With the tide of industryopinion possibly beginning to flow against it, Mifed's chief executive CarloBassi yesterday put forward a proposal for autumn markets to alternate betweenMilan and Los Angeles.
"It is impossible to go onwith this battle between us and the AFM," said Bassi. "Our proposal makeseconomic sense as it reduces costs."
Following a co-operationagreement earlier this week, Mifed organisers also hope from next year to beable to offer a "package deal" spanning Mifed, Moscow and Palermo. "Ourbusiness is made up of small and medium-sized companies who need maximumexposure for their product and to cut their cost from current levels."
While smaller sellers maywelcome Mifed's idea for alternate autumn markets, AFMA's reaction is likely tobe chilly. AFMA chairman, Jonathan Wolf yesterday said "We will never, never,never go back to a February AFM."
This week has seen severalmeetings of sales agent associations including IFTA (the new name for AFMA),the European Film Export Association (EFEA) and French association ADEF. Butfar from all buyers and sellers have made up their minds - "There is going tobe a lot of late registrations," said Eliane Du Bois, head of Cineart/Cinelibre- and many are frustrated by the prospect of an autumn heavy on travel.
"What we tried to do wasreduce the number of markets. Instead we've got one more." Jacques Leglou,former head of French sellers association, ADEF "The members were 70% for AFMand 30% for Mifed. Unifrance doesn't have the money to do both, it will takeits decision at the end of the month."
"The impression we have assellers is that Mifed will be dominated by European buyers, that most Asianbuyers will go to AFM and that the Latin Americans will definitely go to AFM.Europeans who buy American product will have to go to both," said Angus Finney,new board member of EFEA. "All this adds up to significant extra cost not onlyfor sellers but also for the films that have to pay for these extra set-ups -perhaps 20%."
Finney also presaged Mifed'snew proposal. "This situation will resolve itself next year. Mifed will have tochange. There is no doubt that AFM is there to stay and the Berlin festival andmarket will probably profit from the February space."
Some sellers remainpro-Mifed, which says it has 40 exhibitor companies under contract, as opposed to the 200 "committed" to AFM.Thorsten Schaumann, sales chief at Bavaria said he has already booked Mifed,but says he may also go to AFM if necessary. Kathleen Drumm of the New ZealandFilm Commission, said "we will go to both, although we will have a reducedpresence at the AFM."
But others have lostpatience with Mifed. Wouter Barendrecht, co-chairman of Fortissimo Films, said:"We'll be in Los Angeles. We go where the buyers are and they're going to be inLos Angeles - it's as simple as that." Wild Bunch is sure it will be at AFM.Wild Bunch chief Vincent Maraval said: "We don't want to multiply our costs andMifed has always treated us badly, and they should not think that just becausethey are doing a dance for us that we will decide to go."