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San Sebastian: Challenges for Latin American, European Art Pic Exports

Two panels at Festival's Co-Production Forum focus on film exports

SAN SEBASTIAN: Two panels at the San Sebastian Film Festival framed on Tuesday multiple challenges faced by the European and Latin American art-film industries– and also some possible solutions.

Challenges are the same for both industries, but their situations differ. Both Latin American and European artfilms need broader international circulation, for Latin American films beginning with other countries in Latin America itself. But some solutions were proffered at the two panels.

As of today, Latin American art and crossover films sell better to Europe than in their own region. Although selling well abroad in terms of volume, European titles are generally commanding lower prices.

Executives at San Sebastian called for regulatory measures that would allow art-films to carve out space and profile on new online platforms.

“VOD services are highly selective for arthouse title pickups and focus on big movie packages, supplied by international distributors,” said Vicente Canales, at sales house Film Factory Ent.

There is also an increasing difficulty in snagging theatrical releases, which strongly reduces returns on international sales, Canales added.

In Brazil, some benefits of distributing European art movies derive from their growing status as niche films. According to Ana Luiza Beraba at distrib Esfera, local audiences for European movies have become a highly specific market, formed by women over 40-years-old, which, however, has made European films distribution more protected against piracy.

Latin American film industries are fueled by local governments, conscious ever more of the value of film as culture and industry. For example, film incentives by promotion office Cinema do Brasil are boosting theatrical releases, increasing Brazilian films’ international markets, according to agency Ancine head Manoel Rangel.

Recent initiatives such as Filminlatino, an alliance of Mexico’s Imcine Film Institute and Spain’s online service Filmin, or Pantalla Caci, the educational VOD platform launched by the Ibero-American film agencies, suggest some step-up in the search for solutions for films’ circulation in the digital domain.

“We are facing a panorama where we need to be receptive across a broad front,” said Imcine head Jorge Sanchez.

Organized by UniFrance, in partnership with Cinepolis, a now consolidated yearly French film rendez-vous visiting more than 45 Mexican cities has provoked upbeat reactions, making French cinema more familiar among local audiences, according to Alfonso Lopez Garcia de Alba, at distrib Alfhaville Cinema.

Zentropa Spain’s David Matamoros praised this promotion model and suggested that the initiative could well be replicated by other European film promotion agencies and even by groups of sales agents.

Hosted by the San Sebastian Festival’s IV Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum, panels were backed by Catalan producers Federation Proa and the Ibero-American Ibermedia Program.

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