“Il nostro lavoro è cambiato, ma lo fa sempre, perché il modo in cui i film vengono mostrati continua a cambiare”
Rapporto industria: Distribuzione, esercenti e streaming
Julien Razafindranaly • Agente di vendita, Films Boutique
L’agente di vendita francese ci ha illustrato la politica editoriale della compagnia e il suo sforzo di conciliare le ambizioni autoriali di alta qualità con le richieste del mercato odierno
Questo articolo è disponibile in inglese.
We sat down with Julien Razafindranaly, head of sales at Berlin- and Paris-based sales agent Films Boutique. We delved into the firm’s editorial policy and, in particular, how it strikes a balance in terms of searching for high-quality, arthouse pictures and making them commercially viable for theatrical and festival distribution.
Cineuropa: Could you please talk us through Films Boutique’s editorial policy? And how is your company staffed?
Julien Razafindranaly: There are ten of us, plus we regularly have some interns, especially in preparation for big events such as Cannes or the European Film Market. [Talking of editorial policy,] it’s important to say that we work with films that are theatrical in the first place, and we have this peculiarity of working with both the artistic and the commercial side of things. [...] We work with theatrical distributors from all over the world, and our goal is to handle films that can be released in cinemas – thus, commercially – but which also hit the festival circuit. Within this focus, we can host pretty much anything – all types of genres, both fiction and documentary films. We handle more fiction films than documentaries, and our titles span drama, comedy and genre works. We don’t specialise in genre films, as other sales agents do, but we still work with some of these.
How many titles do you represent each year? And what about the size of your catalogue?
The number of titles we handle varies every year, but usually it’s around 12-16 films. We manage a catalogue of about 200 titles.
Do you happen to invest in films or help fund them?
We can work on projects at different stages. Our main activity is still selling films, but we also coordinate the festival and marketing strategy together with the producers, while working on the positioning of the film and the release windows. So it’s not really just about sales. That said, at times, we happen to be co-producers and get both mandates. When we invest in movies we believe in, we can also work on minimum guarantees.
How has your work changed over the past two years?
Our work has indeed changed, but it does so all the time because the way movies are being shown keeps on changing. Not so long ago, we started watching films online, which was not the case before, so the industry had to adapt. In the first year of the pandemic, with all of the safety protocols and lockdowns in place, the major change was the level of uncertainty within the industry. We all had to figure out how to make things work – sales agents, festivals, distributors and pretty much everyone else. [We asked ourselves questions such as:] if you go online, what do you need from us? What platforms will you use? How many people will you show the film to? It took a lot of time for things to work out. That was a huge change, especially for the festival department. [...] And, of course, it was harder to sell films [...] What came out of it two or three years later was a sense of having things in common and being co-dependent, a sense of solidarity... [A push] to understand everybody’s needs and struggles. That has changed for the better.
The Berlinale and the European Film Market are just around the corner. What can you tell us about your line-up?
We’re very excited because it’s the first time the Berlinale and the market have been full-scale again since 2020. Most of the international industry will be there, even though we know some Asian industry representatives might not be able to attend this year yet. [...] We’ve got a line-up of six new films. We recently premiered Jessica Woodworth’s Luka [+leggi anche:
intervista: Jessica Woodworth
scheda film] at Rotterdam, and then we’ve got five films in the different sections of the Berlinale. In the competition section, we’ve Zhang Lu’s The Shadowless Tower. We have two Encounters films – Leandro Koch and Paloma Schachmann’s The Klezmer Project [+leggi anche:
intervista: Leandro Koch, Paloma Schac…
scheda film], and Tibor Bánóczki and Sarolta Szabó’s White Plastic Sky [+leggi anche:
scheda film] – as well as the first Yemeni feature selected for the Berlinale, Amr Gamal’s The Burdened [showcased in Panorama], and a documentary in the Forum strand, Claire Simon’s Our Body [+leggi anche:
We will also bring a French debut feature – namely, Ronan Tronchot’s Paternel, starring Grégory Gadebois and Géraldine Nakache. The film is currently in post-production, and we will introduce it to buyers with a promo at our booth. The Berlinale slate gives you a good idea of how eclectic we try to be at Films Boutique. We have fiction films, documentaries, titles from Europe, from Asia, from the Middle East... That’s our DNA.
You seem to already be working on pursuing diversity in terms of content. How do you work on that same goal within your own company?
First of all, we’re quite diverse ourselves. Our CEO is French, I am a French Afrodescendant citizen myself, and my colleagues are German, Taiwanese, Lithuanian, Spanish and Hungarian nationals. [...] Since we are part of both the market and the arthouse businesses, there are two ways to look at it. You can bring about diversity through laws, as in the case of financial support – this is something that film funds are paying a lot of attention to. And then there’s everything that has to do with your own awareness. [...] We’re shaped by the international community that we’re part of, and we’re trying to be diverse, representative and inclusive to give our customers and the audience a scope that is as wide as possible.
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