European Film Market off to a good start

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With exhibitors from some 50 countries attending, spaces for the European Film Market (EFM) are almost sold out. Concurrent with the 61st Berlin International Film Festival, films will be shown in 33 state-of-the-art cinemas. “After a successful launch last year and the steady growth of the 3D sector,” organizers noted that “the Market will offer increased opportunities to screen in 3D.” Additional highlights include the fifth annual “EFM Industry Debates,” “Meet the Docs” for the second time in conjunction with the European Documentary Network (EDN), and the well-established “Straight from Sundance” sidebar. With a new focus, “German Cinema-LOLA@Berlinale” offers an exclusive look at the past year in local filmmaking. According to market head Beki Probst, a selection of films nominated for the German Film Awards will be shown for international industry participants.

Netherlands Leads European Observatory

The European Audiovisual Observatory appointed the Netherlands to its presidency. F.J. Freek Ingen Housz, the media policy advisor of the Dutch Ministry for Culture, Education and Science, will lead the Strasbourg, France-based agency, which “collects and distributes information about the cinema, television, video and audiovisual media service markets in Europe, both from a statistical as well as from a legal point of view.”

Ingen Housz called 2011 a “watershed year for the Observatory,” as the organization’s major strategic lines for the next three-year action plan (2012–2014) will be laid down this year. He added that the Dutch Presidency would hopefully represent a “platform for the Observatory to review and optimize its information output to keep pace with an increasingly complex media landscape in Europe which is strongly characterized by digitalization, a rapid expansion of media outlets and financial upheaval.” The Observatory’s executive director, Wolfgang Closs, talked about a “forward-thinking year” for its 37 member states.

Italy’s Largest Circuit Debuts
A group of investors that includes Italian broadcast giant Mediaset (Silvio Berlusconi) and fashion house Benetton acquired control of the Cinecity circuit for a reported €100 million ($133 million). Its six multiplexes bring the Mediaset/Benetton circuit to 34 locations and 347 screens, making The Space Cinema the largest operator in Italy (www.thespacecinema.it).

Figueras Receives Design Award
Just in time for the holidays, Figueras International Seating received one of the prestigious 2010 Design Management Europe (DME) awards. In a ceremony held at the Lisbon (Portugal) Design and Fashion Museum, the Spanish seat manufacturer was deemed to have the best design management in a medium-sized company. A key part of the European PRO-INNO program, DME is a 19-partner and 12-country project aimed at showing firms the commercial benefits of implementing best practices in design management (www.designmanagementeurope.com).

Twenty-six Bring One Day to Sundance
Academy Award-winning director Kevin Macdonald (State of Play, The Last King of Scotland, Touching the Void) has completed work on Life in a Day and invited the 26 contributors whose footage was chosen as official co-directors to attend the world premiere in Sundance on Jan. 27. Those of us who won’t be there can still tune in online at www.youtube.com/lifeinaday. Following the premiere, festival director John Cooper will moderate a global Q&A with Macdonald and the 26 filmmakers. The film will also be released in “in select theatres, on demand and permanently online later in 2011.”
This “cinematic experiment,” culled from 4,500 hours of footage sent in from 192 countries, was produced by Ridley Scott’s Scott Free U.K. in partnership with YouTube, where some 80,000 submissions were uploaded. While the chosen entries hail from Kabul (Afghanistan) and Bali (Indonesia, www.youtube.com/onebalibaby) to Tokyo (www.youtube.com/yaikw) and Woonsocket, Rhode Island (www.youtube.com/wickydkewl), European representatives come from Moscow (www.youtube.com/BAITYK), Barcelona (www.youtube.com/toniuxou) and Zakarpatska/Kiev, Ukraine (www.youtube.com/MrGrishkevich).

Cine Chiffres Measures with Rentrak
Having been the “primary provider” of theatrical box-office information, primarily in Paris and its suburbs, for nearly 40 years, Cine Chiffres recently joined forces with Rentrak, whose team has been measuring receipts in France for 13 years. “Together, we are focused on continuing to provide the best and most accurate French box-office data to our customers,” noted Sylvain Laurendeau, head of client service and communication for Rentrak Cine Chiffres. “Cine Chiffres will be able to take advantage of Rentrak’s theatrical box-office technology, which is recognized around the world as the movie industry’s gold standard for measurement.”

Tykwer’s Three Is First 4K
Best known internationally for Run, Lola, Run and Perfume, German filmmaker Tom Tykwer and his cinematographer Frank Griebe decided to complete their latest film entirely in 4K, including visual effects (www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDFNZm0hsFE). As Three (Drei) was filmed on 35mm and with an anamorphic lens, Munich-based ARRI Film & TV suggested this first-in-the-country approach “to preserve the resolution, definition and brightness of the anamorphic images.” ARRI VFX artist David Laubsch explained, “Finishing Three in 4K was quite a challenge. After working on 40 projects in 2K and 3K, I enjoyed being able to take full advantage of the available resolution. Every image had 4096 x 3112 pixels and was the size of around 50 Mbytes.” Heavy duty for the Venice and Toronto-shown romantic drama about a 40-ish couple that falls in love with the same man.

Please e-mail news and comments for Andreas Fuchs to kevin.lally@filmjournal.com.