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European Film Sales Agents See Strength in Asia Numbers

WorldEuropean Film Sales Agents See Strength in Asia Numbers

Oscar contenders and Berlin prize-winners will be among the European films represented by visiting companies to FilMart that are making use of the European Film Promotion umbrella stand within the annual Hong Kong market.

In total, 29 European film sales companies are making the trip, including more than a dozen from France under the Unifrance banner. Prominent rights brokers include Charades, Goodfellas, Fandango and Filmax.

“EFP has built up the European brand at Hong Kong for many years through setting up a prominent umbrella. The aim was always to prominently flag our mission as being the one-stop shop for the European industry and European films,” said EFP executive Susanne Davis. “And we’re happily surprised that so many of them are taking advantage.”

The 29 companies are collectively representing over 140 new European titles, including Oscar contender “Anatomy of a Fall,” represented by MK2 Films, while “Four Daughters” is handled by the Party Film Sales.  

Three of the participating sales companies are bringing titles that picked up prizes in Berlin last month. The Silver Bear Jury Prize winner, “The Empire,” by Bruno Dumont, is handled by Memento Intl. The triple award-winning Norwegian Panorama film “Sex,” by Dag Johan Haugerud (CICAE Art Cinema Award, Label Europe Cinemas, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury), is represented by M-appeal. And Eva Trobisch’s German debut feature film, “Ivo,” which screened in the Encounters section and won the Heiner Carow Prize, is being sold by Loco Films.

FilMart, it seems, plays a significant role for the European rights sellers and the Asian distributors who are the licensees. That is both a function of the market’s timing (between Berlin and Cannes) and its geographical location.

“Even though negotiations and sales to mainland China — the main attraction of Hong Kong — have become unpredictable, the feeling among the sales agents seems to be to not miss out on this spring market and to test the waters if the FilMart is able to open doors to further Asian territories, such as Southeast Asia. And, having said that, there actually seems to be a slight return in terms of acquisitions from China,” said Susanne Davis, EFP executive.

“Also, we have seen that some Asian buyers, from Japan and South Korea, especially, are economizing on travel to the big international markets” and expect to meet European sales agents at Hong Kong instead.

Little is left to chance. The EFP now provides funding to help key European titles reach their targets in international markets. This year, 10 films receive the Film Sales Support subsidy.

France’s Kinology is using it for marketing two titles in post-production, French-German co-production “Disappearance,” by Kirill Serebrennikov, and “Our Wildest Days,” by Vassilis Kekatos (France, Greece). Germany-based Picture Tree Intl. is using it to present the Danish film “Unsinkable,” by Christian Andersen, and “Grand Finale,” by Iceland’s Sigurjón Kjartansson. WTFilms is campaigning for “Schlitter” by Pierre Mouchet (France), while Denmark’s TrustNordisk is leveraging the funds for five films, including “The Artic Convoy,” by Henrik M. Dahlsbakken from Norway.

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