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French film fans to weigh in on arthouse bookings

Producer develops website that gives auds a say

As crowdsourcing heats up around the globe, Gallic producer Tom Dercourt is developing La Septieme Salle, a community-based website that gives Gallic users a say in which arthouse films are booked at their local independent theaters.

La Septieme Salle will include an editorial committee of journalists, bloggers, exhibitors and producers who each month select four films in their fifth to 12th week of exhibition they’d like to see screen at the nearby arthouse.

In addition to its website, La Septieme Salle will be accessible via Facebook, where users will be able to nominate pics, and to browse through a range of promotional material, including clips, film reviews and interviews. The site will “encourage subscribers to connect with other filmgoers in their regions and get feedback from local film bloggers,” says Dercourt, founder of Paris-based producer-developer Cinema Defacto.

La Septieme Salle will propose various screening slots, which users will be able to sign up for and see who else will be attending. Dercourt says the Web platform will serve as an intermediary between indie exhibs and filmgoers to “make sure the supply meets the demand.”

He says various economic and artistic factors prompted the idea for La Septieme Salle.

“The distribution landscape in France makes it very difficult for medium-budget auteur films to exist and stay in theaters long enough to meet their audiences. … The turnover rate for these films is too high, and bigger films benefiting from powerful marketing campaigns are increasingly concentrating the bulk of audiences.”

La Septieme Salle has already drawn more than 20 partners, including indie exhibs and distribs, per Dercourt, who added that he’s in talks with industry players from the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Belgium and Hungary interested in licensing La Septieme Salle for their territories. The website will be launched in mid-November, with a first screening skedded for January.

La Septieme Salle was co-developed by France’s national film org, the Centre National du Cinema.

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