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Sarajevo: co-pro markets future and audience development in spotlight

Audience Development & Innovation Lab, Think Tank on the future of co-production markets take place in Sarajevo

Sarajevo Film Festival’s Industry Days this year introduced a workshop called Audience Development & Innovation Lab, in the frame of the Avant Premieres programme, intended to to strengthen the network of regional cinemas and to provide a platform where they can share strengths, weaknesses and examples of best practice.

“Because of dominance of Hollywood, for all the independent and regional films, a special promotion is necessary,” Tina Hajon, the Avant Premieres co-ordinator, told Screendaily.

“The classic way of distribution and promotion is obsolete, and for every release a tailor-made promotion should be devised. This workshop will provide our exhibitors with real tools for keeping their present audiences and getting new ones, and for promoting their activities and independent films in the best way possible,” Hajon concluded.

Organised in co-operation with Europa Cinemas, the workshop was led by Duncan Carson from London’s Independent Cinema Office. It was attended by some 20 exhibitors from Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia. The latter were the most numerous, as the territory recently digitised 29 independent cinemas in 27 cities, organized in the Independent Cinemas Network. Over two sessions on Aug 18 and 19, the workshop dealt with promotion, growing audiences, increasing cultural diversity, marketing the theatres and the films they are screening, and most importantly, balancing between commercial and independent cinema.

“Clearly the Balkans are genuinely passionate about sharing all kinds of world cinema and it was a pleasure to hear some of the approaches people are taking, which map very closely to the UK and where we need to develop audiences as well,” Carson told Screendaily after the workshop.

“I’m impressed with the scale of outreach with young people, not just for screenings, but for educational experiences. This is something that is a big focus across the screen industries and it’s great to hear of successes here.”

When asked what he thought are the main problems in the sector and possible solutions, after meeting and discussing with exhibitors, Carson replied:

“What Croatian Independent Cinemas Network and Europa Cinemas are doing is fantastic, but these sort of initiatives should be in all Balkan regions and across them. There is power in a union! Finally, financial support for new programming initiatives makes a big difference so that cinemas can take risks, have time to develop and change minds and audience tastes.” 

Think Tank: Future of co-production markets

The first in the series of Think Tank events on future of co-production markets that will be held at major markets throughout the year took place yesterday (Aug 20) in Sarajevo.

It is an initiative of CineLink Industry Days, together with the International Film Festival Rotterdam’s CineMart, Holland Film Meeting and Marché du Film/Next Pavilion, where the last sessions will take place and the final results will be presented to the public.

“We think it’s both exciting and necessary to look at what we do, what the future may have in store for us, and how best to adapt our approach to serve the needs of the industry. We want to address the big questions as well as the very practical ones – from the function of co-production markets to meeting formats,” says Amra Bakšić Čamo, Head of CineLink.

Some 30 specially invited producers, sales agents and festival representatives discussed the format of co-production markets, their relevance to the industry and their results.

“It was terribly helpful to have all those different end users of co-production markets, but also the people who generate them, just to see all the different stratifications of projects that can enter markets at different times,” Marten Rabarts, Head of EYE International (former Holland Film), told Screendaily.

“Also it was good to look at the ways to be more precise about what projects should be at what market at what time, and also to see if there can be a flow created between the co-production markets, rather than just have projects based on producers’ applications. Sometimes projects are overexposed in too fast a succession, so this would be a way to help projects evolve much more profoundly.”

Rabarts added: “There could be more oversight of a project once it’s put into a market, in order to help it move forward. There’s also the question of work-in-progress markets, and how they need to be carefully shaped because it’s such a fragile, dangerous space to put an unfinished film into. It can work out, but it can also misfire.”

MIDPOINT TV Launch and CineLink Drama collaboration

The MIDPOINT TV Launch 2017, a scriptwriting program focusing on development of high-end television series for participants from Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Baltics, has announced that its third workshop will take place in the framework of Sarajevo’s CineLink Drama programme.

The call for entries for the TV Launch was opened on August 15, and the deadline is Sept 16.

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