Magazine article Screen International

Think Fest: Protagonist, Karlovy Vary, IFFR Chiefs on the Changing Arthouse Scene

Magazine article Screen International

Think Fest: Protagonist, Karlovy Vary, IFFR Chiefs on the Changing Arthouse Scene

Article excerpt

Mike Goodridge, Karel Och and Bero Beyer discuss the importance of festivals and distribution initiatives.

Click here to read Screen’s full Think Fest coverage from Jerusalem

The distribution role of festivals and the changing arthouse ecosystem was discussed in Think Fest’s second panel. Mike Goodridge, outgoing CEO of UK sales agent Protagonist Pictures and future artistic director at International Film Festival and Awards Macao, was bullish about the continued importance of festivals to sales agents.

“The distribution system is so dire that these tentpole festivals are becoming incredibly important as the only places you can see films,” he said. “We’ve had many films that haven’t sold widely at all - that’s where festivals kick in, they help to get the film seen.”

Goodridge added that smaller festivals faced a greater challenge as the impetus was normally placed on securing a high-profile world premiere slot, and the assumption that sales would follow then after.

IFFR director Bero Beyer explained that his festival team were constantly exploring new ideas to keep up with, and potentially get ahead of, the evolving arthouse landscape. His festival team are happy to trial innovation, even if it doesn’t always work.

“We want to be fully transparent and see how other models works,” he commented. “People can learn from our mistakes, that’s fine.”

Beyer talked up three Rotterdam initiatives that he felt could move the dial: IFFR Live, the festival’s satellite screening project, which this year took six festival films into more than 45 European cities as well as countries including Singapore, Israel and Canada; IFFR Unleashed, the festival’s own VoD service which was soft-launched last year; and innovation lab Propellor Film Tech Hub, a joint initiative with EFM, CPH:DOX and Berlin company Cinemathon, which is developing ideas to aid the film industry’s future. …

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