Magazine article Variety

New Blood Keeps Market Healthy

Magazine article Variety

New Blood Keeps Market Healthy

Article excerpt

Beki Probst has served as head of the European Film Market since 1988. The Istanbul native, who also heads the Probst-Kinobetriebe exhib group in Switzerland, talked to Variety's Ed Meza about the EFM's growth - it's the first major film market of the calendar year, with some 7,000-plus participants expected in 2013 - and the international indie market.

Variety: Describe the state of the international independent film industry.

Probst: I'm also in the exhibition business and every year we discover surprises in the independent scene. "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is a success story: a first film, small budget. We'll see what happens with the Oscars. "Barbara" is doing very well. I always love (Christian) Petzold films. This one has become such a success. I was showing that film over 10 or 12 weeks. Now we have another successful film in Switzerland with "More Than Honey," the documentary by Markus Imhoof, which has done better than some big productions. The independents bring innovation. They usually don't make sequels. They very rarely make remakes. They try to come up with original and new things. And that's a big plus for independent cinema.

Variety: How was the response to the the American Independents in Berlin initiative, which launched last year in partnership with the Independent Filmmaker Project and the Sundance Institute?

Probst: It has been very well received by people from the U.S. It's important for them to know they have a base here, they have people they can network with. The idea behind all of our initiatives is to bring people together, to facilitate communication and exchange between people who share the sanie interests, who are curious about each other and about what they are doing. The IFP initiative is not just to have a showcase for the American presence, it is also to help others, the Europeans or the Asians, discover and inform themselves about what is going on in that part of the world.

Variety: What do you need to do to keep buyers and sellers happy?

Probst: After a market is finished, we have two kinds of surveys. One survey we do immediately after the market. We send it to registered buyers to find out what they bought, so we have an idea of the kind of activity that took place. …

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