How is theatrical film marketing changing’
Henri Ernst (TFM): Competition is fierce with so many films, and costs have gone up in general. The choice of a release date is now crucial. It always was, but with so many films it’s even more important now.
Jean-Philippe Tirel (Wild Bunch Distribution): Ad spend is constantly going up, especially in terms of in-theatre promotion.
What have been the most successful marketing innovations’
Sebastien Cariel (SND): Video on the internet and the democratisation of high-speed access, which makes it possible to do a two-minute trailer that goes out to a million people. Even five years ago, not everyone had access to high speed so the only people who would wait 20 minutes to download a trailer were the real fans.
HE: The impact of the internet is huge. It’s now the second most important source of information for movie-goers after poster campaigns so it can’t be ignored.
JPT: Being able to watch trailers and other videos on the internet. People can educate themselves about a film very quickly and very easily now.
How has online transformed the way a film is marketed’
HE: You have to develop your budgets in terms of buying space, and online is such a rich media that there are costs associated with creating sites, blogs, images, text, trailers and negotiating exclusivity, etc. It’s so varied; you can target a demographic with a newsletter, then find out who’s opening your links, which enables your campaigns to be more focused.
JPT: It’s allowed us to better target younger audiences and who we had difficulty reaching with press campaigns or via TV (shows).
SC: The internet allows us to show trailers, which are really key for the kinds of films SND releases. The trailer is the determining factor in getting people to see our films. Reviews are important but for some films they don’t matter. It also affects our media planning. Since we don’t have TV advertising, we use it the same way a studio in the US would when they are thinking NBC or ABC, etc. But there’s nothing magic about the internet; you can spend a fortune well or badly.
Jean Labadie (Le Pacte): It’s been enormous because the audience gets information and images from a film immediately and this is especially important in a country that doesn’t have TV advertising for film. However, internet costs are still reasonable compared to traditional media.
Are distributors spending more or less on marketing than a few years ago’ Why’
HE: More. There’s been an explosion because there are more films and more competition. But people don’t really buy their poster campaigns as early anymore. Now it can be just three months and you can also buy space closer to a release, which can be less expensive.
SC: It’s more a question of repartitioning budgets. The budgets haven’t got bigger but we have to decide in function of a film whether we spend more on internet or more on posters. We’re not a major so we can’t just increase our budgets. It’s the same thing when bringing actors to France to promote a film; we have to decide whether it’s economically efficient on a film-by-film basis.
JL: Each year the cost of releasing a film goes up and that’s especially due to the number of films that are trying to hit screens each week. The internet hasn’t done away with poster campaigns - although it has led to reduced spend in the press but that was already happening anyway.
How will films be marketed 10 years from now’
HE: I don’t think it will be marketing that will evolve, it’ll be the method of consumption and we’ll have to follow that. Digital in theatres will also allow us to have more targeted campaigns.
JL: Internet will be the strongest media, along with next-generation telephones, but the meeting of audiences and films in theatres and festivals will remain fundamental. Still, posters are anchored in our history and will remain a means of communication. The digital capabilities of all movie theatres will allow us to better target films to the public; posters will talk to us, or will send us specific messages and so on. Daily papers will once again become a fundamental support because they’ll be totally interactive and will know our tastes via electronic files … basically, it will be a horror.
FRANCE: KEY INDIE DISTRIBUTORS
Need to know: A mid-size heavyweight distributor (and producer) of prestige European and US fare.
Who to know: Marie Foulon, head of acquisitions; Marc Sillam and Eric Heumann, company chiefs.
Recent acquisitions: Jeffrey Levy-Hinte’s Soul Power, Takeshi Kitano’s Achilles And The Tortoise, Pupi Avati’s Giovanna’s Father, Erez Tadmor and Sharon Maymon’s A Matter Of Size.
Where to find them: All major festivals and markets.
Need to know: The second coming of Jean Labadie, Le Pacte released seven films in its first year, among them two big award winners: Matteo Garrone’s Gomorrah and Ari Folman’s Waltz With Bashir. Labadie is known to maintain good relationships with talent and is co-producing Folman’s next project.
Who to know: Thomas Pibarot, head of acquisitions; Jean Labadie, founder.
