Juliette Rajon and Gérald Duchaussoy • Director and programme manager, International Classic Film Market
“When you know how to attract young audiences, they are there for heritage films”
- The leaders of the MIFC, the 10th edition of which takes place from 18 to 21 October in Lyon as part of the Lumière Festival, analyse the tendencies of the classic cinema market
We met with director Juliette Rajon and her right arm Gérald Duchaussoy (in charge of the programme, but also known for being responsible for Cannes Classics) to talk about the International Classic Film Market (MIFC), the only world market dedicated to heritage cinema, whose 10th edition is taking place from 18 to 21 October in Lyon as part of the Lumière Festival (read the article).
Cineuropa: The International Classic Film Market (MIFC) celebrates its 10th anniversary. How do you analyse its development?
Juliette Rajon: The quantitative data, the qualitative feedback and the way in which the professionals take it up, show that this market is useful, that it has all its legitimacy. It allows the profession to get together and find the opportunity to do business and discuss the challenges of the future. We have gone from a market of a few hundred accredited participants to nearly 500 today, with an increasing variety of geographical origins and 34 countries represented this year. We have expanded our content offering from two conferences in the early days to around 20 conferences, workshops and presentations. The topics are getting more numerous and the industry is now asking us for slots to present initiatives, which is proof that our market has a real purpose.
Gérald Duchaussoy: What we are seeing is a multiplication of the offer. Many countries that were not very well represented with films that did not have a global focus are restoring films, putting them back on the heritage market and looking for windows. For this, the MIFC is a place, albeit a niche one, but one that allows us to find broadcasters and distributors, and this is a desire that is becoming more and more apparent. This is why the number of countries represented has increased, with a European force, but also, among others, an Asian push symbolised by the presence of the Taiwan Film Institute in Lyon for the first time.
Among other trends, there is a fairly clear downturn in the DVD market (but not in the Blu-ray market) and a transition to platforms, but this has not yet fully materialised. So we still have a strong presence of traditional players such as exhibitors and cinema distributors. A delegation from the CICAE will come to the MIFC for the first time to discuss how heritage films can be seen outside the Cinémathèques, in commercial arthouse cinemas. Because the exhibition of classic films is now wider. There is a real desire for heritage and initiatives are being launched all over the world, such as India, which is going to show 18 films from its heritage throughout its territory and which is looking elsewhere in the world for cinemas likely to host this type of initiative. In a case like this and as in many others, our market has an indisputable value as a meeting point.
Even if television channels are obviously still present at the MIFC, everything is moving more and more towards the platforms, and moreover Manuel Alduy, who will be one of our great guests this year (Gianluca Farinelli, from the Bologna Cinematheque, being the Great Witness of this edition), is himself injecting a lot of energy into the france.tv platform. We are therefore accompanying all these transitions that are taking place on all broadcasting media, however varied they may be.
Do you manage to identify with clarity the new broadcasting tendencies?
JR: The traditional distribution channels still have their place for heritage films, because we note that the collapse of the physical video medium concerns fresh cinema more than heritage cinema, especially when it is a beautiful "collector's" edition. We also note that as soon as cinemas organise activities or events around heritage films, there is a revival of interest, an audience and even young spectators. However, in order to attract young audiences, streaming also makes sense. From our point of view, it is rather the accumulation and complementarity of distribution media that makes sense today rather than saying that certain media are outdated. Then, contrary to what we hear a lot, there is an appetite for heritage among young people, which is not necessarily totally natural, but which becomes so as soon as there is education, events and "trendy" actions on social networks. The European Film Factory of the French Institute, a tool for teachers and students to give a taste for cinephilia, is a very good example, as is ArteKino Classics. When you know how to attract young audiences, they are there for heritage films. This is of course a constant questioning of the actors of the sector, but there are already results. And the whole sector is very mobilised, very dynamic and supportive, so that there is as much restoration as possible and the best possible dissemination, including through film libraries and festivals.
GD: We can see at present that platforms are multiplying and that very consequential niche offers are developing, on genre cinema, on first and second films, etc. This means that there are films for sale and the ideal place to bring together buyers and sellers is a market. This means that there are films for sale and the ideal place to bring together buyers and sellers is a market. This is also where we discuss how far we can go in terms of support, how to reach a young audience, but also an older cinema-going public that does not necessarily consume cinema only in cinemas. The CNC will also present a study during the MICF that shows that heritage cinema has a real impact on all distribution media. There is a dynamic, as shown by the recent creation in France of the cataloguists' union. France offers a framework for heritage that could be described as privileged, but which is very well constructed. There is a real policy, an impetus towards heritage cinema, which foreign professionals envy us (including Spain, which is our guest country this year) and which makes this cinema lively, rich, attractive and varied, and an example that other countries should take up.
(Translated from French)
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.