You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

European Film Forum Analyzes Europe’s Daunting Digital Challenge

Entitled Developing audiences, San Sebastian edition saw keynotes from Canada Media Fund’s Catalina Briceño

SAN SEBASTIAN – “As part of our strategy of Digital Single Market, we would propose a pragmatic re-organization of copyright laws, not a complete overhaul of the system,” Lucia Recalde Langarica, the European Commission’s MEDIA new head of unit, said Sunday at Audience In Motion: European Film Forum, the latest industry discussion-debate meet analyzing digital potential for European films, following on Forums at Berlin, Cannes and Venice.

With that, the European film and industry can breathe a very brief sigh of relief. Increasingly, as the European Commission sounds out Europe’s content industries over its project for a Digital Single Market, it looks like its plans for cross-border access will not render impossible territorial rights sales, the backbone of Europe’s current content industry.

Other daunting digital domain challenges still facing Europe’s film industry, even if territorial rights sales remain functioning, was the main subject, however, of San Sebastian’s Developing Audience European Film Forum, which on Sunday delivered a vigorous wakeup call for Spain’s industry.

“While Europe film industry produces high-quality films, they do not always reach their potential audiences,” Lucia Recalde Langarica said in a welcome speech.

She went on: “We should be able to create content capable of reaching a great number of users. This also means fostering access to this content by its potential audiences, using all new ways made possible by technology.”

Delivering the Forum’s keynote speech, Catalina Briceño, director of industry and market trends at the Canada Media Fund, delivered incontrovertible evidence of just how far the world which provides Europe’s film audiences has changed, and why its industry need audience-centric approaches.

90% of the world’s data has been generated in the last two years, meaning that media overload is the No. 6 source of stress in the U.S., Briceño observed.

“Will audiences grow as digital only consumers? You bet they will. There is no way they will revert back to other ways of consuming content,” Briceño continued, outlining three creative responses to an audience-centric hyper-abundant content world: Participation, Prototyping and Personalization. One case of participation: Australian pubcaster ABC won an Intl. Emmy for comedy series “7 Days Later” whose ensemble cast featured YouTube celebs; its audience also submitted briefs of where they wanted the show to go.

But there is a danger of users living in “filter bubbles” where last decade’s dynamic of “pull” content will morph into a “push” scenario, Briceño said, citing Netflix’s personalized pages.

Just how much European – or indeed non-U.S. – content would make that “push” cut is a moot question.

Developing Audiences saw three panels: Creative, Production and Distribution/Programming.

In production, Argentine director Gustavo Taretto talked about the singular online success of his feature “Medianeras” which, selected for Berlin’s 2011 Panorama, turned on the loneliness of big city Internet users. Still receiving daily emails about the movie – he put his email address in the credit roll – he is now developing a TV and transmedia spin-off.

Some audience-centric film models – crowdfunding, for example, – are now established. At the European Film Forum, Kickstarter’s George Schmalz said it had raised $1.9 billion in pledged film investment. Sophie Kuno talked about France’s Touscoprod, a European counterpoint to Kickstarter that can also help build audiences, not just raise funding.

Targeting specific aud segments, contacting them via Whatsapp, for instance, it’s possible “to get from an Indian movie that nobody knows €10,000-€15,000 ($11,400-$17,100) with no promotion or advertising in Barcelona over just one weekend,” said Alberto Tognazzi, at Screenly.

“Our work is not exclusive of that of traditional theatrical bookers. We created Tugg to be complimentary of all theatrical and digital strategies that aim to build a community of followers through eventized experiences,” added Pablo Gonzalez of U.S. crowd-screening company Tugg.

But, when it comes to content at least, “The bad news is that Internet successes are singular exceptions,” warned Jaume Ripoll, at Spanish SVOD service Filmin. “It would be good to talk about the large ocean of failures inundating the Internet.”

Also, compared to the traditional entertainment industry, Internet entertainment is another ball game. “The Web is alive, connected, not isolated unit contents. You can’t download a digital experience,” said Maria Yañez Anllo, a Spanish digital media maker.

Ripoll said that Filmin, a predominantly European movie service, faced four challenges: Abundance of offer; lack of knowledge – Europe doesn’t have stars; disinterest; abd user impatience.

Combating these, Filmin has positioned as a site which shows “what goes on in society,” created visual content guides, and sorted content according to user mood. “To battle disinterest, there’s nothing better than education,” he concluded.

Lamentably, education does not seem to be high on Spain’s governmental agenda.

More Film

  • Mindy Kaling photographed by Victoria Stevens

    Mindy Kaling Created Her Own Opportunities (and Doesn't Plan on Stopping)

    Over the course of two hit sitcoms, a couple of best-selling books and some scene-stealing turns in Hollywood blockbusters such as “Ocean’s 8” and “Inside Out,” Mindy Kaling has cultivated an image as a kinder, gentler and more relatable star than most. On Instagram or Twitter, where she routinely shares parenting anecdotes and restaurant recommendations, [...]

  • Jimi Hendrix sound check Monterey Pop

    Film Constellation Adds ‘Show Me the Picture’ to Berlin Market Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    London-based sales and financing house Film Constellation has added Alfred George Bailey’s feature documentary “Show Me the Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall” to its Berlin market slate, ahead of the film’s SXSW premiere. Submarine Entertainment is handling distribution in North America. The film charts the life of American photographer James Joseph Marshall, whose work [...]

  • 'Sink or Swim,' 'Custody' Lead Race

    'Sink or Swim,' 'Custody' Lead Race for France's Cesar Awards

    French actor-turned-director Gilles Lellouche’s “Sink or Swim” and Xavier Legrand’s feature debut “Custody” lead the race for this year’s Cesar Awards, France’s equivalent of the Oscars, with 10 nominations each, including best picture and best director. “Sink or Swim” (“Le Grand Bain” in France), a star-driven dramedy about a men’s synchronized swimming team, world-premiered at [...]

  • Face to Face with German Films

    Face to Face with German Films Unveils the Six ‘Faces’ of 2019 (EXCLUSIVE)

    Teutonic promotional organization German Films has announced that its annual initiative supporting German filmmaking internationally, Face to Face With German Films, will focus on actors and actresses as the campaign enters its fourth year. Six of Germany’s leading thesps – Maria Dragus, Christian Friedel, Luise Heyer, Jonas Nay, Jördis Triebel and Fahri Yardim – will [...]

  • (L to R) VIGGO MORTENSEN and

    'Green Book' Lands Post-Oscars Theatrical Release in China

    Fresh off Monday’s news that it had picked up five Academy Award nominations, best picture favorite “Green Book” is set for more good luck. The film will hit Chinese theaters on March 1, the first weekend after the Oscars, which fall on Feb 24, Alibaba Pictures announced on its official social media account. The film [...]

  • Fan Bingbing

    Chinese Stars, Entertainment Companies Pay $1.7 Billion in Back Taxes

    Chinese film and TV stars and entertainment companies have forked over an additional $1.7 billion (RMB11.7 billion) in taxes in the wake of last summer’s scandal surrounding actress Fan Bingbing and a subsequent government crackdown. The figure was announced late Tuesday by China’s State Tax Administration. Chinese authorities launched a probe into the tax affairs [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    Film News Roundup: AMC, Regal to Leave 'Roma' Out of Best Picture Showcases

    In today’s film news roundup, “Roma” will not be in the best picture showcases at AMC and Regal, “Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church” gets a release and SAG-AFTRA’s David White has a new appointment. ‘ROMA’ SPURNED AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas are leaving Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” out of their upcoming annual showings of the contenders for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content