×

Global Briefs: French Gamers Going Mobile, More

International News: Soth Korea's Art of the Genre Pitch, Wide-Ranging Fringe Talks Politics in Scotland

French Gamers Going Mobile

France: Alternative game platforms are continuing to grow in France, while the physical vidgame market shows a steady decline, and French games are taking the biggest hit.

According to IHS Electronics & Media, consumer spending on game content in France reached $2.48 billion in 2012. Spending on digital, online and mobile games repped 43% of the market, compared with 32% in 2011.

Piers Harding-Rolls, director and head of games at IHS E&M, said the drop in traditional physical games is partly due to weak performance from platforms like Nintendo’s Wii U, Sony’s PS Vita and, to a lesser extent, Nintendo’s 3DS, but also a factor of the increased availability of digital content.

“The escalation in spending on digital, online and mobile games content is partly fueled by connecting with new gamers through new devices — smartphones, tablets, etc. — as a replacement for physical media sales,” he said. “This has found particular traction in the PC game sector, but increasingly on consoles as well.”

According to a report from CNC, Gaul’s national film and TV board, the physical market dropped 15.5% to 28.9 million units sold, falling 13.6% to €1.1 billion ($1.4 billion).

French vidgames were o 22.3%, compared with 15% for foreign games. Foreign titles repped 93.2% of units sold. Sales were topped by Activision-Blizzard’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” (pictured), Electronic Arts’ “Fifa 13” and Ubisoft’s “Just Dance 4.”

Online games generated $1 billion in 2012 and sales are expected to grow 9% a year through 2016, per the CNC.

— Elsa Keslassy

The Art of the Genre Pitch

South Korea: Every self-respecting film festival seems to include an industry-support section, often a forum where filmmakers in need of financing or distribution can pitch projects to investors, co-producers or sales agents.

CineMart in Rotterdam, the Independent Feature Project in New York and many others use a one-on-one, speed-dating format. They center on arthouse independent fare, which need a lot of love, due to the financial uncertainties involved. So then why does South Korean fantasy festival PiFan operate a project market devoted entirely to genre films, which are considered mainstream in Hollywood?

“In Asia, genre films are considered as B movies and get no support,” says Thomas Nam, who has headed PiFan’s Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF) since its inception in 2008.

The event has developed loyal participants who cross continents to hear pitches from Asia, a hotbed of low-budget creativity that ranges from J-Horror to Southeast Asian martial arts. (An early draft of “The Raid” had a public reading at NAFF.)

Adherents from the U.S. include Vertigo Entertainment’s Roy Lee, Mosaic Entertainment’s Gloria Fan and cross-media specialist John Heinsen. NAFF also typically receives reps from Distant Horizon and Hyde Park Entertainment, as well as Carrie Wong of Fox Intl. Prods. From the U.K., annual visitors include sales agent Thierry Wase-Bailey. Asian neighbors include Fuji Television’s Mina Mita, Fortissimo Film’s Michael J. Werner and “Cloud Atlas” co-financier Caroline Kwauk of Ascension Pictures.

The festival and NAFF take place in Bucheon, a suburb of Seoul that rarely hosts overnight tourists: Nearly all of its hotels have rooms rented by the hour. NAFF takes place in an upmarket “love hotel” in a gaudy (but definitely not seedy) “entertainment” quarter.

It’s possible that the setting helps NAFF. The dreary daytime exteriors keep the film folk indoors at their table-hopping 30-minute meetings. The neon-lit evenings get the creative juices fl owing again with a surreal merry-go-round of vampire parties, karaoke nights and street food. The soju-soaked barbecues or makkoli-drenched Korean pancake marathons run into the small hours. “All our guests are VPs, but they typically don’t look like it,” Nam says.

The curious chemistry of NAFF works. Submissions were up 40% this year for the 21 slots available, and Nam claims 24 projects workshopped at NAFF now exist as feature films. They include “The Terror Live,” which was optioned and distributed by local Korean major Lotte Entertainment.

At Fortissimo, “We want to handle two or three genre films per year, so rather than going to another kind of project incubator where there may be just one genre film among 30 projects, here maybe 20 of the 28 are pure genre films,” Werner says.

Fan says the project mart is a onestop shop for Mosaic, meeting filmmakers from Korea, Japan, Greater China and South East Asia. “What I especially like about NAFF is how each year they focus on a particular area, this year being the Philippines. I knew there were great filmmakers there, but I’ve never really thought about the horror market in the Philippines until now.”

