The German film sales business is so robust because its film and TV biz is so buoyant, with a deep pool of coin and filmmaking talent.
“The great thing about the German industry and German production is that it is very versatile and very individually driven. Depending on the year — you have weaker and stronger years — you have great diversity of voices in Germany,” says Thorsten Ritter, exec VP acquisitions, sales and marketing at Beta Cinema. “What is very striking is that you have 20 or 25 directors who enjoy international recognition.”
He cites helmers like Christian Petzold (“Barbara”), pictured, Marc Rothemund (“Sophie Scholl”), Caroline Link (“Nowhere in Africa”), Oliver Hirschbiegel (“Downfall”) and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (“The Lives of Others”).
“You don’t have a kind of brand for German films: It is not like the Iranian Wave, Argentinian Cinema or Danish whatever. It is much more versatile,” he says.
Mariette Rissenbeek, managing director of org German Films, which supports the work of the sales companies, says that there is also a new generation of filmmakers breaking through in Germany, helping fuel the country’s sales.
She says that the export of German movies is at a high level.
“A considerable number of German films are sold to distributors all over the world. ‘Hannah Arendt,’ ‘Barbara,’ ‘Oh Boy’ and ‘Exit Marrakech’ are only a few titles that are doing very well right now. Only very few European countries have the same export level,” she says.
Her organization is working hard to expand the distribution of German films further. Its strategy is to “intensify our cooperation with international festivals, explore the online marketing opportunities, and fortify international press work for individual films at international festivals,” she says.
German Films is focusing in particular on countries with fast-developing theatrical sectors, likes Russia, Brazil, China, South Korea and Turkey.