The French have come
Jueves, 24 de Septiembre de 2009
In 1982 accepting an Oscar for Chariots of Fire, Colin Welland famously announced "The British are coming!" The Brit Hollywood disembarkment proved only partial.
It would be much truer to say, of the 57th San Sebastian Festival, that the French have come.
Some data: a score or more Gallic sales companies are registered at the Sales Office. 43% of Films in Progress attendees - orgs, sales agents, distributors - were Gallic.
These are not interns either.At San Sebastian this year, there’s a significant presence of significant execs at significant companies.
Films in Progress is a Hispano-Gallic joint venture with France’s Toulouse Fest. So was this year’s biggest co-prod forum, the 4th Ile-de-France and Madrid Film Commissions Co-Prod meet.
San Sebastian has traditionally worked one two-way street: Spain and Latin America. Over the last few years, it’s established a second film axis: Spain and France.2009 looks to mark its definitive consolidation.
What happened? The international film/market scene is evolving, says Nicholas Kaiser, head of video and TV sales at Memento Films Intl. "There are fewer bigger markets. There aren’t many markets where you can meet everyone. So you need to get out and reach them".
National fests with a market structure like San Sebastian are ones you want to attend, Kaiser adds, citing also Haugesund and Argentina’s upcoming Ventana Sur.
French companies are keen to compete at San Sebastian. "Toronto is very strong. But it’s great to preem there and then be in Competition at San Sebastian", says Laurent Danelou, Rezo acquisitions head.
Competition can further sales: Le Pacte has just sold Spain and Argentina on The Refuge (see separate story). Spain’s a tough sell. Spanish consumer DVD spending was down 16% in 2008. TV sales are difficult. Alta Films’ Enrique Gonzalez Kuhn says he buys only against theatrical. "Spain’s an important but bad market. When a territory’s not in the best possible shape you have to put more effort into talking to distributors", says Funny Balloons manager Peter Danner. "Currently our main co-producing partner is Germany.We believe we can do more with Spain", adds Ile-de- France Film Commission general manager Olivier- Rene Veillon.
The French disembarkment also underscores its sales sector’s evolution. Fifteen years ago, it tended to sell just French films. No longer. It trauls films and talent from all over the world. So Films in Progress is a particular magnet.
Also, San Sebastian’s Spain-Latin America axis still counts. In November Cannes’ Marche du Film and Argentina’s INCAA Film Institute will hold their first Ventana Sur Latin American film market.
"San Sebastian was a wonderful opportunity to meet many of the producers, distributors and sales companies involved in Latin American films", says Marche director Jerome Paillard. "Now everyone wants to come".
Films in Progress is a Hispano-Gallic joint venture with France’s Toulouse Fest
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