Mifed’s mixed bag

Wrap draws varied forecasts for next run

MILAN — The much-shrunk Mifed reached its final stretch, with some sellers boasting brisk business while bemoaning plans for next year’s link with the Venice Film Festival. But some view the end of the mart, after 71 editions over 44 years in its current form, as the fitting epilogue of a morality tale.

“They never made an effort to be nice,” said Christine Hayet, deputy managing director of France’s Pathe Distribution. “Maybe if they had listened to suggestions from their client base, things would have gone differently.”

But despite the desolation of this year’s edition, which ends Saturday, France’s Pathe, Germany’s Bavaria Film Intl., the U.K.’s Capitol Films, Italy’s Adriana Chiesa Enterprises and Rai Trade all reported a high volume of sales, though many deals remain to be finalized.

Arthouse European distributors, who usually do well at Mifed, fear the American Film Market, which is geared toward U.S. and mainstream product, will not be an equally viable fall mart when it kicks off Nov. 3.

“There is going to be a fall gap,” lamented Adriana Chiesa. “People go to AFM to buy American product. I don’t think that’s going to change.”

“We all have to see how AFM goes,” said Bavaria managing director Michael Weber. “But I’m not sure it will be able to compensate. The problem is not the big buyers. It’s the small buyers who now have to think about what they will do next.”

However, few attendees seem willing to make the trek to Milan for next year’s edition, which is skedded to start Aug. 28 and unspool for three or four days before moving to the Lido for a three-day stint.

“Aren’t we supposed to have vacations?” complained Pathe’s Hayet. “It’s crazy. It’s hard enough having to prepare for Toronto,” which opens early in September.

Mifed’s Venice link was disclosed earlier this month, but organizers of both events revealed only a very sketchy plan.

Mifed topper Carlo Bassi said Thursday that full details will be announced by the end of November.

“I’ve been talking to a lot of people and hearing their feedback. And there may be some changes, even to what we have already said,” Bassi told Daily Variety, declining to be more specific.

“The only thing that’s sure is that we are sticking with our plan to link with Venice,” the Mifed topper added.

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