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FIAD at the 2023 Berlinale

During the Berlinale the FIAD Secretariat attended a variety of panel discussions focusing on the need for the film sector to engage with young audiences, the importance of the theatrical release for a film's life cycle and the practicalities of applying for the 2023 MEDIA Film Distribution scheme.

Kicking off proceedings the Secretariat participated in the "Cinema and Youth. Empowering Young Generations of European Filmmakers and Filmgoers", organised by the European Parliament. Speakers included MEP Zovko (EPP, Croatia) Evelyn Regner (S&D, Austria) and Laura Houlgatte (CEO of UNIC.)

Speakers recalled the importance of attracting young audiences to the cinemas for the future sustainability of the sector. Laura presented statistics from across Europe showing that young people are a core constituency of the cinema going public and that going to the cinema remains an integral social activity for them.

The Secretariat proceeded to attend the Europa Distribution event titled "Surfing The Waves: Audience building in a new period of changes." The event was moderated by Michael Gubbins and speakers included Eduardo Escudero (A Contracorriente Films) and Agnete Juul (Camera Film). Both A Contracorriente Films and Camera Film are within the FIAD Membership via the Spanish and Danish national associations of film distributors.

In his opening remarks, Michael stressed that from all the evidence available to us it is clear that despite the rhetoric surrounding the streaming revolution the theatrical release remains critical for determining the success of an independent film across the value chain. Central to the panel debate was how independent distributors are rising to the challenge in what is an increasingly dynamic market.

In his opening remarks Eduardo emphasized that the cinema remains at the very heart of a film's life as the promotion surrounding the release and the word of mouth effect gives a film its visibility that drives value across the chain. The Spanish distributor did add that the digital component can compliment the theatrical release but that lack of profitability across the windows chain means that the theatrical window cannot be replaced.

Panelists were united in emphasizing how distributors are using new and innovative technologies to engage with audiences and enhance the lifecycle of a film. Some distributors are leveraging their brand and credibility to launch VOD services that offer curated content that strikes a chord with current and new film watchers.

To draw the Berlinale experience to a close the Secretariat participated in the European Commission's MEDIA information session on the 2023 Film Distribution Call. The deadline to apply to the call is 27 April 2023 and more information can be found here.


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