Industry Report: Distribution and exhibition
Study on the circulation of European films in festivals
23/10/2007 - In their diversity – of country, size, and programming orientation – the film Festivals members of the (not active anymore) European Coordination have demonstrated their durability: two thirds of them have more than 10 years of existence, and more than 15 years for more than the half.
The way films are presented is logically linked to the size of the festival, concerning the total number of screening rooms. 3 out of 4 festivals – all size categories taken into account – managed to include commercial theatres among those where their films are screened, which attest to the existence of a potential audience with a rather wide profile.
For half of them, the Festivals besides have decentralized actions of presentation of their films: cultural centres, youth clubs, schools, universities, prisons, hospitals, rural municipalities lacking film theatres, cinebus …
The total audience of the member Festivals of the Coordination can be estimated at 5 400 000 spectators, among which 55 % paying tickets.
The biggest Festivals record an average of 65 000 spectators, middle-size festivals, 20 000, small-size 10 000, at each edition.
This audience continue to grow: an average of 19 % in 5 years for all the Festivals members at present.
Besides, with the important increasing of the number of its members these last years, the global audience of member Festivals of the Coordination (among which some of them created since then) has been multiplied by almost 2,5 since 1999, date of a previous study partly revolving around the same objectives.
The professional visitors with accreditation in Festivals are close to 1 000 on average in the bigger, more than 300 in medium-size events, 150 in smaller.
Among those, great number of journalists (on average, respectively 200, 70 and 30) and actors of the commercialisation of films – buyers, agents, cinema managers, diffusers … (on average respectively 40, 25 and 5).
More than 1 out of 3 of the big Festivals and 1 out of 3 of the middle-size Festivals organise n official film market, with the possibility to watch several hundreds to several thousands of films. The potential buyers and distributors that are present are on average 120 – from a few dozens to several hundreds depending on the festivals.
By extrapolating to all the members of the Coordination we can estimated at 8 000 per year the number of occasion of presence in European Festivals of directs actors of the commercialisation of films.
To be mentioned the "informal" markets made of organised or spontaneous contacts during Festivals having no official film markets – additional commercial contacts which number can be estimated at around 2 000.
In total, the European film Festivals give rise to a around ten thousands concrete contacts between the commercial supply and demand.
The films presented to the audience in the Festivals are about 300 in the big events, 205 in middle-size, and 100 in small – with appreciable differences within the same size categories, notably due to the variable proportions of features and short films.
Globally, it is almost 45 000 films of all kinds that are screened each year – or more precisely 45 000 presence of films (each film having the potential to be screened in several festivals).
8 out of 10 Festivals have a proportion of European films equal or superior to 70 %.
The circulation of European films
The role played by the Festivals in the circulation of European films can be estimated by the answers to the question of the origin of the knowledge, by the festivals programmers, of the films they present in their own.
The source of the knowledge constituted by the other Festivals counts for half or almost half of the research of films of the different categories, which one third directly linked to the visits they receive (15 visits on average per year by most important Festivals representatives, 12 by those from middle-size Festivals, 7 by those of smaller events). It is considered by the most as very useful, or even "crucial" or "essential."
This role can also be estimated by the "career" of the films after their presence in a Festival: ulterior diffusion on other Festivals for 3 quarters of the features, and for more or less 3 out of 5 of the other types of films; commercial career for 1 out of 5 to 1 out of 3, depending on the categories of films, according to the representatives polled – whether we talk about diffusion in theatres, on television or (increasingly) on DVD editions, etc.
Beyond the promotion and the "direct" commercialisation to which they contribute, the Festivals directors stress the role they play in future prospects: "audiovisual education" guarantee of the existence of the audience and future demand, and, on the other hand, role of "incubation" of the supply, by giving young or unknown filmmakers a visibility and an affirmation opportunity that the purely commercial circuit initially do not give them.
The expectations for the future
We can particularly pick out expectations in terms of development and improvement of information and communication via Internet, reinforcement of the initiatives of common programming, development of staff exchanges, exchanges of views and dialogue on subjects, problems or evolutions that Festivals have to face.
© OPTEM / European Coordination of Films Festivals