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Paris Cinéma (2/3) : Le Quattro Volte, une coproduction européenne du point de vue de son vendeur international et de ses distributeurs

août 23, 2010

The second panel was dedicated to the case study of LE QUATRO VOLTE an ambitious and critically acclaimed project (Director’s fortnight…).

The discussion opened with a presentation of the Europa Cinemas label, which is granted by a jury of art house exhibitors (2000 screens in 800 theaters in Europe) gathered around the same will of promoting independent production. Launched in 2003, the label grants selected movies a bonus in order to find distribution, as well as a valuable input in order to promote and market the film.

The association enjoys partnership with Berlin, Cannes and Venice festivals. Among 12 movies selected at the Director’s Fortnight section in Cannes, LE QUATTRO VOLTE (European coproduction between Italy, Germany and Switzerland) was unanimously elected for the award. Now the film is being programmed within Europa Cinemas networks of theaters and targets specific audiences within this network.

In Italy, Istituto Luce has distributed the movie. Claudia Bedoni, head of acquisition of the company, explained the audience how the movie was first backed internationally (with Arte and Eurimages on board) before getting a green light from the Italian company itself. The narrow relationships of the distributor with Italian politics made the whole acquisition process more difficult, because, just as in Spain, public funds in Italy are mainly attached to projects aimed at promoting the national culture internationally.

Released in Italy on May 28th on a limited number of prints, LE QUATTRO VOLTE has nevertheless enjoyed a long lifetime in theaters (through prints rotation), especially reinforced by exhibitor’s engagement in the project through the granted label. Since the movie had been unanimously promoted by exhibitors themselves, they were engaged in the release and their excitement about the project has boosted its total BO.

Regarding the marketing of the movie, Istituto Luce opted for a poetic approach and kept the goat on the poster, which refers to the dreamland universe explored by the movie, “a masterpiece with humor”. On the other side, many distributors opted for a more popular marketing approach targeting kids audience appealed to the goat just as they would be in a Disney movie.

In France, les Films du Losange bought the movie, with a release planned in January, in order to benefit from the beautiful natural landscapes present in the movie to offer the moviegoers an escape from winter. Before the release, Régine Vial explained that she wants to give a wide exposure to the movie through various festivals during the summer. She wants to benefit from a strong word of mouth, and therefore totally exploit the wider initial audiences.  “The film gives happiness, and the distributor wants to transmit this happiness to the audience”.

The Coproduction Office also took part in the coproduction of the movie. They do both sales and coproduction, and their involvement in this peculiar project was certainly a good start for the producer to convince more partners even in Italy.  After various brainstorming in order to make the poster, they agreed on the goat on the table: it looks like a stolen image from the movie while it’s composite.  And it gets the humor, the beauty of the images and put in a nutshell the main ideas of the movie.

The film has been sold in 24 territories, mainly in Europe, but ongoing there are discussion with Mexico, Japan and Canada. There were no presales realized because on the paper, it’s hard to sell a whole movie with no dialogue, only animal characters, and a premise based on a journey over the soul. But then, after the movie was completed, a strong word of mouth as well as the humor present in the features has managed to convince more and more distributors internationally (just as well as its critical acclaim over festivals in the word.

The workshop went on with a presentation of various lines up:

Firstly, Bankside Films, the UK sales agent and financier who brings money in order to finance producers’ gap presented a broad line up, with numerous titles belonging to distinct genres. Laure Vaysse also presented its marketing strategy putting an accent on the fact that having both financier and sales agent role was an asset in order to communicate with international distributors at an early stage, and find the rights partners for each of the projects. When the film is completed, Bankside wants to find the rights festivals and markets to launch it, and finds a targeted professional audience.

Ex: Bran nue dae by Rachel Perkins, which is an Australian project that was launched at Toronto in 2009.  It was challenging to raise awareness on something that was completely unknown in the rest of the world beside Australia. When they launch the film on the market, they got a good reaction from the audience, but not from the buyers because they re were not looking for that kind of feature anymore. In Berlin, the movie also gathered good reactions and the press talked about the film

Then it grossed 7.2 million dollar at the Australian BO.  The film was sold in the US based on Australian success and press echo. In Europe, it was more complicated, and only minor territories were sold.  On the final trailer, the accent was put on the aboriginal and love story more than on the cast, which was unknown outside Australia.

Outcast by Colm McCarthy is the same kind of movie as Twilight with a love story between two teenagers within a psychological thriller. The film was launched at SXSW where it opened the midnight section. It was also invited at Tribeca, but after talking with US distributors, SXSW was more adapted for this type of film. The movie was sold for US distribution there. Then, in Brussels, at the Fantastic Festival, it got good reactions from the markets. If other festivals would have been chosen to launch the movie, it could have been lost into the many movies screened in a bigger event, wile these appeared to fit perfectly both the targeted distributors as well as critics. It worked pretty well so far (smaller exposition, but a narrow and effective strategy)

Peter Jager also presented the line up of AUTLOOK, an Austrian sales agent who focuses only on documentaries.  He underlined the fact that for documentaries, VoD was really useful in order both to promote and sell the movie to targeted audiences. Regarding theatrical release, the documentaries need to really deserve it and justify it. They don’t do presale; they buy a documentary only based on finished movie.

Maren Kroymann from the company M Appeal based in Germany closed the matinee with a presentation of her company. Created in 2008, M APPEAL is independently funded, which grants them a valuable independency in their editorial choices. The sales agent picks up around 10 independent movies per year, and target international distributors in order to give them a wide and efficient exposure. They try to develop long relationship with authors, and create a personal approach with their partners. An approach that seems to prove successful since the company is growing, and sells to an average of 12 to 15 territories each of the selected movies. In order to get involved at the earliest stage, M APPEAL also intervene in co-production, again on selected projects. Karen presented the case study of SLOVENIAN GIRL and THE LAST SUMMER OF LA BOYITA, which both have sold pretty well internationally despite a narrow target, which the sales agent has nevertheless manages to reach.

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