Jeremy Kay on the 2014 European Film Market in Berlin.
It was the warmest of Berlins, it was the coolest of Berlins. As the EFM began to wind down this week, only the mild weather offered succour to the lack of heat in the market.
The proximity of the holidays, Sundance and the IFFR in Rotterdam routinely makes preparing for Berlin a perplexing time, yet this year there were fewer marquee titles on offer than usual.
Nonetheless the low number of must-haves, which included FilmNation’s The Whole Truth, IM Global’s Labor Of Love, K5’s Vice and QED International’s Rock The Kasbah, did not preclude a sustainable if unflashy volume of trade.
Naturally there were talking points. The plight of Exclusive Media came into sharp focus and will dominate conversations in the weeks to come, while The Weinstein Company swooped in a $7m preemptive deal for potential Oscar contender The Imitation Game.
The out-of-competition screening of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac Volume 1 was always going to get tongues wagging and did not disappoint.
The Dane’s omerta and choice in T-shirts drew wry smiles, but it was the shenanigans of Shia LaBeouf that ultimately snatched the limelight from a talented ensemble that continued to support the film with dignity and good humour.
EFM attendance was up in terms of exhibitors and visitors. Business bubbled up here and there. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions was active, licensing territories from XYZ Films to Kevin Smith’s Tusk and taking a slew of rights from fledgling Fortitude International to The End Of The Tour.
The aforementioned Fortitude struck a key production deal with management company Untitled Entertainment.
The Exchange CEO Brian O’Shea expressed pleasure about delivering a number of titles, including two backed by its Exchange Peaks Film Capital fund Swelter and The Last 5 Years.
“All of this helps us develop a track record which makes us a reliable source of product,” said O’Shea.
FilmNation CEO Glen Basner, whose sales titles at EFM were The Whole Truth, Sing Street and A Most Violent Year, said: “Arriving at the market with three very distinctive films, we anticipated
having one of our strongest markets yet, and the brisk sales on all three demonstrated just that.”
Many international buyers complained of slim pickings as is their wont, although there was plenty of interest in Altitude’s Blood Mountain. WestEnd closed deals on The Great Gilly Hopkins and Michael Winterbottom’s The Face Of An Angel.
Acquisitions executives were impressed too with the fresh slates of Protagonist and HanWay. Gaumont, Bac and Films Distribution were among the French companies reporting strong sales.