Juliette Schrameck • Managing director, mk2 Films
"Our policy is to have a few films that we really focus on"
- Juliette Schrameck talks about mk2 Films’ extraordinary line-up at the 71st Cannes Film Festival and offers her point of view on market trends
On the eve of the beginning of the Film Market at the 71st Cannes Film Festival (8 to 19 May), we chatted to Juliette Schrameck, the director of mk2 Films (the French outfit run by Nathanael Karmitz).
Cineuropa: Nine of the titles sold by mk2 Films are on show in the various sections at Cannes, including five in competition, one at the Directors' Fortnight, one at the Critics' Week and two in the Cannes Classics section. Is it a full house?
Juliette Schrameck: This is a record for us in terms of the number of films in competition, and we’ve never been the leading exporter at this level. In the competition line-up there are two films that we co-produced: Cold War [+see also:
Q&A: Pawel Pawlikowski
film profile] by Pawel Pawlikowski and Ash is Purest White [+see also:
film profile] by Jia Zhang-ke. Our films in competition are also a reflection of our diversity, as they represent four different countries: Poland, China, Japan (Asako by Ryusuke Hamaguchi) and France (At War [+see also:
interview: Stéphane Brizé
film profile] by Stéphane Brizé and Sorry Angel [+see also:
Q&A: Christophe Honoré
film profile] by Christophe Honoré). There’s diversity throughout the whole line-up, we have an eclectic mix of cinematography and genres (including the comedy The Trouble With You [+see also:
interview: Pierre Salvadori
film profile] by Pierre Salvadori at the Directors' Fortnight) even though a lot of the films actually talk about love. The other dominant unifying link is resistance and social struggles, which you see in At War, but also in the Indian film Sir [+see also:
film profile] by Rohena Gera, which will be screened in the Critics' Week. On top of these great themes is a certain view of women. We will also be screening Blow for Blow by Marin Karmitz in the Cannes Classics section, who is also the guest of honor at the Cannes Film Festival's professional dinner, and One Sings, The Other Doesn’t by Agnes Varda, who will be at the market to screen 15 minutes of her next documentary.
What is your take on the current market, which is supposedly “in turmoil”?
It’s definitely true that pinning down an "all rights" distributor in each region, who will take the film under its wing and distribute it in various forms, is not always possible. It is sometimes, but not always, because every industry is different. Our policy is to have a few films that we really focus on. We sell and work with our films for a good two years after their release. We also get a lot of results in the second year. There is a kind of initial circle and market stage, which is the obvious market event that everyone talks about, with a well-orchestrated release at the most prestigious festival possible with the largest amount of press possible – we also use the occasion to sell films to distributors. But then there is a sort of second circle. The job is very time-consuming but absolutely essential to get a film some visibility. There’s some separate work that we do with cinemas or distributors, who only work with cinemas, VoD platforms and TV channels. We have a media for media approach in certain regions. And in regions like the United States where people are saying that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to sell films that are not in the English language, it’s very important to be able to work directly with cinemas, to get films to festivals and cinemas and then sell them to platforms so that they have a digital presence and can reach a wider audience. We take the time to do this kind of work in all regions. It’s a difference that we’re nurturing and that allows films to get a lot more important exposure than if we were satisfied with an "all rights" distributor and the initial market stage.
What is your position on SVoD platforms?
We are operators and I have a team that has certain convictions, believing that festivals and cinemas are irreplaceable places to discover films and to promote them. But some of the major platforms don’t rule out films initially being shown in cinemas before being distributed on SVoD. SVoD, we all use it, it's great. It can reach an audience that does not necessarily have the opportunity or the desire to go to the cinema. So, we work a lot with Amazon and with local platforms in all countries and on all continents. But the work we do with cinemas, at least in every country in the world where cinemas exist, is a job we’ll never do without and is one of the main reasons we are in the profession.
(Translated from French)
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