Magazine article Screen International

German Films MD Simone Baumann on How the Agency Is Adapting to the Age of Streaming

Magazine article Screen International

German Films MD Simone Baumann on How the Agency Is Adapting to the Age of Streaming

Article excerpt

”¨Many people in the German film business are now working on high-end series for these new players and we now have to find a way of including them.”

One of the biggest priorities of Simone Baumann, the new managing director of Munich-based German Films, the national information and advisory centre for the promotion of German cinema worldwide, is how to ensure the agency meets the needs of the fast-changing global film industry.

“Until now, the main role of German Films has been the promotion of feature films and documentaries at international festivals,” Baumann explains. “One of the biggest challenges facing the agency for the future is how we address the changes in the media landscape and find ways of including projects that are being now produced for the streaming services.”

Baumann joined German Films in February 2019, taking over from Mariette Rissenbeek who moved to the Berlin International Film Festival to take up the newly-created position of managing director.

¨Many people in the German film business are now working on high-end series for these new players and we now have to find a way of including them,” she explains. “This could be done by expanding our Face to Face campaign, which currently shines a spotlight on some dynamic faces of the German film scene, to also feature authors and showrunners as part of our talent promotion activities.

“In addition, you have a situation developing in the market where a streaming service acquires the international rights for a film and the role of a sales agent therefore becomes redundant,¨ Baumann added.

“German Films is considering whether it should possibly extend its remit to start promoting Germany as an attractive shooting location for films and series in addition to the promotion of completed films.¨

International admissions to German films decrease

Some 406 German films and co-productions were distributed around the world n 2018, generating nearly [Euro]154m from more than 26.5 million tickets sold.

This was considerably less than in 2017, when German majority and minority productions posted 91 million admissions and box-office takings of [Euro]430m. The wide divergence between the two years could be explained by the fact Resident Evil - The Final Chapter, produced by Germany’s Constantin Film with US-based Davis Films and the UK’s Impact Pictures, took [Euro]268m and 52 million admissions alone from an international release that spanned 83 territories.

Europe is by far the most important market for German films, with 73.9% of international box office taken by German titles coming from the continent in 2018. German-speaking Austria is the international territory most receptive to German film fare and 78 German films grossed a total of [Euro]12.7m in the territiory in 2018.

France was the second biggest market for German films last year, with [Euro]9.7m generated from 20 releases. Of the titles released, Richard The Stork was the top performer with a total box office of [Euro]4m. …

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