In its own small way, Belgian shingle Lumiere is an integrated cinema company. Beginning with an arthouse cinema in Bruges, it moved into film production in 2000 and distribution across Benelux in 2003.
It now buys around 15-20 titles a year, from commercial U.S. movies such as “Gamer” and “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” to crossovers such as “Millennium” and arthouse fare such as “Tulpan” and “Delta.”
French films are a specialty, with Catherine Corsini’s “Partir” performing well this summer at the box office.
Annemie Degryse, in charge of acquisitions, says that geography doesn’t come into it.
“We are not looking to one or another country, but for films that we love. If that happens, it doesn’t matter where a film is from.”
An animator by training, she came to Lumiere after running Flanders Image, the film promotion agency in Dutch-speaking Belgium.
Lumiere tends to pick up titles at the script stage, so story and the talent onboard play a big part. The rest is instinct, she says, although feedback from the theater helps inform arthouse choices. “We know very well how people react.”
The main challenge facing the distrib is establishing a film’s presence. “In Belgium especially there are so many films,” she says. “You just need to keep them in cinemas so that people are aware of them.”