When East Meets West 2013
by Sergio Ríos Pérez
REPORT: The 2013 edition of the co-production forum in Trieste aimed at encouraging and building up new important connections with german speaking countries: Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
The 3rd edition of the co-production forum When East Meets West was held from January 21 to 23, 2013 in Trieste (IT). 22 projects from 11 countries were pitched for decision-makers (producers, distributors, sales agents, European, national and regional film funds, broadcasters, training organizations and other coproduction markets) coming from Italy, Eastern Europe and the German-speaking territories.
When East Meets West has slowly but surely found a place of its own among the leading co-production markets in Europe. More than 250 film professionals attended the event this year. 50 of them were from German-speaking territories, which were the special guests of the 2013 edition. In fact, one of the features that makes WEMW different from the rest of co-production markets is that every year a different territory is selected as a special guest.
In 2011, it was France. Last year, Nordic countries. In 2013, German-speaking countries: Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Next year, it will be Benelux's turn: Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. The organization is thus able to build the event from two different angles: the projects and the decision makers, both of whom are related to the guest territory.
Benelux has been selected as the 2014 guest territory due to its keen activity as a co-producer, patricularly with Eastern European countries. Besides, even though it's composed of three different countries, they behave as a single distribution and often production market.
The selection of projects ranges from documentary to fiction, which is another feature that sets this coproduction forum aside from the other events. Roughly half of the selected projects are documentaries. Most of the selected producers and the decision makers work on both genres, what makes it easier to foster successful collaborations.
On the Day 2, the filmmakers (producers and directors) presenting the projects have been able to meet personally with other filmmakers and the invited decision makers. This year, almost 350 one-to-one meetings were held over a little more than eight hours.
When East Meets West is organized by the FVG Audiovisual Fund and the Trieste Film Festival, in collaboration with EAVE, EURIMAGES, and the support of the MEDIA Programme, Direzione Centrale per il Cinema – MIBAC and CEI.
Selected projects for pitching
The projects that took part at the 2013 When East Meets West co-production forum:
- 3 BROTHERS (documentary)
Presented by Romedia Foundation (HU)
- ANISHOARA(feature film)
Presented by Weydemann Bros (DE)
- APPROACH(feature film)
Presented by Boo Productions (GR)
- ASHDRIVER(feature film)
Presented by Opus Film (PL)
- CHRIS THE SWISS (documentary)
Presented by Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion (CH)
- DEEP INTO THE FOREST(feature film)
Presented by Arch Production/Transmedia (IT)
- FIEBER(feature film)
Presented by Amour Fou (AT)
- FIZZ, LITTLE SHOP OF JUICES(feature film)
Presented by Filmpunkt/Madaje (DE)
- FLORENCE, THE CONSUL AND ME (documentary)
Presented by GD Film (IT)
- GREY CARNATIONS(feature film)
Presented by Ventura Film (CH)
- FRAULEIN(feature film)
Presented by Tempesta (IT)
- FROM KREMONA TO CREMONA (documentary)
Presented by Agitprop (BU)
- GAY MEN STRAIGHT DICTATORSHIPS (documentary)
Presented by Eclipse (HU)
- IN PRAISE OF NOTHING (documentary)
Presented by Dribbling Pictures (SR)
- JEW’S HARP (documentary)
Presented by Stefilm (IT)
- JUST CLOSE YOUR EYES(feature film)
Presented by Sekvenca (HR)
- KALOGHERO(feature film)
Presented by Pilgrim (IT)
- OLD RUSSIA FROM ABOVE (documentary)
Presented by Mersmedia (DE)
- PASSPORT (documentary)
Presented by Parabellum Film (DE)
- PERSEVERANCE(feature film)
Presented by Nukleus Film (SI)
- RIGHT TO LOVE(feature film)
Presented by A Atalante (SI)
- WILD (documentary)
Presented by Insefilm Production (DE)
The projects were selected by Danijel Hocevar (Group leader, EAVE), Leena Pasanen (Director, Finnagora) and When East Meets West among the 136 projects from 24 countries submitted.
The WEMW Development award was handed out at the closing cocktail of the event to Anishoara (Germany). The international jury of experts, composed of Nikolaj Nikitin (Filmplus), Matthieu Darras (Torino Film Lab) and Kristina Trapp (EAVE), decided to give a special mention to Ashdriver (Poland). Besides, EAVE acknowledged the quality of one project, the documentary From Kremona to Cremona (Bulgaria), and granted its producer Ana Alexieva the participation at the next edition of the EAVE European Producers Workshop.
