Euro huddle to focus on distribution

Panels will discuss tax, exhibition strategies

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

Embedded in the larger Medienforum NRW confab June 18 and 19 in Cologne, the congress will feature 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 by now, 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,” said Filmstiftung topper Michael Schmid-Ospach.

While co-production among European countries is growing, the increasing success of Eurofilms does not necessarily hurt Hollywood productions but more likely the traditional film from Italy or France, “which seems to have lost at other countries’ box offices –although nobody counted that yet,” Schmid-Ospach said.

Following the Oscar for “The Lives of Others” and a recent screenplay award at Cannes for Fatih Akin, 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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