HessenFilm affirms innovative strength of film festivals in the crisis

According to Managing Director Anna Schoeppe, the film festivals in Hessen have once again impressed with numerous „creative and forward-looking ideas and approaches“. Against this background, it seems more than strategically sensible to place the Hessian film festival landscape on a solid and future-proof basis and consequently to strengthen it again with a higher budget. The aspect of fair pay and thus targeted countermeasures to the often prevailing precarious working conditions are in the foreground. This is an important step, especially in light of the growing shortage of skilled workers in the film festival and cinema sector.

Förderfonds de⁺ Goethe-Institut launches new funding program for film festivals

In cooperation with the German Foreign Office, the Goethe-Institut is launching a new funding program for film festivals in Germany with an international focus. The Förderfonds de⁺ supports festivals that have an international profile or would like to develop one. The total amount of funding is 200,000 euros per year, and an external jury decides on the award in two rounds of calls for proposals each year. Film festivals and film institutions based in Germany are eligible to apply. The deadline for applications is November 15, 2021.
Information on application, funding guidelines, deadlines here

Film Culture Check for the Bundestag Election: 8 Questions to 7 Parties on the Future of Cinema and Film Culture

The Initiative Future Cinema+Film (IZK+F), an alliance of professional associations, interest groups and networks in film culture and the film industry, had asked seven political parties eight questions about their visions of the future of cinema and film culture, so-called Wahlprüfsteine. The questions take a critical look at a cinema situation characterized by disruptive change and, with the demand for more artistic diversity in German film, point to a necessary paradigm shift. The questions and answers in German can be found here
as well as an overview of the positions can be found here

Film festivals back as meeting places for film lovers as for filmmakers

While the Berlinale Summer Special with 16 open-air venues (June 9-20) was celebrated as a summer fairy tale even before the first screening, while Cannes made surprising concessions to gender parity at the festival, which was postponed until July 6-17, and Tribecca prepared to extend its presence to the entire city of New York for the first time from June 9-20, Austria sent audiences and creatives alike into a veritable festival frenzy with a festival trifecta (Vienna Independent Short, Crossing Europe Linz, Diagonale Film Festival Graz) from late May to mid-June.
A conversation with Christine Dollhofer on the 18th edition of Crossing Europe in June 2021 (here).

Hollywood Foreign Press Association white to the core

Even though the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a the small circle of about 90 journalists with a California residency who award the Golden Globe every year, has been the subject of numerous scandals, it now seems that the privileged closed club can no longer legitimize its claim to power.  For a long time, attempts had been made to evade movements in the film industry in the context of me too and black live matters, even as the Oscars so White movement caused far-reaching changes. However, the Los Angeles Times‘ finding that none of the 86 HFPA members is black had now led to unmistakable criticism in the industry.

European films in cinemas worldwide between a fragmented audience market and a flood of films

Even if it is not possible to quantify the total market volume for theatrical films along their value chain based on consumer spending due to a lack of transparency, at least the window of theatrical exploitation, as one of four main market segments, can be more closely defined. A report published recently by the European Audiovisual Observatory reveals a surprising picture and confirms the trend towards a „flood of films“, which until now has mostly been presented on a national level, now also was confirmed on a European as well as on an international level. Thus, a total of 7,821 European films in 2019 were identified as „on release“ worldwide, i.e. as films for which at least one ticket for a theatrical release was sold in at least one of the markets covered. This was the highest figure ever for European films, representing an increase of 1524 films since 2015.
Click here to download the report „The circulation of European films in non-national markets – key figures 2019“ 

Insights into the FUTURE OF FILM CULTURE

As part of the Initiative Zukunft Deutscher Film (Future of German Film initiative), this time the Frankfurt LICHTER Filmfest specifically took a European perspective to discuss central questions around FUTURE OF FILM CULTURE. Moderated by author of the Nostradamus Report and media analyst Johanna Koljonen, the discussion with Carlo Chatrian (Berlinale, Artistic Director), Sonja Heinen (European Film Promotion, CE), Laura Houlgatte (UNIC – International Union of Cinemas, CEO), Alby James (Producer Film/Series) and Martin Hagemann (Producer and Professor Filmuniversität Babelsberg) not only provided valuable insights into assessments of a changing film culture in a disruptive film industry, but also outlined their demands with regard to their responsibility towards a diverse society, the obligations in the context of an enriching coexistence of cinema exploitation and digital streaming and challenges for film as a cultural form against the background of a development towards storytelling in the immersive moving image. A recording of the panel in English can be found here.

Review: Setting new standards for a film festival’s online edition (interview)

It is exactly half a year that in the light of continuously rising Corona numbers the cinemas beside all cultural institutions in Germany were closed. 2020 not yet affected by the pandemic, the Berlinale had to (including the Berlinale Talents) like the European Film Market among other film festivals of the beginning of the year, including the Sundance Film Festival and the International Film Festival Rotterdam, implement their first online edition. An enormous learning curve characterizes the film festival sector, and many film festivals continue to attract attention with new innovative formats. One German festival that set new standards in the first quarter was the film festival Max Ophüls Prize. An interview with the two heads, Svenja Böttger, the managing director, and Oliver Baumgarten, the artistic director, can be found here (in German).

Reflections on the role of cinema in an era of new dimensions of film consumption

Cinema is not dead and film festivals are receiving an essential role’ is one of the essential statements of media industry expert Olivier Müller in a conversation with the artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival, Giona A. Nazarro. Another perspective in a picture that could not be more ambiguous: While ArcLight Hollywood, one of the top-selling U.S. cinemas of the Pacific Theaters no longer reopens, the world’s second largest cinema chain Cineworld has to cope with billions in losses, the cinema window is being renegotiated, Netflix, Amazon and Co report new records in subscribers, others speak of a „promising turning point in film exploitation„. Further insights into the future-oriented conversation (in German) can be found here.

Attack from Hollywood – if you don’t move, you get moved

With the recently published study „Attack from Hollywood„, Prof. Dr. Thorsten Hennig-Thurau from the University of Münster, confirms what many had long feared: Streamers are gradually taking over the audiovisual market! The fact that the Corona pandemic is proving an accelerant for conventional television is now being seen not only among the younger target groups, but also among the over-50s, who are becoming increasingly more enthusiastic about digital media consumption. The fact that the media libraries of public TV providers such as arte & Co are also recording significant growth rates is somewhat optimistic, yet Thurau also sees that the cinema industry has long been caught up in this trend and urgently advises more customer and innovation orientation in addition to quality, as well as a stronger distribution of digital cinema windows.
The report on the study in German only can be found here.