FilMart: European Film Sales Agents See Strength in Numbers, as EFP and Unifrance Umbrella Stands Reopen at Hong Kong Market

Oscar contenders and Berlin prize-winners will be among the European films being represented by visiting companies to FilMart that are making use of the European Film Promotion umbrella stand within the annual Hong Kong market.

In total 29 European film sales companies are making the trip, including more than a dozen from France under the Unifrance banner. Prominent rights brokers include Charades, Goodfellas, Fandango and Filmax.

“EFP has built up the European brand at Hong Kong for many years through setting up a prominent umbrella. The aim was always to prominently flag our mission as being the one-stop-shop for the European industry and European films,” said EFP executive Susanne Davis. “And we’re happily surprised that so many of them are taking advantage.

The 29 companies are collectively representing over 140 new European titles. Among them, Oscar contender “Anatomy of a Fall” is represented by MK2 Films, while “Four Daughters” is handled by The Party Film Sales.  

Three of the participating sales companies are bringing titles which picked up prizes in Berlin last month. The Silver Bear Jury Prize winner, “The Empire” by Bruno Dumont is handled by Memento International. The triple award-winning Norwegian Panorama film, “Sex” by Dag Johan Haugerud (CICAE Art Cinema Award, Label Europe Cinemas, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, is represented by m-appeal. And the German debut feature film “Ivo” by Eva Trobisch from Encounters (Heiner Carow Prize) is being sold by Loco Films.

FilMart, it seems, plays a significant role for the European rights sellers and the Asian distributors who are the licensees. That is both a function of the market’s timing (between Berlin and Cannes) and its geographical location.

“Even though negotiations and sales to mainland China – the main attraction of Hong Kong – have become unpredictable, the feeling among the sales agents seems to be to not miss out on this spring market and to test the waters if the FilMart is able to open doors to further Asian territories, such as Southeast Asia. And, having said that, there actually seems to be a slight return in terms of acquisitions from China,” said Susanne Davis, EFP executive.

“Also, we have seen that some Asian buyers, from Japan and South Korea, especially, are economizing on travel to the big international markets, [European] sales agents expect to meet up at Hong Kong, instead.”

Little is left to chance. The EFP now provides funding to help key European titles reach their targets in international markets. This year ten films receive the Film Sales Support subsidy.

France’s Kinology is using it for marketing of two titles in post-production, French-German coproduction “Disappearance,” by Kirill Serebrennikov, and “Our Wildest Days,” by Vassilis Kekatos (France, Greece). Germany-based Picture Tree International is using it to present the Danish film “Unsinkable,” by Christian Andersen and “Grand Finale,” by Sigurjón Kjartansson from Iceland. WTFilms is campaigning for “Schlitter” by Pierre Mouchet (France). Denmark’s TrustNordisk is leveraging the funds for five films, including “The Artic Convoy,” by Henrik M. Dahlsbakken from Norway.


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