The IDM Film Fund & Commission’s annual film conference takes place online
by Teresa Vena
- At the end of May, international representatives of the film and television industry met at INCONTRI #10 for the annual South Tyrol-based film conference
For its tenth edition, INCONTRI, the film conference organised by the IDM Film Fund & Commission, took place over two days this year, on 26 and 27 May. Owing to the coronavirus, the speakers and audience were invited to an online space to discuss current issues concerning the film, television and streaming industry of Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland.
The conference started on the first day under the banner “A Journey Through the East”. In collaboration with the Italian initiative When East Meets West, hosted in Trieste, it offered a perspective on topics related to the production market in Eastern Europe. Ankica Tilic (producer at Kinorama in Croatia) and Marcin Lucaj (head of acquisitions at New Europe Film Sales in Poland) were the two speakers who participated in this first part.
Later on the first day, there was a session with the Italian duo of directors, screenwriters and producers, brothers Marco and Antonio Manetti, hosted by Italian journalist Alessandra De Luca. The brothers have been producing a sizeable number of successful films since the 1990s. They were asked to share their personal opinion on the consequences of the coronavirus for the theatrical exhibition of films. In their opinion, the cinema will keep playing an important role in the future of film. They used the following analogy to underline their argument: “Just because you may have a good stove at home, restaurants won't stop existing.”
A similarly optimistic view on the future was offered by the subsequent panel on the future of film festivals and film awards. Invited to attend were Alberto Barbera (Artistic Director of the Venice Film Festival), Carlo Chatrian (Artistic Director of the Berlinale), Piera Detassis (president of the Italian Film Academy and artistic director of the David di Donatello Awards) and Matthijs Wouter Knol (director of the European Film Academy). The participants noted that despite the pandemic, a large number of films have been made, and people are longing to physically return to the festivals. They drew attention to the fact that last year, festivals were at least able to take place with digital strategies in place, which worked well for most of them. Everyone agreed, though, that this still wasn't a decent enough replacement for physical editions. Another conclusion that the panellists came to was that, in future, festivals and film awards will most likely gain relevance. The prestige and value of nominations and promotion through festivals will be essential for films, especially considering the oversupply of movies on the market.
The second day of the conference started with the presentation of three projects each supported by an internationally renowned tutor, developed in the pitching section during the IDM conference in 2019, which marked the end of the IDM Script Lab. The productions that were showcased were the fantasy-adventure flick Cowboy by Lisa Maria Kerschbaumer and Cassandra Han, the family drama Let's Do as If by Cristina Puccinelli and Valeria Correale, and No Baggage, a film about two strong sisters, by Tom and Iris Sommerlatte.
In order to provide a case study, director Nils Dünker (Lailaps Pictures) and producer Jorgo Narjes (X Filme Creative Pool) were asked, in a separate session, to outline the coronavirus-related challenges of producing the MagentaTV series Wild Republic, which was supported by IDM South Tyrol and was largely shot in the South Tyrolean Dolomites.
For the last part of the conference, the attendees discussed the question “Epic Battle or Sweet Romance – How Can Cinema and Streaming Coexist and Prosper?” The speakers were Anita Elsani (founder and managing director of Elsani Film and Neary Media), Philipp Hoffmann (founder and managing director of Rushlake Media - Kino on Demand), Nicola Maccanico (managing director of Istituto Luce Cinecittá) and Andrea Occhipinti (managing director of Lucky Red and co-founder of the MioCinema streaming platform). Even though the overall view was an optimistic one, in light of the existence of cinemas and their coexistence with streaming platforms, the guests supported the opinion that more flexibility is needed in the exhibition of films and in the cinema industry itself in order to be able to survive in the future. But they were also sure that cinemas and platforms can be of benefit to each other.
Finally, Birgit Oberkofler, head of the IDM Film Fund & Commission, summed up on a positive note, highlighting the success of the digital version of INCONTRI #10, and said that she hoped to be able to welcome the participants for the next meeting in person in South Tyrol.
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