Magazine article Screen International

IFFR: MUBI, Eurimages Discuss Alternative Methods of Film Distribution

Magazine article Screen International

IFFR: MUBI, Eurimages Discuss Alternative Methods of Film Distribution

Article excerpt

A panel on Tuesday (Jan 31) at Rotterdam International Film Festival (IFFR) addressed industry questions relating to the emergence of alternative methods of film distribution and the continued saturation of available content.

Speaking on the panel was Bobby Allen, vice president at arthouse streaming service MUBI, Eurimages executive director Roberto Olla, and Anke van Diejen and Noortje van de Sande from Dutch streaming service Filmthuis.

Moderated by industry and festival consultant Hayet Benkara, the panel discussed whether producers, distributors and exhibitors were adapting enough to the opportunities presented in the evolving film market.

Allen was particularly firm in his opinion that many in the film industry needed to do more thinking about how they could connect with potential audiences.

"We really need to see distributors, exhibitors and platforms working more closely together to look for more innovation, and more opportunities to connect films with audiences. We need to think about constant innovation of technologies and audiences. I don't think we're ever going to settle again into a normal pattern of distribution like we have had over the last 100 years. Producers, distributors, and exhibitors will be required to constantly change the ways they access the market," he added.

Olla said that he believed filmmakers and financiers are now required to look beyond traditional distribution methods to find the best platform for their films, "Many funds still believe that film must be celebrated in the temple of cinema. There's a huge quantity of content out there, Europe makes 1,600 films per year, but they cannot possibly all be put into theatres. In some countries the number of theatres is decreasing."

"I think we're living in a bubble. Most filmmakers come to Eurimages because they believe [their film] is quality, they believe it has to be made. But once the film is finished they already are thinking about their new project, because that is their business model, and they leave their project in the hands of distributors," he continued, suggesting that more joined-up thinking was required from producers, who should be considering the entire life of their films.

"The system provokes this vicious circle in which content is produced - and most of the films are worth producing - but for whom are we making them? Are we forgetting that film has a life because it is seen and enjoyed and the audience becomes a part of it? …

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