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Film Sector Day in Belgium – Strength of Belgian cinema and distributor landscape clear to see

The FIAD Secretariat was thrilled to attend the inaugural Film Sector Day in Belgium organized by Film Matters and Federation des Cinemas de Belgique/ Federatie van Cinema’s van België (FCB) on 28 March 2023.

Over 150 people representing the diverse and rich eco-system of cinema operators and film distributors in Belgium came together to debate the latest trends, news, and insights. With a packed agenda, the day was filled with engaging speakers and insightful discussions.

The event started with a speech by Alain De Greef, the Secretary General of Film Matters. He discussed the latest developments in the film industry and the steps Film Matters has taken to position itself as an integral association within the Belgium film sector, representing the interests of film distributors.

Following Alain’s presentation, Robert Heslop, the Secretary General of FIAD, explained FIAD’s role in advocating for film distributors across Europe at the EU level. Film Matters Belgium is a member of FIAD.

Robert delivered a presentation on FIAD’s role in protecting the interests of film distributors amidst common challenges in the industry – with a special focus on the fight against piracy, the preservation of territoriality and ensuring a properly funded Creative Europe MEDIA support scheme for film distributors. Robert emphasized the importance of communicating to MEPs, the Commission and Member States the value of theatrical distribution giving visibility to a film and thus driving a film’s value throughout the windows value chain. His speech shed light on the challenges faced by distributors in the current market and the strategies employed by FIAD to overcome them.

This was followed by FCB Secretary General, Thierry Laermans, who gave an overview of the current state of the Belgian film industry. After Laermans, Laura Houlgatte, CEO of UNIC, presented the latest European figures and trends in the film industry. Her presentation was well received by the audience, who were eager to learn about the latest developments in the field.

In the afternoon there was a panel discussion featuring three cinema operators - Stijn Vanspauwen of Kinepolis Group, Alexandre Kasim of Lights in the City, and Jon Michelena of Lumiere Cinema. The panel discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the cinema industry and provided insights into the latest consumer trends and preferences.

The event continued with a debate and presentation on film marketing strategy and content publishing by two leading film distributors, with Anny Schmit (Sony Pictures Releasing) and Thomas Verkaeren (O'Brother Distribution) sharing their expertise in the valuable role performed by film distributors in connecting films to audiences.


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