German org looking into co-productions

Intl. Film Congress market crosses borders

COLOGNE — Strategies for theatrical distribution in Europe and beyond will be in focus at Germany’s Intl. Film Congress, hosted by Teutonic funder Filmstiftung NRW.

Congress takes place during the larger Medienforum NRW confab June 18-19 in Cologne, featuring an array of guests at discussion panels, a co-production market and several movie premieres for the public.

Opening panel “Film Goes Round the World” will take up case studies from distributors the Match Factory, Pandora and Beta Cinema (Germany); France’s Ocean Films; and the U.K.’s Handmade Films.

Further panels on topics such as tax rebate models and European identity will assemble guest such as directors Theo Angelopoulos, Margarethe von Trotta, Oskar Roehler and Jan Schuette as well as producers Jan Mojto, Antonin Svoboda and Karl Baumgartner.

While last year’s congress suffered as it overlapped with the Cannes Film Festival, the upcoming co-production market is fully booked, organizers say. The congress’s motto, Film Without Frontiers, not only touches border-crossing politics and financing but also “themes that can be tackled only by two or three partners,” says Filmstiftung topper Michael Schmid-Ospach.

While co-production among European countries is growing, the increasing success of Euro films does not necessarily hurt Hollywood productions. However, more traditional films from Italy or France “seem to have lost at other countries’ box offices — although nobody has counted that yet,” Schmid-Ospach says.

With “The Lives of Others” having won the foreign-film Oscar and Fatih Akin having received a screenplay award at Cannes, Schmid-Ospach notes that the mood of the German film industry “is positive, but we need to see that this upswing sustains.”

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