European Film Promotion Reveals Digital Plans for Upcoming Festivals; Producers on the Move to Stay in May

By Blaney, Martin | Screen International, March 26, 2020 | Go to article overview

European Film Promotion Reveals Digital Plans for Upcoming Festivals; Producers on the Move to Stay in May


Blaney, Martin, Screen International


A virtual version of Producers on the Move will take place in May, regardless of when Cannes takes place.

European Film Promotion (EFP), the network of film promotion institutes from 37 countries throughout the continent, is planning a series of digital solutions that will enable it to continue promoting European cinema to the international film industry at both physical and virtual festivals and markets as a response to the travel challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first event where EFP’s digital strategy is due to kick in will be at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival (April 30-May 10). While the Toronto festival’s public screenings are expected to be postponed until October, the industry part of Hot Docs will be held entirely online during the original dates.

As part of this will be the third edition of the ‘The Changing Face of Europe’ section which showcases European filmmakers and is supported by EFP.

“The 10 filmmakers we have selected will be fully integrated into the digitally-organised industry programme of panels and case studies,” EFP’s managing director Sonja Heinen explained. “We are working with the festival on a panel to be streamed online about the promotion of documentaries outside of their home territories. In addition we will be looking to match our filmmakers and producers via online meetings with distributors and festival programmers who we think could be of interest.”

While Cannes has said it is hoping to move the festival and market to the end of June/beginning of July, EFP has decided to keep to the May date for its Producers on the Move (POM) showcase of 20 of Europe’s most promising up-and-coming international producers.

“This is the only one of our initiatives which is really standalone and is independent of a specific event,” Heinen explained. “We have always used Cannes as a platform because it meant that we had access to so many experts in one place. But it was often the case that they had very tight time schedules and couldn’t commit whereas a digital solution would have the practical advantage that we have better access to the experts.”

“What will be important for us is how we are able to create a good working atmosphere with the speed meetings and roundtable pitches and also give the participants an opportunity to interact with one another online over these five days,” she continued. “It could be this special situation sees a greater solidarity developing between this year’s group of selected producers.”

If Cannes does reschedule, Heinen said there would be the opportunity for this year’s line-up of producers to then meet up with the other participants in the south of France after initially getting to know one another via the online initiative.

Launched 21 years ago, POM has seen more than 420 producers participate in the programme, with many going on to become respected international players with films screening at leading festivals around the globe. Moreover, the networking between POM’s participants has resulted in several longstanding working partnerships. Between 2016 and 2019 alone, 47 co-productions involving 58 different Producers on the Move were realised, according to the organisation.

Last year’s cohort was announced on April 21.

Further events

Heinen said it is still unclear whether the Europe! Voices of Women in Film programme, which EFP has run in collaboration with the Sydney Film Festival since 2016 to promote gender diversity, will run in an online version. …

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