Producers debate state of European production at Zurich summit
European producers exchanged notes on funding challenges, talent shortages, distribution bottlenecks and rights retention at the Zurich Summit.
Speaking at the “Creative Funding and Production in Europe” session, Giorgos Karnavas, co-founder of Greek producer “Triangle of Sadness” Heretic, spoke about the challenges of finding a team given that so many people have been booked on big budget projects for streamers.
Greece has seen an influx of foreign shoots, like “Knives Out 2”, with productions attracted by its generous 40% tax credit and because Covid-19 rates were relatively low at the start of the pandemic, it allowing to quickly open up to international productions.
Gudny Hummelvoll, CEO of “Nothing to Laugh” and “Busy” producer Hummelfilm, expressed fears that many European producers might not be able to keep the intellectual property given the preference of streamers to buy movies, and “could end up becoming producers of services.”
Hummelvoll is a member of the European Producers Club, which in May published a code of best practice for streamers when ordering content from independent producers.
The EPC Code includes four basic principles covering crucial points of contention such as the right of independent European producers to retain intellectual property; have access to the viewing data of the streamers; and become the exclusive channel through which American streamers can access European soft money.
She echoed those calls at the summit, calling for more transparency on data, adding: “I think we have to fight to retain intellectual property and also retain the diversity of the content we produce. “
Karnavas said that producing European films “has always been difficult and it will be difficult” given the competition. “There are a lot of projects out there… so you must have a good project. He also spoke of the importance of “building organic co-productions” rather than just “going to places to ask for money and trying to fit in.”
He added that in some ways the European cinema financing system is “quite healthy”, citing competition between many countries to attract productions with generous tax cuts. Combined with state funding, pre-sales, and public television funding, “you have the tools to make it happen.”
Hummelvoll noted that tax incentives were welcome, but that – at a time when the environment is a high priority – “it hurts to move productions back and forth all the time… we should try to find ways. to work on greener productions at the same time. time that how to collaborate.
There was also debate over whether the James Bond film “No Time to Die” would revive the cinema habit among audiences, and whether the stock of post-COVID-19 films sat on shelves and waiting for release would find an audience.
“I’m not very optimistic,” said Dan Wechsler, founder of Bord Cadre Films in Switzerland. “Our arthouse distributors are suffering a lot. The whole chain is suffering, I see that some cinemas are going to close. We need strong films to give people confidence to come back. He noted that 15 years ago Geneva had 15 arthouse cinemas, but now only had three.
Wechsler also spoke about the importance of the return of film festivals after COVID-19, given their crucial role as a platform for arthouse films.