The European Film Market will open on February 7th – the fifth edition held under the guidance of Matthijs Wouter Knol, the successor of EFM founder Beki Probst since 2014. While last year’s edition opened by awarding the Berlinale Camera to the historic creator of the Berlin market, this year the EFM will say goodbye to Dieter Kosslick who leaves the direction of the festival after having started in 2001 – a festival that has always permeated the market, “and for which Dieter, in concert with Beki, has played a decisive role, giving it the guise it enjoys today”.
Knol specifies, “while keeping this in mind this year’s market will continue to strengthen the newly introduced platforms and programs of the past five years.
Given the growing number of professionals attending the market (around 500 people more per year, which culminated in almost 10,000 visitors last year) and due to security reasons we had to change the badge policy in the Gropius Bau and in the Marriott Hotel: from Friday to Monday only market badge holders and press will be allowed to access the EFM.
And at this increasingly well attended EFM the Italian presence becomes more and more prominent with a new location for the Italian Pavilion inside the bookstore that we used as a market space for the first time last year. It will group together Anica, Istituto Luce and some sales companies, whereas the Italian Film Commissions will have reserved small stands in the central hall along the corridor that is connected to the bookstore.
On Monday February 11th (5.00- 6.30 pm) the European Film Commissions Network will present the important role played by film commissions in the European audiovisual industry. The presentation will be followed by a networking cocktail party held inside the EFM Producers Hub, another space that has been expanded, like the DocSalon reserved for the world of documentaries.
While access to festival attendees is limited to the Gropius Bau and the Marriott Hotel, the festival and market continue to proceed arm- in-arm with the Zoo Palast which, for the second year, is hosting the world of series productions: both the Berlinale Series screenings, as well as the market rendezvous Drama Series Days (that adds one day to its program of conferences in the light of the high level of participation last year) with a relevant co-production market.
There is also a strong Italian presence inside the Co-Production Market: “Home Away” by Thanos Anastopoulos, a co-production between the Italian Mansarda Production (Nicoletta Romeo), and the Greek Fantasia Audiovisual is among the 22 projects in the of- ficial selection; in the Talent Project Market there is the project by Italy’s Vincenzo Cavallo, who produces and directs (with Mahad Ahmed), the Kenyan film “Bufis” .
On the Sunday, the Co-Production Market lunch will be hosted by MIBAC and Anica, which will bring a delegation of ten Italian producers to the market. On Sunday afternoon Italy will also be one of the Country Sessions (where public funders and representatives from 4 selected countries will give short overviews and answer concrete questions about co-producing with and accessing financing in their country), and on Monday it will take part in the Fund Meetings. Up to three Italian agencies/publishing houses have been selected for Books at Berlinale: The Italian Literary Agency with “Rightful Blood” by Francesca Melandri, DeA Planeta Libri with “Dance or Die” by Ahmad Joudeh and Gruppo Editoriale Mauri Spagnol with “The Girl with the Leica” by Helena Janeczek.
The official “Country in focus” at this year’s EFM will be Norway, the first European country, after Mexico and Canada, to be in Focus and very visible to everyone with the Norway House, a networking space located between the House of Representatives (home to the Co-Production Market) and the Gropius Mirror Restaurant.
There will be a capillary presence in every section of the market: at the EFM Producers Hub, where ten Norwegian directors interested in co-productions will be presented, and at the DocSalon, in the event dedicated to Norway’s strengths in creativity and innovation within the framework of EFM Horizon.
“Norway is also one of the strongest countries in the Drama Series Days, the Norwegians will be present with exciting new titles. Also relevant is their contribution to the Diversity Program that we started last year at EFM which has become an important topic in the industry.” concludes Knol.
The Berlinale Africa Hub will also be returning for the third year, dem- onstrating the growing participation of countries from the continent.
There is also a rise in Asian professionals (especially Chinese buyers) and Latin-Americans.