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Experimentation and media chronology: Michel Hazanavicius explains


- The president of the ARP responds to other producer syndicates' concerns about experimentation with "day-and-date" film releases

Upcoming experimentation with "day-and-date" film releases in Europe (read more) continues to upset the French film industry. Oscar-winning director Michel Hazanavicius (photo), president of the ARP (civil society of Writers-Directors-Producers), who is committed to the experiment suggested by the European Commission, yesterday responded to the concerns (read more) of the Independent Producers' Syndicate (SPI) and the Film Producers' Union (UPF). Choice extracts.

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"With this action, we remain loyal to the defence of French and European cinema's general interests, its best exhibition, and the permanent anticipation of new economic models in our sector, to preserve healthy regulation for independent production," writes Michel Hazanavicus.

"It seemed to us totally legitimate to participate in this process to be at the heart of a policy that should not escape us. It is not a case of opening Pandora's box, but rather of thinking about the choices that are available to us […] France has always been a precursor in cinematic policies, it has always known how to integrate new media within the chronology, giving them rights and obligations. Newcomers are not necessarily enemies, and we must think about a harmonious, responsible, and non-conservative integration policy."

"Today, video on demand definitely has to be considered with more imagination, and perhaps a little less apprehension. It's a unique way to distribute films, and it's also an incredible opportunity to exhibit works."

"This, of course, does not mean that we want to call media chronology into question or endanger cinemas, which must remain the first destination for all our works. But some works are not equipped to withstand the fateful blow of some of them each week. These fragile, often low-budget works that are released on a small amount of copies cannot systematically be subjected to a double sentence. These works are essential for the diversity of our cinemas and our talents. We do not find it illegitimate or blasphemous to be thinking about another way to exhibit them, placing cinemas at the heart of this form of exhibition, but using VoD as a lever for distribution. How can we allow works that did not receive funding from television channels to be able to circulate throughout Europe, and how can we optimise their access to an audience that they don't usually reach? Financiers will have no reason to worry, because they were not interested in them."

"We find it stimulating that the profession is almost unanimously seeking to dissuade us from maintaining this course. This raises questions and feeds into our reflection. Once again, these experimentations only help us today to think about the movements to come, and this is perhaps because we are filmmakers, but we are not scared of movement. Otherwise we would be photographers."

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(Translated from French)

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