Under pressure from all sides, Europe's independent film sellers are to fight back through a new organisation, which launches today in Cannes as part of 'Europe Day.'
The initiative, which sees national federations of film sellers' bodies pact together, is launched as the initiative of Jacques Le Glou, former boss of Mercure Distribution and head of French exporters' body Association Des Exportateurs de Films (ADEF).
"This organisation is necessary in order highlight the value of the sales agent's profession and underline its present day fragility," said Le Glou.
Faced with a combination of rising overheads and a tougher sales market for independent sellers, the new organisation is expected to lobby for EU subsidies for small sellers.
"At the same time as buyers are becoming more cautious, there are more and more films on the market," said Le Glou. "At Cannes this year the number of screenings in the market has risen to 2,200 compared with 1,700 last Cannes. No wonder that 90% of films do not even cover their fees."
Among the practical initiatives that Le Glou and the new organisation are proposing is a model European contract - similar in principle to AFMA's standard contract - and to establish a Europe-wide register of distributors which are bad payers.
"For any company with only a small number of titles to sell there are too many film markets. We need to reduce the number of markets they attend," said Le Glou. Controversially, one of Le Glou's proposed solutions is to throw the new body's weight behind AFMA plans to move the American Film Market to the autumn. That would potentially kill off Mifed and allow Berlin's European Film Market in February to expand.