International film market organizers may collaborate more in the future as they attempt to bring back in-person events by next year.
Busan’s Asian Contents & Film Market, which has only been operated online for the second year, hosted a large-scale panel on Monday involving Oh Seok Geun, ACFM Busan co-director Jerome Paillard, executive director of the Cannes Film Market, Dennis Ruh, director of the European Film Market in Berlin and Jacob Wong, director of the HKIFF Industry section of Hong Kong.
Paillard explained his recent experience with operating an online market in 2020 and a hybrid market in 2021. “[It was] easier if we did just online instead of hybrid. [But] we did not have the same success in 2020, ”he said.
As the pandemic has restricted international travel, movie buyers and sellers have found other ways to do business, such as video calling and link sharing. And the reduction in the need for meetings and physical screenings changes the purpose and modus operandi of organized rights markets, perhaps with a lasting effect.
“Maybe even the model of presence of sales companies will change. I’m not sure they will still need very large offices, apartments or booths, ”Paillard said. Businesses can also reduce the number of people traveling.
Oh spoke about the need to support the growth of the film industry in Asia and suggested cooperation between Berlin, Busan, Cannes and Hong Kong.
“It can be dangerous for projects to be overexposed, maybe different segments for each market [could work], replied Paillard. But he conceded that having a unified project platform would help potential co-producers navigate better. “It gives an opportunity to follow the projects, because very often we hear about a project but 6 months or 1 year later, it is difficult to trace.
And the wheels are in motion with smaller partnerships already emerging.
The Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) sends a handful of unrealized projects each May to attend the Cannes market. EFM Berlin is also working with Rotterdam on their conference programs.
“It’s more sustainable to collaborate, launch a conference in one market first and follow up on another. So this year we started working with Rotterdam [via] an online reality check conference and did part two as a ‘Think Tank’ in Berlin, ”Ruh said.
The recently expanded position of streaming platforms, delivering content directly to people’s homes and bypassing rights markets, film festivals and theaters is a threat to both film festivals and film markets. .
But market bosses had mixed opinions on integrating film and series into the markets.
Ruh said he embraces the integration of television and streaming into EFM and explained that Berlin has been hosting series-related activities for nine years. “We don’t just showcase series for acquisition on the market, but we also put talent in the spotlight, like Series Mania. [The Berlinale Talent Development Program] helps find co-pro partners and acquire screenwriters and showrunners, ”said Ruh. “I attended Series Mania [in August] and I met many of the same producers I knew in arthouse cinema.
“The series is not a priority [for Cannes], but I see a link between cinema and video games. Book adaptations have also been made in recent years. We don’t want people to drown [in information], but rather create niche events [for market goers], Paillard said.
Oh said Busan plans to create a series market and develop investment programs in future ACFM editions. “Cinema and television have different ecosystems and fields of activity [in Korea]. However, with increased interaction between film platforms and OTT, we need to cooperate with them and also protect the rights of filmmakers, ”he said.
The evolution of filmmakers to the TV and streaming landscapes has seen film producers and directors lose control of their intellectual property rights on OTT platforms. And market bosses see it as an opportunity for their events to have an ongoing role in the area of training.
“We can find ways for their projects to reach the public. This is our core business for the years to come. said Wong. “We help producers refine their scripts and manage relationships with international distributors. “
Oh argued that markets can help training programs foster talent in Asian industry. “There are many university film courses all over Asia, and although they want to collaborate, there are no organic networks between them, as there are language barriers and differences in programs and ideas. “, did he declare.
Other changes are underway. “Starting next year, we’ll turn ACFM into a story market and we’ll be a hub for Asian stories and a jumping off point for all content,” Oh said.