In the following video, Kristina Trapp (Chief Executive, EAVE) talks about EAVE's involvement in When East Meets West and other coproduction forums; the importance of coproduction markets in the film industry; and EAVE's criteria when selecting projects for this kind of markets.
The WEMW Development Award, which comes with a €2,500 prize, went to the project Anishoara, which was presented at the forum by its producer Jakob D. Weydemann (Weydemann Bros, DE) and its director, Moldova's Ana-Felicia Scutelinicu.
Jakob and Ana-Felicia's first collaboration, the 61-minute Panihida, was awarded as best film of the CinemaXXI section at the 2012 Rome Film Festival. Jakobruns the Berlin-based production outfit Weydemann Bros with his brother Jonas. In the following video, he talks about the main creative opportunities of coproductions; the risk of Euro-puddings; the importance of film festivals in the distribution of art-house films; and the role of the German film industry in the coproduction with Eastern European countries and talents.
The Polish project Ashdriver received a special mention from the international jury. This road movie, partly set in Germany, was presented by its producer Lukasz Dzieciol (Opus Film, PL) and its director Greg Zglinski.
Dzieciol has been working at the Lodz-based production company Opus Film for ten years. In 2011, he was selected for the EFP's networking platform Producers on the Move. He has talked to Cineuropa about the main advantages of creative co-production, the gradually increasing internationalization of the Polish film industry, the importance of networking among producers and the strong ties between the German and the Polish film industries.
An example of a successful co-production was provided by Turin-based producer Stefano Tealdi (Stefilm, IT). The five-part documentary series Food Markets. In the Belly of the City was staged by Stefilm with several European companies. Each installment portrayed a different food market in a major European city: Turin, Lyon, Barcelona, Budapest and Wien. And each one was co-produced by a local production company: Laokoon Film (HU), Golden Girls (AT) and Media 3.14 (ES), while Stefilm did both Turin and Lyon. Besides, the series was supported by the broadcasters ZDF/ARTE (DE), Rai5 (IT), MTVA (HU) and TSI (CH).
In the following video, Tealdi explains the structure of the series; how they worked on the cohesion of a series with several directors, which led to the creation of a 'production and editing bible' in order to set a common ground for all of them; the creative advantages of co-producing when shooting in a foreign country; and the benefits of the economies of scale generated by the series format.
VoD distribution has been a hot issue in the industry for quite a few years. Too many colliding interests (producers, distributors, exhibitors and ISP's) have held back the evolution of the VoD distribution. However, as Philipp Hoffmann (VOD-Consulting, DE), puts it, “on the long run there will be no way around” and VoD is increasingly becoming a tool that allows producers to market their films.
Among the several panels hosted by When East Meets West, “The Long Tail is not enough: The way to awareness in the online world” has dealt with VoD. Its speakers were Karin Haager (Flimmit, AT), Hanka Kastelicova (HBO Europe, HU) and Peter Gerard (Distrify, UK), with Hoffmann moderating.In the following video, Hoffmann talks about VoD as a potential source of funding for film production; which strategy to use in order to develop a VoD strategy; the importance of raising awareness through online tools; which are the holdbacks to VoD development; the risk of cannibalization among distribution channels, and the pan-European possibilities brought dy VoD.
The film industry is changing rapidly and it's hard to keep up with its frantic pace, especially when the economy doesn't help. This challenging times affect every field in the industry, including training organizations. Luxembourg-based EAVE, the European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs, is one of the leading organizations in this sector, focused on the professional training, project development and networking organization for audiovisual producers.
When East Meets West dedicated one of its panel to the present and future of the training programmes. Its title, ‘Adapt to change! The role of training programmes in a fast transforming industry’, says it all. Giovanni Robbiano (MFI, GR), Tamara Babun (ZagrebDoxPro, HR), Graziella Bildesheim (Maia, IT), Matthieu Darras (Torino Film Lab, IT) and Kristina Trapp (EAVE, LU) were its speakers, while the moderator was Silvia Sandrone (Antenna Media Torino, IT).
In the following video, Trapp talks about the challenging times that producers are facing right now; and the need of the training organizations to be at the forefront of the new trends and to embrace change.