“We complement each other and with our different experiences and backgrounds and some very interesting things can happen”. This is how Beki Probst, president of the EFM, talks about her relationship with Matthijis Wouter Knol, the new director of the Berlinale market which will be held from February 5th – 13th in the Martin Gropius Bau: it is already a sellout, with 492 participating companies, 1.220 buyers and over 180 stands (data as of January 20th 2015).
Matthijs Wouter Knol, born in 1977, has been the program manager of Berlinale Talents since 2008, the Berlinale program dedicated to up-and-coming talents and, before that, he was involved in the production, distribution and funding of documentary movies, also working at the IDFA, Amsterdam’s prestigious documentary festival, where he also ran the IDFAcademy training program, creating the IDFAcademy Summer School within the same.
Attention to the latest ideas and trends and the contaminations between cinema with the other audiovisual industries: these are all areas in which the European Film Market has already taken some steps which are now gathering pace thanks to the new energy brought by Knol, guided by the experience of Probst with whom he has worked alongside in his first year as director:
“Beki and I have gone around together to other markets. The intention was to expand certain areas of the market in order to increasingly adapt the EFM to meet the demands of the professionals who attend it”. Series, which are not new to Berlin (in 2013 the Festival’s program and market screenings included “Top of the Lake”, JaneCampion’s TV series, and last time we included some market screenings of TV series), have now been consolidated, with ten market screenings and six projects presented at the coproduction market.
“The product we are looking for cannot be classified as old style series, because we are still a cinematographic market, so we have carried out a very careful selection of what are known as ‘high end series’, quality products, projects in which EFM’s professionals are increasingly involved and which it was, therefore, logical to include,” says Knol.
Around 10% of the buyers invited this year come from television and the new digital platforms, the main European TV channels will be present, as well as Amazon, Sundance Channel, Netflix, Fox…
Meet the Docs, the initiative that promotes networking for players in the documentary industry, will also be enhanced.
As Probst underlines, “to give more visibility and a structure to a genre that is becoming increasingly attractive and which, at times, works even better than drama”. Meet the Docs “intends to promte itself as the industry’s first rendezvous of the year, and we have upgraded it with a greater number of panels and a couple of networkinevents, including a lunch sponsored by Canada Goose, a com- pany that manufactures outerwear for extreme temperatures”, the new director adds.
Young creativity and attention to the territory are another two important distinguishing features of the EFM, as testified by the new EFM Startups, on February 10th, a networking initiative involving around ten Berlinstart-ups connected to the film and media industry and industry professionals.
“We realized that there is often a knowledge gap between these two worlds, and wanted to build a bridge between them. Berlin is the European start-up capital, the people we will invite have developed tools for post-production, distribution and also for measuring the levels of audience emotion when watching trailers.”
Another bridge that is close to the heart ofthe EFM is the one between the European and the Asian film industries (“the Festival also pays attention to this, last year the main winners wereall Chinese” continues Knol): also scheduled for February 10th is a panel discussion, “Co-productions between Europe and China: opportunities and challenges” with some prestigious representatives of Chinese and European productions, followed by the Case Study What works in China? Why? How? Understanding Chinese audiences” presented by Isabelle Glachant, Executive Director of Unifrance Beijing and moderated by Lorna Tee.
This initiative has been realized thanks to the partnership between the EFM and the Bridging the Dragon association created in 2014 especially to promote cooperation.
THE COPRODUCTION MARKET/Series have arrived
TV series make their official entrance at the Berlinale’s Co-production Market, to be held from February 8th – 10th, as part of the EFM.
The Drama Series Days, to be held on February 9th and 10th,are the main new feature of the Berlin co-production market: the market screenings of ten TV series will be accompanied by a session (on the morning of the 10th) dedicated to the pitching of six television co-production projects.
One of these comes from the European Coproduction Forum of Series Mania, the international TV series Festival that is held in Paris in April. “Series Mania, our partner in this initiative will, in turn, choose one of the five projects presented and invite it to the Forum in April”, says Wiebke Esser, the head of this new section.
There are 36 projects in the Co-production Market this year, 20 in the official selection which also includes the new picture by Ritesh Batra, the director of the international success “The Lunchbox”. Italy is represented in the project directed by Stefano Savona “Samouni Road”, a co- production between the Italian Dugong, and the French Picofilms. The new Berlinale Directors section will also make space for the new projects from three directors who have made a name for themselves at the Berlinale in the past years: “Sway with Me” by India’s Avinash Arun (Crystal Bear 2014 for “Killa”, at Genaration Kplus), “My Happy Family” by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross, the directors of the German-Georgian co-production “In Bloom” (Forum 2013), and “High Dive” by the Hungarian Ádám Császi, director of “Land of Storms” (Panorama 2014).
Italy is also present in the Breakfast and Books selection, the pitching section featuring ten novels which will be presented to producers on the afternoon of February 10th, with “La tentazione di essere felici” by Lorenzo Marone (Meucci Agenzia Letteraria).
MEDIA SALLES AT THE BERLINALE
The twelfth edition of the DigiTraining Plus course to be held in Prague and Bratislava in summer 2015, will be presented on Saturday February 7th during the usual event that MEDIA Salles organizes at the Berlinale in collaboration with AG Kino and Cicae.
At this meeting, which is dedicated, in particular, to quality theaters, MEDIA Salles will present the latest statistics on cinema consumption in Europe and the progress of digitalization.