Berlin: Warm Weather & A Record Deal Can’t Fully Thaw Market Chill; Is EFM Worth It?

January 7, 2015 – 03:02 pm

Berlinale 2014 badgeWhile the normally freezing weather in Berlin is an annual lament, this year’s unseasonably balmy clime became a major focus of conversation. And, as they say, when people have nothing else to talk about, they talk about the weather… The notably lackluster European Film Market boasted a small handful of buzz titles and only a few headline-grabbing deals. As such, the usual whispers of “Do we really need to be here?” grew louder in the last week. Another talking point was the early-in-the-market news of a shake-up at Exclusive Media, the production and foreign sales company headed by well-respected veterans Nigel Sinclair and Guy East. And, reliably, Lars von Trier’s director’s cut premiere of Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 was a head-turner, albeit for star Shia LaBeouf‘s pre-screening antics here.

GERMANY-ENTERTAINMENT-FILM-FESTIVAL-BERLINALEBerlin: Slow-Forming Packages, Timing & Talent Issues May Lead To Soft Market

Distribution consultant Jason Resnick mused yesterday, “It was the warmest Berlin ever, and yet the coldest Berlin ever.” Yet, no one was particularly shocked by the way business went here. Offshore and domestic deals were done, but folks roundly agreed there was a serious lack of oomph. As one exec told me ahead of the market, “Everybody is asking where the projects are.” The fact was that projects were slow to come together, unaided by the rat-a-tat-tat of the AFM, the holidays and Sundance on the calendar which increasingly amplify complaints about the packed schedule. Berlin has never been the hottest of annual markets, but it has had some more momentum in recent years. It’s unlikely there will be a mass exodus in 2015 — there’s always a concern of missing out — but sources say that screening prices went up this year and stands are growing more expensive, leading to some real cost/benefit soul-searching. Attendance was reportedly higher at the 2014 EFM, but one exec felt there were fewer “tire kickers.”

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