Mar­rakech: Europa International, Ci­nando Ready Launch of Fes­ti­val Sub­mis­sion Ap­plet

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Europa International, the Euro­pean sales agents' or­ga­ni­za­tion, is ad­vanc­ing on the cre­ation of a com­mon en­try form for sales agents aimed at stream­lin­ing fes­ti­val sub­mis­sions - achieved via an ap­plet in­te­grated on the Cannes Film Mar­ket's Ci­nando plat­form.

Tested at the Tribeca Film Fes­ti­val and Lux­em­bourg City Film Fes­ti­val, the com­mon en­try form sim­pli­fies the work­flow be­tween sales agents and fes­ti­vals. Up un­til now, the ap­plet has worked as a closed sys­tem, only avail­able to sales agents from Europa International, which has 45 mem­bers. The new com­mon en­try form in­cludes all sub­mis­sion de­tails, as well as items for a cat­a­logue en­try if a film is selected.

Af­ter Tribeca and Lux­em­bourg City Fest tri­als, a sec­ond stage will be to test the dig­i­tal en­try form with ten fes­ti­vals, which will be con­tacted in mid-De­cem­ber. The aim is to com­plete this test stage be­fore Ber­lin in 2017. "Once we have all the feed­back, we will im­prove the sec­ond ver­sion and then, in a third stage, con­tact more fes­ti­vals," Be For Films' Claire Bat­tis­toni said at a Europa International one­day event at the Mar­rakech Film Fes­ti­val that brought to­gether 16 sales agent mem­bers.

Par­tic­i­pants at the Europa International work ses­sion em­pha­sized that the aim isn't to re­place per­sonal con­tact be­tween sales agents and fes­ti­vals but rather make back of­fice work eas­ier, so free­ing up more time for other tasks. "Per­sonal con­tact with the fes­ti­vals is es­sen­tial," East-West's Oc­tavia Pey­rou said in Mar­rakech. She went on: "They ex­plain what they are look­ing for, and that way when I get a new film I know who is look­ing for it. Fes­ti­vals play a key role in dis­cov­er­ing new tal­ent. Without per­sonal con­tact, our work would be im­pos­si­ble."

Vi­tal role

Talk­ing to Va­ri­ety, Bat­tis­toni, Pey­rou and Aut­look Film Sales' Youn Ji un­der­scored that fes­ti­vals in­creas­ingly play a vi­tal role as a win­dow for many films that oth­er­wise would never be screened the­atri­cally. A more stream­lined en­try sys­tem will make it eas­ier to reach a wider num­ber of events. "It's of­ten the smaller fes­ti­vals, that aren't so fa­mous but are get­ting more im­por­tant, that en­able you to go deeper into each coun­try," Youn Ji noted.

Fes­ti­val's in­dus­try ini­tia­tives are also in­creas­ing in im­por­tance, with ever more events invit­ing more rep­re­sen­ta­tives from sales com­pa­nies to con­nect with lo­cal dis­trib­u­tors and film pro­duc­ers. "By stan­dard­iz­ing film sub­mis­sion in­for­ma­tion, we will have more time to fo­cus on new fes­ti­vals, and pro­mot­ing and work­ing on our films. From the fes­ti­val side, there are only ad­van­tages since the sys­tem is pro­vided for free," Bat­tis­toni added.

This was the third year that Europa International, founded in 2011 and man­aged by Daphne Kapfer, has held a work ses­sion at Mar­rakech. Other is­sues dis­cussed in­cluded the Fes­ti­val Box Of­fice, a Cine Con­duc­tor de­liv­ery sys­tem and a new sub­ti­tling project. At­ten­dees in­cluded Ci­nando project man­ager Camille Rous­se­let, Alexis Jun­cosa, pro­gram­ming head of the Lux­em­bourg City Film Fes­ti­val, plus ex­ecs at sales agen­cies tak­ing in Bel­gium's Be For Films, Poland's New Europe Film Sales, Serbia-based Soul Food, Trust Nordisk in Den­mark, Aus­tria's Out­look Film­sales and East West Film Dis­tri­bu­tion and Ger­many's Pluto Films.

The work ses­sion, which func­tions as an an­nual meet­ing for Europa International, also saw a large French con­tin­gent, re­flect­ing France's pre­dom­i­nance in Europe's sales sec­tor, in­clud­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Doc & Film Intl., Films Dis­tri­bu­tion, Les Films du Losange, Luxbox, Pre­mium Films, Pyra­mide Intl., Reel Suspects, UDI and Wide Man­age­ment.

EI mem­bers said they were par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in see­ing films and meet­ing film­mak­ers from Morocco, since Mar­rakech is one of big­gest fes­ti­vals in Africa and the Arab world. Youn Ji, at Aut­look, which spe­cial­izes in doc­u­men­taries, is cur­rently rep­re­sent­ing a Tu­nisian fea­ture, "Zaineb Hates the Snow," by Kaouther Ben Ha­nia ("Chal­lat of Tu­nis"), which pre­miered in Lo­carno.

"I'm very in­ter­ested in up­com­ing tal­ent from this re­gion," she en­thused. "I also loved the Tu­nisian film 'As I Open My Eyes,' by Leyla Bouzid. There is def­i­nitely some­thing fresh and orig­i­nal grow­ing here. And we don't have con­tact with this re­gion on a daily ba­sis. That's why these events are so im­por­tant." — Reuters

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