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SAN SEBASTIÁN 2019 San Sebastián Industry

Co-financing, co-producing and co-distributing at San Sebastián’s European Film Forum

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- The conference organised in conjunction with Creative Europe MEDIA tackled several aspects related to new collaboration models in the ever-changing audiovisual industry

Co-financing, co-producing and co-distributing at San Sebastián’s European Film Forum
(© Creative Europe MEDIA)

Continuing the collaboration with Creative Europe MEDIA, a new edition of the European Film Forum took place yesterday, 23 September, at the San Sebastián International Film Festival.

“We want to show and discuss new ways of production, financing and distribution so that film professionals can keep developing their work with the strongest possible guarantees,” explained SSIFF deputy director Maialen Beloki. Moderated by Rafael Lambea, general director of the Spanish mutual guarantee company CREA SGR, which operates in the audiovisual field, the event was opened by Creative Europe MEDIA policy officer Emmanuel Joly, who addressed the importance of continuing the discussions in order to establish new policies after 2020, and even encouraging the professionals to convince their countries’ authorities that this is key.

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The panel featured the participation of Spanish producer-director and European Producers Club president Álvaro Longoria (Morena Films), who vehemently defended the role of the producer in an ever-changing audiovisual landscape now facilitating a direct connection between author and distributor, especially in the field of VoD platforms. “We have to worry about how to be relevant in this audiovisual revolution. Our work consists of developing, financing and carrying out a project. We are now less relevant in the second phase, so we either cling to an outdated model, or we try to focus on the first and third ones, showing the financier that we have attractive products – and the good taste necessary to find them.”

Spanish first-time producer Xavier Font (Miramemira) guided the audience through the making of his successful film Fire Will Come [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Óliver Laxe
film profile
]
, directed by Óliver Laxe. A Spanish-French-Luxembourgish co-production, the movie benefitted from support from regional institutions and TV channels in Spain, as well as national bodies from the three countries involved. “Our aim was always, instead of seeking benefits, to spread the complex discourse of our director,” he continued.

The role of collaboration in the financing, production and distribution phases was brought to the discussion by CNC head of European and International Affairs Mathieu Fournet, who talked about the French institution’s international initiatives, such as Aide aux cinémas du monde and its distribution branch, ACMD, as well as its success, for example, among film professionals from Latin America. Eurimages executive director Roberto Olla, however, explained that the fund’s distribution scheme is currently subject to a possible discontinuation or revamp, owing to it having been deemed as not profitable.

So how can we use new technologies to support the distribution phase? Insights from Denis Février from French company Polkatulk, a blockchain-based service that has started up the performing-arts SVoD platform Scenso.tv, and Paula Gastaud from Brazilian company Sofa Digital, the leading VoD aggregator in Latin America, were included in the discussion – although mainly to prove that these new solutions that work for distribution and exhibition still have to be made useful in terms of development and production. Furthermore, the role of the sales agent in the distribution phase was highlighted through the participation of Playtime’s Timothée Prudhomme, who led the attendees through a case study of François Ozon’s By the Grace of God [+see also:
film review
trailer
Q&A: François Ozon
film profile
]
, sold worldwide.

One tool that the EFF suggested every professional attending should use was the European Investment Fund, introduced by officer Laoura Ntziourou, who explained what the Luxembourg-based specialist provider of risk finance can do to benefit small and medium-sized businesses across Europe, having secured more than €164 million in 11 countries so far through the Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility, resulting in a total investment of €568 million. Despite the slight scepticism of the attendees, Ntziourou addressed the upcoming improvements to their business, which would be linked to the implementation of the InvestEU Programme, making it more efficient and more focused on micro-financing and small businesses – a very helpful move for the European audiovisual sector.

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