Nam has expanded NAFF to include seminars and graduate-level fi lm education via the Fantastic Film School. Underlining the success of the genre mart, the event has been getting imitators. Montreal’s Fantasia last year launched “Frontieres,” a genre project market that promotes co-production with Canada. And in October, the Fantastic Film Festival in Austin, Texas, will offer a project mart for American genre independents.

— Patrick Frater

Wide-Ranging Fringe Talks Politics

Scotland: Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe has a tiny-sounding name that’s gargantuan in scope. The fest, which concludes Aug. 26, runs 25 days, and this year’s edition boasts 2,900 shows performed by 24,000 artists in 270 venues, a 6.5% increase over last year.

Official events include comedy, theater and opera, while unofficial events embrace books, videogames and jazz street performances. The comedians, thesps, musicians and dancers hail from more than 40 countries.

The Traverse theater has nabbed honors for plays by Scottish scribes David Greig, whose “The Events” follows a mass shooting of a community choir; David Harrower’s one-woman “Ciara,” about the daughter of a Glasgow crime lord; “Grounded,” written by George Brant, looking at drone warfare, and Owen McCafferty’s “Quietly,” about the effects of a Belfast bombing.

All the projects were honored by the Scotsman’s Fringe First Awards (issued by Edinburgh paper the Scotsman), which aims to get new writing talent into the Fringe.

The festival does not have juries. Awards are issued by independent outside organizations.

The nearly monthlong event contributes more than £142 million ($219 million) to the Scottish economy each year.

— Diana Lodderhose

More Film

  • Ryan Simpkins

    Ryan Simpkins Joins Fox-Disney's 'Fear Street' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Ryan Simpkins has joined Fox-Disney’s second installment of 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment’s “Fear Street” trilogy, based on the novels by R.L. Stine. Leigh Janiak is helming all three films. Previously announced cast includes Gillian Jacobs, Sadie Sink, Emily Rudd, McCabe Slye, Kiana Madeira, Olivia Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Ashley Zukerman, Fred Hechinger, Julia [...]

  • MPAA Logo

    Motion Picture Association of America Hires Emily Lenzner as Communications Chief

    The Motion Picture Association of America has appointed veteran public relations executive Emily Lenzner as its executive VP of global communications and public affairs. She will report to Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin and oversee the trade group’s communications team in the U.S. and internationally. Lenzner will start Aug. 1 and be based at the MPAA’s [...]

  • See Taylor Swift Unveil Feline Moves

    See Taylor Swift Unveil Feline Moves for First Time in 'Cats' Behind-the-Scenes Teaser

    Taylor Swift fans finally get to see some of the results of all those years spent studying her roommates Meredith and Olivia — and also, not incidentally, some time with a choreographer — in a new behind-the-scenes teaser for the movie “Cats.” The three-and-a-half-minute featurette has footage of Swift striking crouching feline moves as well [...]

  • CGR’s Immersive Premium Format Set for

    Immersive Theater Technology Set for US Debut in Los Angeles

    French multiplex company CGR Cinemas has selected the Regal LA Live as the first U.S. theater to use its Immersive Cinema Experience technology. The ICE format will be unveiled in the fall at the downtown location in a partnership between CGR and AEG. The companies made the announcement Wednesday but did not reveal which title [...]

  • Amazon Developing Original Series Based on

    Amazon Studios Buys 'Selah and the Spades,' Will Develop Original Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Amazon Studios has acquired worldwide rights to “Selah and the Spades,” a gripping look at a prep school drug dealer, Variety has learned. The film marks the feature debut of writer and director Tayarisha Poe and had its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival where it was a favorite with critics. Amazon has [...]

  • The Ultimate Guide to 2019 Comic-Con

    The Ultimate Guide to 2019 Comic-Con Parties and Activations

    Hollywood is heading down the California coast to San Diego because It’s time for 2019 Comic-Con International. The annual cosplay celebration officially kicks off tomorrow, July 18, with a preview happening tonight. Here, Variety gives you a guide to this year’s parties and activations. Make sure to check back for updates. Wednesday, July 17Amazon Prime [...]

  • The Wound African Cinema Berlin Film

    Finance Forum Brings African WIP Into Focus at Durban FilmMart

    The 10th edition of the Durban FilmMart, which unspools parallel to the 40th Durban Intl. Film Festival, will feature 10 fiction and 10 documentary works-in-progress taking part in its annual Finance Forum. The leading co-production market on the continent, the Forum brings together producers, distributors, sales agents, broadcasters, funding bodies, and other industry players from across the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content