Magazine article Screen International

Nostradamus Report Looks at Problem of "Too Many Films"

Magazine article Screen International

Nostradamus Report Looks at Problem of "Too Many Films"

Article excerpt

How the industry is coping - or not coping - with too many feature films flooding the market is one of the key topics of the fourth Nostradamus report, presented by author Johanna Koljonen today at the Goteborg Film Festival's Nordic Film Market.

This surge of production isn't working in the existing value chain of distribution.

"There is no equivalent surge of innovation in distribution and audience relations," the report stated. "A theatrical window is not feasible even for all quality films - not even on the festival circuit. A complete digital transformation of the small screen landscape seems inevitable."

Koljonen said one reason that more films were being made were new funders entering the sector, regional funders and tax credits increasing activity, and "the democratization of film production." As many new filmmakers start their careers, that doesn't mean older filmmakers are retiring.

"There is no cohesive vision in the funding landscape" she warned, which can be good for filmmakers who want to make their films, but not helping make films that have clear pathways to audiences.

The report said, "The elephant in the room is that there are too many filmmakers and production companies for the market as currently organised to sustain.

"In addition to their goals of supporting artistically outstanding, politically relevant, formally experimental or niche filmmaking, the national and regional European public funds are often, whether formally or from tradition, also concerned with keeping their local industries working," the report warned.

"No one will say it outright, but this may put pressure on funders to continue to support filmmakers even when their work no longer connects with audiences or critics."

The upsides to more production is that more good films get made, and there are more voices being heard. But the flip side, she said, includes more bad films get made, more irrelevant films get made, more films are competing for funding, for audience attention and for distribution channels.

Rikke Ennis, CEO of TrustNordisk, said on the Nostradamus panel today, "the whole distribution part is lacking. Why make films that are just not going to be seen? We need to think new thoughts, about the audience as the curator."

In the report, Koljonen wrote, "This is the time to proactively explore and create business models for the full audiovisual ecosystem - because otherwise they will be dictated to us. The next three to five years is the time to show that innovation is not exclusively the domain of massive technology companies."

The Nostradamus project, started by Goteborg in collaboration with Lindholmen Science Park, aims to look ahead to the next five years in the film industry.

The interviewees for this year's report are Roberto Olla, executive director of Eurimages; Bobby Allen, VP of content at MUBI; Catharine Des Forges, director of the UK's Independent Cinema Office; Tomas Eskilsson, head of strategy at Swedish regional funder Film Väst; Domenico La Porta of the R/O Institute; Joëlle Levie of Olffi; and Fredrik af Malmborg, managing director of Eccho Rights.

In the report, Olla said, "The problem is that as curators, we're failing, big time. We're proposing films that we believe are good, but the audience is not going toward the kinds of proposals that we're making.

"Where do you draw the line between giving the audience what they want - the larger audience - and at the same time creating and proposing new things and allowing innovation to happen? …

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