Euro Film promotes new board

European Update

“We all can be proud of what our pan-European network has been able to accomplish throughout the years,” the newly elected president of European Film Promotion, Martin Schweighofer, said in Cannes. “But we will not rest [in trying] to make things even better,” he added, by finding the “right balance between developing new ideas and refreshing long-running signature projects.”

Schweighofer, the executive director of the AFC-Austrian Films Com, will be heading a new board with Mariette Rissenbeek (German Films), Renate Rose (EFP executive director since its foundation in 1997), Pia Lundberg (Swedish Film Institute), Izabela Kiszka-Hoflik (Polish Film Institute), Nerina T. Kocjančič (Slovenian Film Centre), Françoise Lentz (Film Fund Luxembourg) and past president Christian J. Lemche (Danish Film Institute).

During the same General Assembly meeting in Cannes, EFP members welcomed the Association of Filmmakers of Bosnia and Herzegovina as an organization, bringing the number from 10 originally represented to 36 countries today. EFP is financially supported by the Creative Europe-MEDIA Programme of the European Union, amongst other sources.

Panelists Ponder DSM

During the Festival de Cannes, various industry organizations representing film and television producers, distributors, festivals and trade bodies discussed “the impact of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy on Europe’s film and audiovisual sector.” Since we already introduced the main ideas behind DSM in last month’s column, and did not attend the Festival, we gladly and gratefully take up the notes from London, England-based DDA PR:

“This is a political argument that needs to be won.” While Lord David Puttnam (producer of Oscar winner Chariots of Fire) believes that what “the Commission is trying to do with the Digital Single Market makes sense in a broader context,” he also argues that “it contains ill-thought legislation. Unintended consequences haunt almost every piece of legislation. And that’s what we are seeing on the audiovisual side.”

Anders Kjaerhauge from Denmark’s Zentropa (films by Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg and Susanne Bier and others) fears that the DSM is beginning to cut down the pre-sales leg of the industry that also relies on private and public money to make their films. “My big worry is that we could be in a situation where Zentropa will say, ‘Can we produce films in the future?’ I may just become a catalog manager.” Similarly, Michael Ryan from GFM Films (which has financed, sold and produced over 200 films), finds it “deeply ironic that the Commission is now suggesting that we stop the idea of territorial sales just when the digital market is able to be monetized.” Olivier Mille of Artline Films (Hitchcock/Truffaut) concurred that politicians “in a certain way [are] starting to destroy what they have built for the last 15 or 20 years.”

Ymagis Makes Changes

The “European specialist in digital technologies” enhanced its service offerings in Germany and across the United Kingdom and Ireland. Ymagis announced the appointment of Jerry Murdoch as head of sales, exhibitor services, for the latter region. “I am extremely proud to be a new member of this innovative, capable and dedicated team,” he noted about taking “an active and leading role in accelerating the level of services we can offer in order to meet exhibitors’ needs.”

Meanwhile, the German cities of Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt and Hamburg now have service points for projection and audio systems, installation and maintenance, while Dusseldorf will also become home to the main office and the network operations center for Ymagis systems deployed and monitored across Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Launching this “new phase of growth,” brings managing directors Karl-Joachim Lohkamp and Michael Krauth and their team of technicians “closer than ever to our clients.”

Added Jean Mizrahi, co-founder and chief executive officer of Ymagis Group, “We will be providing reliable services, a wide-ranging portfolio of products, and flexible financing solutions as VPF is no longer available for the financing of digital equipment.”

Send Your CineCardz

“Cinema is set to become more personalized and engaging,” promise Arts Alliance Media (AAM) and Highland Technology Solutions (HTS), thanks to the launch of CineCardz. Offering “a revolutionary way for cinema-goers to send a message to someone special via the big screen” might just be the ticket. The partners suggest thinking about their offering as greeting cards, e-cards and something “bigger and better” at the cinema.

Once the site is up and running, guests may upload a message at the same time they purchase their tickets. Converted to a 30-second animation, that greeting is automatically sent to and inserted into the pre-show playlist at the relevant cinema–with a two-step validation process assuring compliance. For exhibitors using AAM’s Screenwriter TMS, there will be an option to activate free of charge. All others would need to install an Internet-connected CineCardz box for content insertion and playback log monitoring. The first exhibitors who are participating in this revenue-share model will be announced shortly. Maybe as shortly as CineEurope, we expect.

(I)MAXimizing the Vue

IMAX Corporation and Vue International agreed to add two more IMAX theatres to existing multiplexes in Cheshire and West Yorkshire. One will be going into the Vue Cheshire Oaks 16-screen multiplex and the other will become part of the ten auditoriums at Vue Leeds Kirkstall.

The agreement “builds on the recent box-office success of the exhibitor’s newly opened IMAX theatre at the CinemaxX Fisketorvet Copenhagen Mall in Denmark, the companies noted. Tim Richards, chief executive officer and founder of Vue, said he is “seriously impressed by the box-office success” while witnessing “first-hand the power of IMAX to deliver an unparalleled cinema experience and bottom-line results… The IMAX brand and immersive format will serve as a key differentiator in our multiplexes and we are confident it will be embraced by more of our guests and help drive our continued growth.”

“With a network that spans nine countries,” added Andrew Cripps, president, IMAX EMEA, “Vue is committed to developing a truly international network leveraging state-of-the-art technology. We believe our new partnership will not only support our mutual growth in the U.K., but also present opportunities for further collaborations across Europe.”


Trailers Moving to London

The producers of the Golden Trailer Awards announced that they will be taking the celebration of “The Best in Motion Picture Previews” across the pond. This “brand new global competition” will debut in London, England, on Oct. 16. Organizers Evelyn Watters and Monica Brady envision the World Trailer Awards as an “Olympic-styled competition structure with one trailer being selected per country, per category to compete against top trailers from other countries.” Timing and execution matter in sports and trailer land, but the objective measuring for Gold, Silver and Bronze medals found at the Olympics will give way to a final trailer vote from an international expert panel.

The “Call for Entry” is on. For additional information and to submit, visit