Digital will focus minds at Europa Distribution’s fifth San Sebastian workshops, running Thursday. 30 European distributors attend this year including U.K.’s Soda Pictures, Germany’s Pandora, France’s Bac and Spain’s A Contracorriente.
Launched in Cannes in 2006, ED is a network of 125 distributors from 26 countries. Cristian Mungui, writer-director of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, chairs its administration board.
Workshops form part of a meeting series unspooling Sin Sofia, Annecy, Locarno and Les Arcs.
Targeting bookers, event’s aim is “to be as concrete and practical as possible, or participants to use what they’ve learnt on a daily basis”, emphasized Adeline Monzier, ED manager.
San Sebastian’s sessions turn on technical issues in Europe’s digital roll out, including case studies. Cidinet’s ED online database, enabling distributors to share technical and promotinal materials, will be presented.
Event boasts three digital distribution round tables: On digital materials, changes in booking patterns, and the Media Program backed European Digital Cinema Library project, run by France’s CN Films in partnership with ED. It aims to cover 50% of technical digital release costs and create an online library of digital masters.
“Digital can surely be an advantage for Europe’s independent cinema industry. Production, distribution and even exhibition will in the end be easier, more flexible and cheaper”, said CN Films’ Thierry Delpit, who will present Cinego, a new tool for complete theatrical release management, from bookings to invoicing and collections. But, Delpit added, “industry players must cooperate to encourage this flexibility and benefit from the same economy of scale as U.S. studios.” Cinego is sold in France and Spain.
Setting a point-of-no-return, the digital makeover also has its critics. “So far, it is an obvious forced investment decided upon by a few people for lots of people”, says Bac Films› Sophie Juin.
Digital is sacrificing jobs at key posts, she countered.
“We’ll be successful only if involved parties keep in mind that previous knowledge must survive and be passed on to generations, and if they remember that a ‘low-cost-no-matter-what approach cannot be the best option”.