Recent acquisitions: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut Jack Goes Boating at the European Film Market.
Where to find them: Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, AFM, San Sebastian, CineMart among others.
WILD BUNCH DISTRIBUTION
Need to know: The distribution arm of France’s sales powerhouse Wild Bunch, the company works with about 15 titles per year including third-party pick-ups, which are generally budgeted at more than $15m. Wild Bunch works with high-profile genre fare as well as established auteurs. Recent releases include James Gray’s Two Lovers. Upcoming titles include Richard Kelly’s The Box.
Who to know: Jean-Philippe Tirel, managing director; Jerome Rougier, marketing director; and Agnes Mentre (who collaborates on US acquisitions for international sales).
Recent acquisitions: Oren Peli’s Paranormal Activity at the AFM. Rougier says that in Berlin this year there were very few new projects, while at Sundance there were a handful of good films but they were too small for Wild Bunch.
Where to find them: Cannes, Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, AFM.
Need to know: The distribution arm of broadcaster M6, the company has made a name for itself with US blockbusters, including Iron Man and Twilight and indies In Bruges and Once. The company, however, does not shy away from French films, having had a recent success with Jean-Patrick Benes and Allan Mauduit’s Vilaine. SND is a shareholder in Summit Entertainment and releases Summit films in France.
Who to know: Lionel Uzan, head of acquisitions; Eric Geay, acquisitions executive.
Recent acquisitions: Rob Marshall’s Nine, Chris Weitz’s The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Robert Redford’s The Company You Keep, Roger Kumble’s Furry Vengeance, David Bowers’ Astro Boy.
Where to find them: Toronto, AFM, Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and depending on the year, Venice, HK Filmart, Sundance.
Need to know: TFM is the distribution arm of leading broadcaster TF1. The company had a huge hit with 2007’s Oscar winner La Vie En Rose and this year found success with Bryan Singer’s Valkyrie as well as French title Le Seminaire. TFM works across the board from niche genre and arthouse fare to big-budget action and comedies.
Who to know: Jean-Paul Rougier, managing director; Henri Ernst, head of marketing.
Recent acquisitions: Anne Le Ny’s Les Invites De Mon Pere, Romain Gavras’ Les Seigneurs, Javier Abad’s Planet 51.
Where to find them: Berlin, Sundance, Cannes, Miptv, Venice, Locarno, Toronto, Rome, AFM and local French festivals including Beaune’s thriller festival, Deauville and Dinard.
Need to know: Rezo, which also produces and sells films, works with auteur fare from the likes of Eric Rohmer as well as US indies including Oscar-nominee Frozen River. The company will announce details of an agreement with French producer Studio 37 later this year.
Who to know: Laurent Danielou, head of acquisitions; Florent Bugeau, acquisitions executive.
Recent acquisitions: Stephane Brize’s Mademoiselle Chambon, Alexis dos Santos’ Unmade Beds (at Sundance).
Where to find them: Berlin, Venice, Cannes, Toronto, Filmart, Miami, AFM, Sundance.
Need to know: Pretty Pictures works with international indie titles. In 2008, the company released titles such as David MacKenzie’s Hallam Foe and Bill Guttentag’s controversial hit Live!.
Who to know: James Velaise, president; Aranka Matits, London-based acquisitions executive.
Recent acquisitions: Scott Sanders’ Black Dynamite, Richard Eyre’s The Other Man, Nahid Persson’s The Queen And I, Rob Epstein’s The Times Of Harvey Milk.
Where to find them: Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, AFM, Tribeca, Pyongyang, Tehran, Zanzibar, Beijing.
Need to know: Indie distributor specialising in prestige arthouse fare. Often collaborates with directors such as Catherine Breillat, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Karin Albou.
Who to know: Eric Lagesse, managing director; Fabienne Vonier, president; Christine Ravet, consultant.
Recent acquisitions: Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Still Walking (at Toronto), Radu Jude’s The Happiest Girl In The World (at Berlin).
Where to find them: Rotterdam, Berlin, Cannes, Locarno, Venice, Toronto and sometimes Sundance, San Sebastian, AFM; on occasion, the London Screenings.