morales • President, ADICINE

“We are striving to keep independent films in the theatres”

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- We chatted to the Spanish producer and distributor to get the low-down on MERCI Sevilla, the Independent Film Market founded as an integral part of the 18th edition of the southern Spanish festival

Miguel Morales • President, ADICINE

As of this month, a new event has been added to the audiovisual industry’s calendar: MERCI Sevilla, Independent Film Market, which will unspool from 10-12 November as an integral part of the Seville European Film Festival, thanks to the partnership between this gathering and ADICINE, Association of Independent Film Distributors. Its president, Miguel Morales, breaks down the main aspects of the initiative for us.

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Cineuropa: How did this collaboration between the Seville-based festival and ADICINE come about?
Miguel Morales:
We independent distributors have always maintained an excellent relationship with the Seville European Film Festival, and while talking to its director, José Luis Cienfuegos, and his team, we happened to mention that there was no independent film market in existence in Spain. We realised that Seville would be the ideal place to set one up because of its long tradition and its close relationship with our sector. And we’re very happy because more than 100 professionals are in attendance at this first convening, including TV channel representatives, exhibitors and distributors. There’s been such a positive response from the guests: if certain people are absent, it’s because their companies don’t yet allow them to travel.

In contrast with other markets that are also held within a festival context, this one will screen finished films, rather than projects, correct?
Exactly, they will be completed films: we will show the exhibitors, platforms and TV channels the new titles set to make a splash in the near future, almost all of which are European films. From Wednesday to Friday, we will show 25 movies in the Nervión Cinemas. We hope that the success of this event will allow it to become firmly established and will enable us to organise it again in the years to come.

What expectations do you at ADICINE have for MERCI Sevilla?
We want the exhibitors, platforms and TV channels to see the films and buy them from us, making the group-working relationship with these players even tighter. We want them to bring these films to the audience.

Apart from heading up ADICINE, you also helm the company Wanda Visión. How do you see the situation for independent film after the pandemic and the consequent standstill in the industry?
Well, it’s worrying, both in Spain and in Europe as a whole: the audience is coming back to the theatres, but it’s proving difficult for them to see independent films again, especially young viewers, who are only watching big US productions. Some countries are doing better, like France, but not as well as they should be, while others are doing worse, like Spain – or Germany, which is doing even worse than us. It’s a tricky situation, and that’s why we are setting up this market, to present the movies to the exhibitors so that they can watch them and support us with more time to spare. In addition, we are considering carrying out various actions in the future, which we will disclose when the time is right. At the end of the day, we are striving to keep independent films in the theatres.

You were saying that young people go to the cinema to watch films by the big US studios. Do you have any ideas about how to educate the new generations, or extend/promote the spread of independent films among them? As we are seeing at the Seville European Film Festival, it’s precisely this kind of movie that speaks the most about the concerns of youngsters. Its a shame that these audiovisual messages are not reaching new audiences!
Yes, that’s one of the challenges that we are tackling: we hope to have a few solutions up our sleeves for the first quarter of next year. We are looking for ways of reaching young audiences: university students and twenty-somethings who watch indie titles on platforms, but who don’t head out to the theatres. We are also on the lookout for a way to win back the adult audience who have stopped going to the movie theatres, be it out of fear, caution or a change in their habits.

In France, there are many films waiting to be released, owing to the closure of the theatres during the pandemic. Is the same thing happening in Spain?
No, because in Spain, we are still releasing movies after the reopening of the cinemas, which started in June last year. The majors did not release many films, but the independent studios did, despite all the complications. There is no logjam of independent films: there are many titles, but it’s the same every year.

You also mentioned digital platformsAre they also a lifeline for independent films, or are they angled more towards mainstream fans, leaving arthouse cinema by the wayside?
There’s a bit of everything, with platforms such as Filmin, which centres on indie film and which works fairly well in Spain, and then there are the major platforms, which focus on series. During the pandemic, the platforms piqued greater interest among people, and that’s creating an audience that finds it more difficult to go to the theatres. However, for me, they complement each other: whoever watches movies on the platforms is also a future client of ours, and whoever watches our movies also watches films and series on the platforms.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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