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Lumière Festival’s MIFC Broadens International Spotlight With Focus on Germany

The 7th Lumière Film Festival’s International Classic Film Market (MIFC) is expanding its international scope this year with more foreign companies than ever before taking part in the event, high-profile guests and an examination of Germany’s heritage cinema sector.

With 17 international firms from 25 countries at the event, the MIFC has reported a 20% increase over 2018 – so far the most international companies to ever to attend the market, according to MIFC project manager Gérald Duchaussoy.

Organizers have worked hard over the years to attract more international exhibitors, distributors, DVD/Blu-ray publishers, producers and other film professionals to the market, which examines the global prospects for heritage film in theatrical exhibition, video, TV and SVOD.

Criterion Collection CEO Peter Becker opens this year’s MIFC on Tuesday, Oct. 15, with the event’s traditional Keynote of the Great Witness address. Criterion Collection’s distribution, DVD/Blu-ray publishing business and its recently launched Criterion Channel are certain to be major topics of discussion at the event.

The MIFC is honoring Germany as this year’s guest country. Rainer Rother, artistic director of the Deutsche Kinemathek and head of the Berlin Film Festival’s Retrospective section, will be on hand to discuss heritage film in Germany. Established in 1963, the Deutsche Kinemathek collects, preserves and presents Germany’s audiovisual heritage, boasting a film archive with copies of more than 26,500 films and a viewable inventory of over 25,000 films on video.

Also attending the market for the German focus on Oct. 16, are Fabio Quade, head of sales and distribution at the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation; Laura Holtorf, CEO of the Wim Wenders Foundation; Torsten Radeck, head of Home Entertainment Marketing at Studiocanal in Germany; and Levko Kondratjuk, managing partner at Camera Obscura Filmdistribution, a boutique label specializing in Italian genre films.

As part of the German presentation, the MIFC will screen newly restored copies of two German films, Ewald André Dupont’s 1923 classic “Das alte Gesetz” (“The Ancient Law”) and, from 1968, Ula Stöckl’s “Neun Leben hat die Katze” (“The Cat Has Nine Lives”), both courtesy of the Deutsche Kinemathek.

Theatrical exhibition across Europe is another major topic this year, with the market broadening its scope to present different experiences from international exhibitors like Germany’s Yorck-Kino group, France’s Cinéma Le Bretagne, Cinemazero in Italy, the Czech Republic’s NFA Cinema Ponrepo and Regent Street Cinema in the U.K.

The MIFC is also increasing its focus on physical media with its first annual DVD Publishers’ Fair, organized with the Lumière Film Festival and designed for both the general public and professionals. The fair takes place on Sunday, Oct. 13, ahead of the market’s actual start on Tuesday. MIFC organizers describe the event as a “unique opportunity for direct contact between video publishers and moviegoers during the festival.” DVD/Blu-ray will also feature in dedicated roundtable discussions during the market.

The impact of SVOD on heritage film distribution is another of the many topics to be examined at the MIFC.

Likewise screening in connection with the market’s highlights is David Lynch’s 1986 drama “Blue Velvet,” courtesy of MGM, Park Circus and Criterion.

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