Pic sellers mull market cuts

Exporters ponder streamlining options

LONDON — Travel-weary film exporters are considering a reduction in the number of annual film markets. Such a move could wipe out Milan’s Mifed and the London Screenings altogether.

Exporters are mulling a proposal under which the film mart calendar would be cut to just two events — the Cannes Market in May and Los Angeles’ American Film Market, which would move from February to a new slot in the fall.

Short-term, a solution to the Mifed-London Screenings situation is under discussion; marketeers are frustrated at having to attend two markets running back-to-back in different cities.

A poll circulated to more than 400 buyers and sellers by Nicole Mackey of Film Export U.K. to gauge opinion received 178 replies — only four in favor of keeping both London and Mifed.

Results backed Mifed if the event can improve its facilities and keep prices at the current level. Many players called for improvements in both markets and, in the case of London, the establishment of a centralized screening and meeting venue.

“Many people think that London complements Mifed, and that is the case,” Mackey said. “But it certainly can’t replace it or compete with the facilities and convenience.”

Mackey was reluctant to comment on proposals to move to a two-market year. “It’s something the industry has to decide,” she said.

National export unions are due to meet during Mifed to discuss the two-market proposal. Meanwhile, local meetings have been scheduled; the 18 members of the Assn. of German Exporters will meet in October to cast their vote.

Separately, Londonscreenings.com, one of the companies that organizes buyers at the London Screenings, gave vague details Thursday on its plans to expand the event from one to two weeks next year.

A company rep said it is looking into building a temporary structure with screening rooms to unify the event. Rival org London Screenings Ltd., which organizes the bulk of the screenings, said it was against the idea.

“People don’t want it to be a two-week event,” said Jo Jo Dye. “If that’s what the industry wanted, then we would respond to that. But people are fed up as it is with going from Mipcom to London to Mifed.”

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