Rome Film Fest's well-attended four-day market event The Business Street came to a close yesterday with a scattering of deals done and an increasingly important profile for European business, buyers and sellers said.
Michael Werner of Sweden's Nonstop Sales said he didn't close any deals but found the market useful anyway. 'It is always an on-going process, and the quality of the participants was very good. I had 25 meetings and am very satisfied with that,' Werner said.
Buyer Sunil Doshi of India's Alliance Media and Entertainment was quite busy signing several deals in Rome.
Alliance bought new films including Youssef Chahine's Venice title This Is Chaos from Pyramide, and The Secret Of The Grain from Pathe, Persepolis, Far North and Funny Games from Celluloid Dreams. The company also signed a number ofcatalogue deals, including the Mika Kaurismakicatalogue from Wideand the Peter Weir library from Dreamachine.
'It is a good forum of exchange for all the sellers and buyers,' Dohil told ScreenDaily.com, 'but also for the people that want to build up a new territory in India. We only have Hollywood studio films or Bollywood films so I think it's a great opportunity for European cinema to come in between the two.'
Sunday afternoon when the event could have been winding down, the over rowded terrace was full of execs cramming in meetings on the event's last afternoon.
Pathe's head of sales Muriel Sauzay was in Rome with Coppola's Youth Without Youth and said she started negotiations with both Latin America and Germany. The film had a world premiere at the festival on Saturday.
Prior to Rome, Youth had already been sold to Spain's Vertigo, Poland's SPI, Portugal's LNK, Italia Film for the Middle East and Pinena for Turkey. Pathe will distribute in France, BIM in Italy and Sony Classics in the US.
'Its like Venice and Toronto,' Sauzay said of Rome's Business Street. 'It is really the rehearsal for AFM and, in fact, you present everything that people are not aware of and at the AFM they have a better view and know what they want.'
What surprised her the most about Rome' 'I think it's amazing how Spanish distributors don't attend AFM this year and they attend Rome instead,' Sauzay commented about shifts in the marketplace.
Alta Film's Enrique Gonzales confirmed this trend. 'It's been about three or four years since I attended AFM. All the films I buy are British, French, Italian or German.' Gonzales said that by coming to Rome, he was updated about what European companies would be presenting at AFM without having to go there.
Meanwhile Edward Noeltner of LA-based Cinema Management Group found it convenient to stay in Europe for Rome after MIPCOM.
Noeltner said he wanted to come to Rome after ' hearing from certain buyers that they were coming to Rome and not to the AFM, and also having the kind of new film that would correspond with the types of buyers that are here,' he said referring to title The Owl and The Sparrow which he calls a 'crossover art-house title' that he picked up over the summer.
'If you pick up a film during the summer you don't have too many opportunities - you have Toronto where we screened the movie and the AFM. I didn't want to limit the film to two festivals.'
Italian sales agent Adrianna Chiesa sold several territories for Silvio Soldini's Toronto premiered Days and Clouds, including The Netherlands (Cinemien),Belgium (ABC), Greece (PCV), India (Alliance), Australia (Palace), and advanced negotiations continue for Brazil.
The most complimented aspect of Rome's business street was the VIP list of attendees while on the critical side, some sellers felt more attention needed to be given to the screenings, which several people said were under-attended.