As the coronavirus pandemic continues to threaten the cinema and audiovisual industry, festivals are announcing hybrid events featuring physical and online activity. With the Cannes Marché du Film behind us, we took a stock with a few sellers and distributors on how they were handling the online markets situation.
In general, while there is a clear preference for the physical markets, professionals recognize that the virtual markets may continue parallel to the physical markets on a regular basis because not everyone is keen on travelling multiple times a year and it is getting costly, both for the seller and buyer. Allan Greenblatt, CEO & Buyer at FilmHouse, personally believes that on-line film markets are “just a way of blocking time to have multiple conversation with colleagues and getting caught up with their activities all within a specific period.” Indeed, he receives information about new projects regularly by the producers/sales agents and, in a sense, they became friends. Greenblatt thinks however that nothing can replace the physical thing.
What to think about the virtual market so far ?
Allan Greenblatt add “I also get to wander about and get to see it all, instead of just my specific group of colleagues/sales agents/producers. Allows for new and fresh ideas to enter the mind by being introduced to a variety of companies and people from all over the world that share something in common, film/movies. The virtual market so far has not been able to go there. The plus & minus, yin & yang of both sides of the coin. One has to learn to take the best from both and use when needed”.
Kristina B. Simon, Head of International Sales & Licensing and Business Development at Gruppo Alcuni, was very surprised to see how the market organizers were immediately adapted to the situation, to the “New Normal”. She says, “I experience that the dialogue between markets, and broadcasters, distributors, agencies, somehow has improved due to these uncertain times. But mainly with whom the contact was already established previously. I have heard somebody say that this is “a virtual trip without a festive spirit”, indeed.” However, as Allan Greenblatt, Simon thinks that nothing could replace the professional networking, the human approach at a real, physical meeting (and as regards the screenings of a festival/market nothing could replace the engaged, live audiences).
She adds, “At the real market, we take the time and effort to set up our booth elaborately in order to take notice in attendee deciphering professionalism and quality of our company and production at a glance. If the booth set well can give the partners an opportunity to experience our productions, we have put together in a unique way. In addition, an enjoyable ambience, good vibes at meeting encourages repeat visits, so great ways to forge long-term relationships.” As Manuel EWALD, Senior Product Manager/ Acquisitions/Domestic buyer at Koch Media says, “online markets are not as effective, but it works and it’s at least a help for the future. Personal relationships can’t be just on the computer screen.” For TME Films also, Cannes market was very efficient as they were able to access and meet every company that we wanted to meet. Kemal Kaplanoglu Managing Partner explains, “Sales companies did a fabulous job by providing us with all the necessary information. To tell you the truth it was effortless. Of course we missed human interaction but we also avoided running late to our meetings and such”.
At an online market, we miss
the not pre-scheduled
Kristina B. Simon reminds us that “The digital revolution has already transformed the way of communication in ways never foreseen." regarding this revolution, the purpose of Moonday is to gather and centralize all online needs for cinema and audiovisual professionals. Kemal Kaplanoglu is also convinced that human interaction and all the presentations are the core of the film industry. ‘In every market we meet a new person or a company but in the online world that’s less possible. Last but not least online screenings are not as exciting as screenings in a cinema. Big screen is the heart and soul of our business.” And again, at Moonday, we agree, human interaction is essential and that’s why our goal is to create connections that weren't as easily possible before. In short, online need offline and vice versa.